Today’s adventure was Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mountains. It’s a nice day trip from Anchorage or the Matanuska Valley, where we are located. During July and August, the (almost) 4000 ft pass is open all the way and provides for some amazing views – you feel like you are in a scene from the Lord of the Rings. Many of the peaks surrounding the pass are as high as 6000 ft.
Hatcher Pass was a major gold mining district and you can still see abandoned mines hanging in the mountains under glaciers. We were there for a completely different treasure: our annual low bush blueberry harvest.
We take a fairly steep trail, loading all of us (family and friends) into a four wheeler and RZR ATV. This allows us access to our super special place where we only see one other couple picking across the valley. In two hours, we have 15+ pounds. There are four of us picking and one little guy mostly eating. We use Linden Berry Pickers, which you can see in the picture of little. They make quick work of picking but we then have to pull out crowberries and leaves later. Well, some of us do… Maggie and I are a little more OCD in our blueberry picking.
I can’t pretend our last day was perfect. I had hoped to be home in time to take little on a hike to Thunderbird Falls. Instead, we had an incident with the four-wheeler which left myself, my parents and our pal Maggie to hike down (!!!) while my brother took the RZR with my kiddo. I was wearing birkenstocks and woefully unprepared for a hike through the brush and a stream crossing. Ouch.
Once we finally arrived home, it was time to begin the jelly. I like to use Pomona Pectin (http://www.pomonapectin.com) for low sugar jams and jellies. For this batch, we didn’t use any processed traditional sugar but instead sweetened the jelly with apple juice. It took a little longer to begin to jell but success! We have a little time to rest now for our trip home early tomorrow morning. Alaska, it’s never goodbye but always see you again!