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Ralph and Anne Hatch

Ralph and Anne Hatch were interviewed on May 10, 2011 by Rachel Mason and Karen Brewster at their home in Seward, Alaska. In this interview, the Hatches talk about Ralph's growing up at the Jessie Lee Home, life in Seward in earlier days, and the 1964 Earthquake. Ralph talks about his father's cabin at Black Point and other cabins in the area, hunting in the Seward area, and expeditions on the Harding Icefield. Anne talks about changes to Exit Glacier, effects of the road to the glacier, berry picking and mushroom hunting, and thoughts about establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2010-05-16

Project: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Date of Interview: May 10, 2011
Narrator(s): Anne Hatch, Ralph Hatch
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Rachel Mason
Videographer: Rachel Mason
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


Ralph's background information

Jesse Lee Home in Seward and his parent's employment

Ralph's employment

Anne's background information

How they met

Ralph was a Mt. Marathon winner

1964 Earthquake experience

Ralph's father's hunting cabin

Ralph's hunting experiences

Accessing Exit Glacier before the road

Moose hunting near the T-craft airfield

Brother Jesse was a trapper

Herman Leirer's road to Exit Glacier

People crossing the Harding Icefield

Boys and girls at the Jesse Lee Home

Anne's employment

Spreading Anne's brother's ashes

Use of the Exit Glacier area

Original access to Exit Glacier

King salmon near Exit Glacier

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. I'm Karen Brewster, and we're here in Seward, Alaska, with Ralph and Anne Hatch.

Today is May 10th, 2011, and this is for the Kenai Fjords Exit Glacier Traditional Use Project.

Thank you, Hatches, for letting us come visit you in your home here, and putting up with us.

So just to get started, why don't you tell me a little bit yourself -- about yourself. I'll start with Ralph. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You say you were raised here in Seward?

RALPH HATCH: We moved here from Seldovia in 1930.

My parents were employed by the Jesse Lee Home, and the five kids -- they had five kids, and we all stayed at the Jesse Lee Home until 1935, when we moved to town.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you were born in Seldovia? RALPH HATCH: No, I was born in Unalaska. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

RALPH HATCH: But we left there when I was six months old. So I don't remember anything about Unalaska.

ANNE HATCH: His parents were raised in the Jesse Lee Home out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, there was a Jesse Lee Home in Unalaska? RALPH HATCH: That's where it was established. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. I didn't know that.

RALPH HATCH: It moved here in 1925, or twenty -- was it '28 ? ANNE HATCH: Well, I don't remember.

KAREN BREWSTER: We can find that out. ANNE HATCH: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: That's documented. RACHEL MASON: I think it was '25.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what did your parents do at the home? RALPH HATCH: My dad was in charge of the laundry, and my mom was in charge of the ironing room.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what was it like growing up there?

RALPH HATCH: Oh, it was -- I had both my parents there, so it was fine for me.

There were -- there were over a hundred kids there at that time, I think 120.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did you live in separate quarters?

RALPH HATCH: At first we had an apartment in the girls building, and then we moved into an apartment above the garage.

KAREN BREWSTER: And how much interaction did you have with the other children who were the residents?

RALPH HATCH: Oh, we interacted every day. ANNE HATCH: They ate with them.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you ate with them? RALPH HATCH: Oh, yeah. Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did you -- what about go to school? Did you go to school with them?

RALPH HATCH: They had a Bay View School, but I don't think it was open to the general public, was it, at that time? ANNE HATCH: Not to start with.

RALPH HATCH: They had the eight grades in one school for the Jesse Lee kids. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay.

RALPH HATCH: And the high school students were trucked to town.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. I was going to see, I keep hearing this beeping. Is that the camera beeping? RACHEL MASON: I don't hear it.

RALPH HATCH: Does that light stay on or does it keep -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, the light means it's recording, and it seems to be okay.

I get -- there's also a clock in the background. But that's different. That's different.

RALPH HATCH: Well, there's a clock over there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I hear the clock, but that's different. We can't -- we'll live with the clocks.

Okay. So you went to school, the Bay View School. So you came to high school here in town?

RALPH HATCH: No, I was in the fifth grade when we came, when we moved to town.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. And did you -- how come you moved to town?

RALPH HATCH: My dad went to work for the railroad on the Seward dock.

KAREN BREWSTER: What did he do? RALPH HATCH: He was a longshoreman.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. It seems like that's what everybody did -- ANNE HATCH: Uh-hum. KAREN BREWSTER: -- in that time period.

RALPH HATCH: Well, most of the freight for the state or the territory came through Seward.

