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Old 09-18-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Hatcher Pass, Alaska Fall Colors

This is a fun little dirt road just north of Anchorage that we often recommend to riders that come up for a visit. It runs between Willow on the Parks Hwy and Palmer on the Glenn Hwy.

I'd only done the road from East to West and wanted to do it the other way. The day was beautiful and I knew comin in from the Willow side the sun would be at my back and hopefully I'd get some good Fall color pics. I was pleased with what I got. While it is a shorter ride, I decided to do a ride report as it is such a pretty area.

Heading up north of Anchorage I've always been impressed with the grandeur of Pioneer Peak. We just had our first real dusting of the local mtns a few days ago. Yep, summer's gone. Oh well, it's still pretty.

On the West side the road parallels Willow Creek.

The Fireweed, on the left, went to seed a while ago now.

The south facing hillsides were lit up pretty well.

Met up with these two German fellows in their Unimog. Quite a rig! And you thought a KLR was TALL! I asked if they were on some 'round the world trip and they said "no, just North America."

They were parked right next to this lovely little beaver pond.

Headin farther on up.

Being at such a high lattitude, our tree line is pretty low. Gettin above the trees.

Looking South across the valley at Bald Mtn Ridge.

Looking down on the road I just came up.

Taken from up near the top.

Time for a little "self portraiture."

Summit Lake. There's someone standing on one of the big rocks on the far shore.

Getting late in the day with some long shadows. Looking down at the other side of the Pass.

Somebody missed a turn! Or were they tryin a shortcut?! No idea what really happened. Yikes.

Off in the distance is Independence Mine State Historical Park. For years I've called the paved road leading up on this side from Palmer "THE best sportbike road in Alaska!" MY fave anyway. Good times!

Headin down into the shadows.

And thus ends another lovely day of riding up in the 'Great White North'.

Man, I love it up here. Ciao, Mark H.

AKDuc screwed with this post 10-21-2007 at 03:44 PM
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
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Excellent little write up! We were just up there last Friday, but had to cage it as I had my mom and step-dad visiting from CT. In just the few days since we were there, that snow sure has come in!

Great pix! Thanks for sharing, and ride safe!
I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took a Hyundai to the knee...
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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Stark, desolate beauty!! Thanks for the awesome pics Sadly... winter's not far off
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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Stop, yer makin' me homesick.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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Nice! Followed your link from the dot net site. Was stuck in a suburu up on Hatcher in spring Circa mid 80's, twas a long cold wet couple o' day's. Looks like your weather was perfect. I love fall...

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Old 09-18-2007, 02:42 PM   #6
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Nice. Reminds me of part of my youth there back in the middle 70s. I always loved AK. Great state...

Funny, the guys in the Unimog are not too far from were I live. They are from
Lörrach (below) in the state of Baden-Württemberg. It is nestled between the Rhein River and at the south-western part of the Black Forrest.

It is sometimes amazing the amount of world travelers originate from Germany. A lot of books for the 2 wheeled crowd are from German adventurers.
To my knowledge, they aren't in English for those outside Germany (and Switzerland and Austria... and Southern Tirol in Italy) to enjoy. Too bad.

For those who like to ride, the Black Forrest and nearby Alsace (France) Regions are great riding venues -- amongst many other locations in Southern Germany and the Alps to the south (not far).
Besides great two wheeled fun, great scenery, great beer (like one of my favorites, Tannen Zäpfle), and spas that date back to the Romans (great after a long ride)...

...this region is also home to Touratech -- for those who want part with more money for their farkles.

For those coming this way, one site that may help is:,232927.htm

Again, thanks for the photos. It was a trip down memory lane.



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Old 09-18-2007, 03:00 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful ride with us, AKDuc. Everyone raves about the weather here in San Diego but I sure do miss the seasons. I look forward to riding this road when I make it up north next summer.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:26 PM   #8
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Thanks for the pics. My dream is to get up into that part of the country soon and you report fueled that fire.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:28 PM   #9
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It seems there were a few of us playing hookie up there in them thar hills on monday.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:48 PM   #10
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Great job, Mark! Typical of your well-illustrated reports. Makes me want to mount up and take a quick ride down thataway - if the clouds would just clear away again.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:08 PM   #11
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Very nice Bro'!! Was hopin' you'd ride Craggie with us but I see your ride was really good too... NICE shots.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:36 PM   #12
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Great report and fantastic pics!
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:54 PM   #13
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Mark H. Thanks for sharing you super great pictures. You are blessed. Bobby95 Hawkinsville, GA. 03 KLR 650
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:33 PM   #14
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Hatcher in the Fall

Nicely done Mark.
What camera are you using?
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:26 AM   #15
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Dang! I guess a lot of folks really like Fall photos! Thank you all so much for the great compliments. Very kind.

Too funny, Drew. Yeah there HAVE been a LOT of Germans come thru AK. Partly because of my working at REI, I myself have met many over the years. One was even on an identical '82 R100S like mine that he'd shipped over to tour around on!

Fite, as recommended by a camera repairman friend of mine, I'm using a Pentax Optio because it's waterproof and has no external moving lens parts. I did see a test a while back tho that did put a couple others ahead of it. Don't remember what they were tho.

Thanks again, Mark H.
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