On the Go Seniors
There are great driving-trips in every direction from our B&B, but if you’d like to get out and see more of Alaska than you can see from the road, here are some ideas. These are moderately challenging and accessible to sure-footed folks who can walk a ways.
1. Hike at Hatcher Pass. The Gold Mint Trail has only a slight uphill grade to it on a mostly even and smooth, wide path for the first several miles. It follows a rushing river and affords gorgeous views as you come into each new valley between the tall mountains. It’s also easy to walk around Summit Lake. Archangel Road/Trail tends to be more rutted but is also a beautiful hike if you can pick your way along the trail. A very easy, short walk is on the asphalt-paved trail near Independence Mine, where you can stop and read interpretive displays about life at the mine earlier in the 1900’s.
2. Rent a canoe and paddle around Eklutna Lake or Nancy Lake for an afternoon.
3. Go on a jet boat safari with Mahay’s Riverboat in Talkeetna.
4. Take the half-day ATV tour with Alaska Backcountry Adventures. My mom and I did this, on the full-day tour. She’s 66 and is somewhat fragile in health. She was sore after a full-day, but it was exhilerating and she loved being out in the wilderness, fording rivers and buzzing along on her own ATV, seeing eagles, moose and bears.
5. Definitely go flightseeing from Talkeetna to see the wonders of Denali, if your body will cooperate and get you into the small plane.
6. At Denali, consider taking the Shuttle Bus. You can hop on and off at any stop, then hike for as long or short as you like in between bus rides.
7. Tour the gardens at the Palmer Visitor Center, in the center of town.
8. Take short hikes at the Matanuska Glacier. At the Glacier Overlook, there is a short loop walk (free) and nice photo opportunities. At the glacier itself (entrance fee), you can walk right up onto the glacier. Be very careful, though. I’ve had many guests come back with bloody hands from falling on the wet slippery ice and skinning up their palms when they went down. With precautions, you can get past the wet, melting “toe” of the glacier and up onto it where the surface is more like packed snow. You can also have Mica Guides show you the way. When you go with them, they give you crampons, helmets and walking sticks, which can make it a whole lot easier. Also, they know the best routes around the hazards.
9. For birding, go to Reflections Lake in the Palmer Hay Flats.
10. To get in a quick walk along developed, wood-chipped paths, you can choose challenging or easy among the trails at Crevasse Moraine or at the Mat-Su College, both centrally located between Palmer and Wasilla.