RACHEL MASON: Did your mom keep working for the Jesse Lee Home, then? RALPH HATCH: Oh, no. No, no. Not after we moved. RACHEL MASON: Oh.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it was too far away to go back and forth for a job? ANNE HATCH: Well, she had five kids, too, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yeah. So what was Seward like then?

RALPH HATCH: It was -- I think there were about 1200 people here.

Everyone knew everyone else, and nobody locked their doors. It was a very nice little town.

It revolved around the shipping that came through here.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then what did you go on to do in terms of your own work?

RALPH HATCH: I started working on the dock until I was drafted for the Second World War in 1943.

KAREN BREWSTER: And where did that take you?

RALPH HATCH: Oh, there was a fort here -- there was a Fort Raymond in Seward at that time, and I took my 13 weeks training there.

And then I was sent to Fort Rich for a short time, and then I had ended up at Whittier. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

RALPH HATCH: There was a lot of freight coming in through Whittier, too.

RACHEL MASON: Were there other guys from Seward that were at Fort Raymond? RALPH HATCH: Oh, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you didn't have to go into combat or overseas, you got lucky to be stationed at Whittier? RALPH HATCH: Yeah.

ANNE HATCH: That was overseas, too. KAREN BREWSTER: That was overseas.

RACHEL MASON: Yeah, no kidding.

RALPH HATCH: I had the idea, I don't know where I got it, but we were a territory then, so the Army didn't send the troops from a territory into combat.

You can look that up. ANNE HATCH: On the Chain. Weren't some of them out on the Chain? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. RALPH HATCH: Who?

ANNE HATCH: Weren't some out on the Aleutian Chain?

RALPH HATCH: Well, some went there, yes; the Alaska Guard, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, but they didn't send them overseas, overseas. That's interesting.

And how long were you in the military?

RALPH HATCH: Two years, seven months, and two days. RACHEL MASON: And counting.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it was a great experience, was it?

RALPH HATCH: Well, I was away from home for the first time, I never got homesick.

The Army took care of that.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what did you do when you got out?

RALPH HATCH: I went back to longshoring. KAREN BREWSTER: Back here in Seward?

RALPH HATCH: For the Alaska Railroad. Yeah. Uh-hum.

ANNE HATCH: Then I came along.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So now it's Anne's story. When did you come along?

ANNE HATCH: I came in 1946 to teach high school from Wisconsin.

KAREN BREWSTER: Tell me a little bit about being in Wisconsin and your growing up.

ANNE HATCH: I grew up on a farm.

I -- I don't know how much detail you want, you know, I could make it real long, I guess.

I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus, a Lutheran College in Minnesota, and I taught three years in Minnesota.

And I visited my sister -- I took a vacation every summer.

And I went to Boston to visit her, and I came home, it was about the last week in August, and I had decided I wasn't going to teach anymore.

It was -- I couldn't make kids behave unless I got angry, and I didn't want it anymore, so I wasn't going to do anything.

It was still wartime or just the end of the war, and I figured there was a lot of jobs.

And I got a card in the mail that said -- from a teacher's employment agency, Seward, Alaska -- I think I received it the last week in August.

And I called up this number, excuse me, and spoke to the superintendent.

Seward was an independent district then, it wasn't a borough.

And I told him where I had taught, and he, I -- I decided overnight if I would get the job coming to teach English in Seward, Alaska, I'd go.

My mother encouraged me to travel because she always wanted to.

And so overnight, the next day, he called me and said, "Well, take the train on Monday to Seattle, the last boat before school starts." RACHEL MASON: Wow. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

ANNE HATCH: So my mother drove me to Minneapolis, I got a footlocker and we bought some clothes in town.

And he said the weather was just like Minnesota, and that is true, it doesn't get as cold here and it doesn't get as hot.

Especially in Seward. RACHEL MASON: That's right. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ANNE HATCH: And so I did that. And I taught three years -- no, two years here, and then went Outside, then Ralph came out and we were married.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how did you two meet, then?

ANNE HATCH: Well, I -- I was the pianist at church, they needed a new piano player, and I -- I say that we met at church, but he says we met at a dance.

RALPH HATCH: The Rainbow Girls.

ANNE HATCH: There was a dance in the city fire hall that everybody went to.

And neither one of us knew how to dance, but we were both there. KAREN BREWSTER: Aha.

ANNE HATCH: That was 1948. RACHEL MASON: Wow.

ANNE HATCH: And then we came back. KAREN BREWSTER: And what year were you married then?

ANNE HATCH: '48. I went up, came up in '46, we were married in the fall of '48.

RACHEL MASON: Did you write to your parents about the --

ANNE HATCH: Oh, yeah. They knew I was -- I knew I was coming and getting married.

