Palmer, AK

Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska

Gin Lee

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Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska/Christina Rasmussen


Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska

Hatcher's Pass is a picturesque fifty mile mountain range located near Wasilla and Palmer, Alaska. It is a southwestern pass through part of the Talkeetna Mountains, in Alaska. The mountain has a rich history of gold prospecting, claims and active mining, and was named after Robert Hatcher, who was a gold miner.

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Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska/Christina Rasmussen

Hatcher's Pass is a place that Alaskans go to have recreational fun. The rugged fifty mile trail can be exhaustive when traveling it from start to finish and can take up to twenty-five hours to complete. So if you want to go there, make sure that you carry a backpack full of things that you might need such as water, snacks, and a first aid kit. It's safer to be prepared, than not be.

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Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska/Christina Rasmussen

Besides sightseeing the picturesque mountains, there are plenty more recreational activities: during the summer there's wild berry picking, hiking, bike and horseback riding. Then in the wintertime it also provides mountain skiing, snowshoeing, snow sledding, and snowmobiling. Gold panning is also still allowed at Hatcher's Pass.

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Painted rock at Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska/Christina Rasmussen

I for one really think that the rock in the photo above is really neat. Upon asking Christina about it, she stated, "I am not sure who painted that rock. There is a road that goes through Hatcher's Pass that starts in Wasilla and takes you to Willow. On the ride through the mountains is where I found that rock."

Recently within the past few months a series of avalanches at Hatcher's Pass blocked access to the popular recreation area near Palmer.

Avalanches seem to be common in this area during certain times of the year, and anyone interested in going to Hatcher's Pass should always check conditions for avalanches and weather conditions in advance at Hatcher's Pass Avalanche Forecast Center.

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Hatcher's Pass, a mountain range near Wasilla, Willow, and Palmer, Alaska/Christina Rasmussen

During our discussion Christina also stated, "After my two back procedures I'll have to do a hike through Independence mine. Independence mine is also located in Hatcher's Pass. My second back procedure is June 27th, so it'll be after then on one of Charles (Christina's boyfriend) days off. Thinking about it, I just figured out what I want to do for my birthday. I want to go hiking in Hatcher's Pass, and go panning because that's where I like to pan for gold, and have a picnic near the Susitna river."

When I asked Christina if she had ever successfully found any gold while panning, she stated, "I have found gold panning. Although I haven't run across any chunks yet, there are plenty of flakes."

Resources:

ALASKA.ORG. 2022. Hatcher Pass, Alaska | Guide to Area Trails, Historic Sites & More. [online] Available at: <https://www.alaska.org/detail/hatcher-pass> [Accessed 28 May 2022].

Early, W., 2022. It'll likely take 2 weeks to clear snow from Eagle River road after massive avalanche, officials say - Alaska Public Media. [online] Alaska Public Media. Available at: <https://www.alaskapublic.org/2022/03/28/itll-likely-take-2-weeks-to-clear-snow-from-eagle-river-road-after-massive-avalanche-officials-say/> [Accessed 28 May 2022].

All photos of Hatcher's Pass in this article were provided by Christina Rasmussen, a resident of Eagle River, Alaska.

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