Independence Mine State Park, near Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mtns, is an old hard rock gold mine. Hard rock mining is when the gold is in granite and other rock and the rock has to be crushed before the gold is recovered. This mine was open from @ 1937 to 1943 and then closed during WWII. They tried to reopen in the early 50's, but couldn't make a profit so it was abandoned until the 80's when it was donated to the state of Alaska. They have done some renovation on the building's foundations and roofs and now offer tours and several nice hikes. It was an interesting afternoon.
This morning (Sat) we packed up and drove to Talkeetna. We got in about 1:30, set up the camper and headed over to Trapper Creek. The two towns aren't more than about 5 miles apart, as the crow flies. But the Susitana River runs between them, so you have to go back 15 miles from Talkeetna and then north again on the Parks Highway another 15 miles to get to Trapper Creek. We mentioned earlier that we met a young musician who was playing today at the Trapper Creek Fireweed Festival and we wanted to hear him play. Well, this festival is billed as a family affair - there were some crafts & foods for sale, lots of kids "hands on" activities like painting pottery, learning to start a fire (survival skills) and making native music sticks. There wasn't a beer to be had! But there were several good musicians, so we listened to that most of the afternoon, our new friend, Paul, played as well. Nice afternoon of music and people watching! A very local feel to the afternoon.
So we're back in the campground in Talkeetna for the night. Jean and I are both going to look at pictures and maybe we can post this tonight. We have WiFi here, and will be here for one more night. Then we are off to Denali and I have a feeling we'll be off the grid for a few days!