We stayed out there about -- he had to come back because he had work.

His brother in law ran a laundry and he was working there after he had been fishing with his dad out in the bay, out at -- let's see, where?

RALPH HATCH: Tonsina. ANNE HATCH: Tonsina Point. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay.

ANNE HATCH: And we came back, and were you there about a week? Two weeks? Not very long, anyway, and we came back.

And we lived over the laundry where he had been working, and he worked there that winter.

And then sometime in the spring he went to work for the Alaska Railroad.

Which he -- how long you worked there?

RALPH HATCH: A couple years, wasn't it? We bought a house in 1950 anyway.

ANNE HATCH: Yeah. We were able to buy a house because he won Marathon, he got money.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. So what was the first year you won the Marathon?


KAREN BREWSTER: That was the first time? RALPH HATCH: (Nods head.)

RACHEL MASON: When you met Ralph, Anne, had you already heard about the Marathon winner?

ANNE HATCH: Well, yeah. Well, he hadn't won -- I think that's the first time you ran, wasn't it?


RALPH HATCH: Yeah. I was just -- ANNE HATCH: He was just back from the Army, I think.

KAREN BREWSTER: So '46 was the first time you ran it? RALPH HATCH: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: And you won it that same year? RALPH HATCH: Uh-hum. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow, that's pretty good. RACHEL MASON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: You must have been -- the Army must have gotten you in good shape.

RALPH HATCH: Well, I kept myself in good shape.

KAREN BREWSTER: I want to do a -- (Recording paused momentarily.)

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. I actually thought of one other thing to ask before we moved to the glacier, which you've already mentioned, you talked about the other day, but you're -- we're in Seward, we have to ask you about the earthquake and your experience with the earthquake.

Everybody has an earthquake story here, we've discovered.

RALPH HATCH: Well, the only damage to our house was a few bricks fell off of the top of the chimney.

And that was repaired by a group that went around doing little jobs like that after the quake.

KAREN BREWSTER: And was that this house? ANNE HATCH: No. RALPH HATCH: No. On Third Avenue. Well, the house is gone now.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hmm. How did you manage to get -- have so little damage?

RALPH HATCH: Well, it was a two story house.

ANNE HATCH: Some houses -- RALPH HATCH: It was east and west, and the ground shook east and west, you know.

ANNE HATCH: It had a good foundation. RALPH HATCH: It had a basement.

ANNE HATCH: Most houses, if were damaged, were damaged by water or fire. KAREN BREWSTER: And you were high enough up?

ANNE HATCH: Yeah. Do you know where the Qutekcak building is? KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum.

RALPH HATCH: That was our lot right there. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. Well, you were -- that's still down pretty close to the water. ANNE HATCH: Yeah.

RALPH HATCH: We could see the dock, and she said she saw the water surge over the -- ANNE HATCH: Around the dock.

And I was talking to my son and daughter just this week, and both of them remember seeing the water come around there, but I don't remember that I saw that the dock was damaged. I mean --

RALPH HATCH: Not then, it was damaged by the tsunamis.

ANNE HATCH: Well, I saw the water coming -- KAREN BREWSTER: You saw the water coming up, but you don't remember it smashing?

RALPH HATCH: It was just a surge. The tide was out. You knew that?

KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know if I knew that. RALPH HATCH: It was low tide.

ANNE HATCH: Before -- before I saw that water around the dock, I -- well, one time I looked at the bay and I thought -- I saw what I thought was a line across, I don't know if it was light or dark, I don't remember.

And I thought, well, that looks like a line across, but it probably was that wave that came in, the first one.

How long did we stand outside before we left?

RALPH HATCH: Just a few minutes. ANNE HATCH: Maybe five minutes?

KAREN BREWSTER: So you knew to evacuate? RALPH HATCH: Well, we could see the -- ANNE HATCH: The Standard Oil -- RALPH HATCH: -- tank farm, the Standard Oil tank farm, some of the tanks ruptured, and then they caught fire.

ANNE HATCH: That's when we decided to go. The car ran back and forth on the street by itself.

And my one daughter fell down, you know, when it happened, and I said, "Well, hang on to the fence." We had a big picket fence around the garden.

And people said the ground had waves, but I -- I think I don't always believe what I see because I remember looking at it and I probably saw it but didn't believe it, you know.

I wouldn't be able to describe it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. So you were able to -- were you able to get out of town or where did you go to?

RALPH HATCH: We got as far as the first bridge out here, and it was up this high above the road.

ANNE HATCH: The ground sank but the bridge stayed put. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ANNE HATCH: So we drove into Forest Acres, we knew a couple that lived there right close to the road, and we stayed with them, what, five days maybe? RALPH HATCH: Three days, I think. ANNE HATCH: Three days.

