Saturday, July 18, 2009

In and around the Mat-Su Valley

We are still in Palmer in the Mat-Su Valley. This is the prime agricultural region of the state. It is known for the large vegetables that they grow. Barbara noticed the largest rhubarb that she had ever seen growing in the campground. She asked the owners if she could pick some and they gave her permission to do so. She made a pie and has enough rhubarb left for a couple more.

Yesterday we drove back to Anchorage to go to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. This museum features Alaska themed art, and cultural and historic displays of the city and state. We spent a pleasant couple of hours there about an hour of which was on a guided tour.

This is the giant totem pole that stood 2 floors high.

This winter coat was made by this ladies auntie when she was a young woman, it is intricate and really beautiful.
That afternoon we went to the Palmer Farmers Market and Flea Market which is a weekly event on summer Fridays. We bought some homemade honey and a willow walking stick.

The vegetable's here grow quite large.

Our outing this morning was a drive up the Hatcher Pass Road to the old Independence Mine. We toured the site of the mine which was one of the largest in the state in the late '30's and early '40's. We would have preferred the guided tour but our timing was wrong, so we did self-guided with signs explaining the various machines, ruins and operation of the old mine.

This is the old mine, it is falling down, but they have restored a number of the buildings around it.

Equipment from the old mine included several old diesel engines, the largest of which is shown below.

Just above the old mine is a rock glacier, there are so many rocks that the ice is hidden.
This evening we drove out of Palmer to a reindeer farm. We didn't do the tour but viewed the reindeer from the road. Reindeer are the same species as Caribou of North American origin, but are of old world origin and have been domesticated. The reindeer that we saw this evening appeared notably smaller than the one wild caribou that we saw near Kenai a couple of weeks ago.

Now these are the real thing, not like the ones in the lower 48; however, they do not fly.

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