RALPH HATCH: They wouldn't let us go back in to town.

ANNE HATCH: We were too close to down town, they didn't want people too close to downtown, they were afraid of looting and that kind of thing.

And because I guess the Army was here, or whoever it was.

RALPH HATCH: National Guard. KAREN BREWSTER: National Guard. ANNE HATCH: National Guard.

And we didn't have lights, didn't have power, didn't have water, you know, you couldn't cook.

And when we did come back -- we stayed with these people over Easter Sunday, and we, believe it or not, had leg of lamb for dinner.

She was all prepared, it was just a couple.

RALPH HATCH: It was leg of lamb.

ANNE HATCH: Well, yeah. And another couple was there, and the lady was a nurse, and she had a quite young baby, I don't know, maybe a couple months,

and she wanted to go back to the hospital, so she went back, her husband had took her back, but they didn't need her, so while she was gone, I lay on the couch and took care of the baby.

KAREN BREWSTER: So was it scary being in the earthquake? ANNE HATCH: I -- RALPH HATCH: We've had earthquakes here every so often, regularly.

ANNE HATCH: Small ones. I was frightened.

At the time in history, and I don't know, you probably don't remember, but that was when we were having trouble with Russia, and I wondered if it wasn't an atom bomb, you know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, right.

ANNE HATCH: And then I also thought, well, is it the end of the world? I mean, it was drastic. I mean, it was -- so...

RALPH HATCH: But it's odd that we haven't had near as many earthquakes since the big one.

ANNE HATCH: We've had very few.

We did at the time, we had a couple days after, you know, it kept shaking, but -- and that was about -- he came in and got some things out of our freezer for food.

We -- the men walked to beyond the bridge that you had to climb over, I guess, out to Nash Road.

There was a chicken farm at that time, so they went out and got eggs. KAREN BREWSTER: Cool.

ANNE HATCH: I have a feeling that chickens probably didn't lay as good as they did ordinarily.

They used to sell eggs to Anchorage. It was a big chicken farm.

RACHEL MASON: What about the dairy farm? Were the cows still giving milk?

ANNE HATCH: I don't know. Did we still have cows then? I don't think we did.

RALPH HATCH: I think the dairy may have been closed. RACHEL MASON: Oh, okay. ANNE HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So now, we'll ask you about the Exit Glacier area.

So the glacier and this valley, Ralph, you mentioned your father having a cabin. Tell us about that.

RALPH HATCH: It was actually a place to stay when he went moose hunting.

And he walked -- we walked up the river, up to Black Point, and then that's where he had the cabin.

KAREN BREWSTER: Can you mark on the map where that cabin was?

RALPH HATCH: It's pretty hard to see. Where is the creek that comes from the glacier? Right here?

KAREN BREWSTER: This one. That's the main -- RALPH HATCH: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: -- river. And then this over here is Paradise Creek.

RALPH HATCH: The point come down just south of the glacier. KAREN BREWSTER: Was it this point?

RALPH HATCH: It could be because it wasn't too far from the river.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And so the cabin was on which side of that point? Right at the point?

RALPH HATCH: Just up -- oh, a little up on the point a little ways.

KAREN BREWSTER: Like there? Okay. RALPH HATCH: Yeah. The remains might be there yet, but I don't know.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that's Black Point, huh?

And you said he used it for moose hunting?

RALPH HATCH: Yes. Uh-hum. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. How did he -- how did he get that built out there?

RALPH HATCH: Well, he -- I never did see the cabin.

I was on the first trip when we walked up there to look -- look at the country, but then he built -- it was just a log cabin, you just cut down a few logs and make -- build yourself a cabin.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did he build it by himself?

RALPH HATCH: I think he had the big boys from the Jesse Lee, some of them went along and helped.

KAREN BREWSTER: And was he successful at getting moose out there?

RALPH HATCH: Yeah. He had a 12 foot skiff, and they'd put it in the river, and lined it up, up to the cabin, and go hunting, and then if they were successful, they'd put the meat in the skiff and drift down, line it down.

They wouldn't be in the boat, it wouldn't be big enough.

KAREN BREWSTER: I wonder if that river was deep enough to navigate in a skiff. RALPH HATCH: Well, that size, it would be, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I was thinking they have lots of little channels and things. ANNE HATCH: But it changes all the time.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But -- so mining it would make sense, then.

And then was that moose that he used for the family or that was moose for the Jesse Lee Home?

RALPH HATCH: No, that's for the family.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did they ever use moose at the Jesse Lee Home?

RALPH HATCH: Well, not that I remember. They did have the big boys hunt once in awhile, but I don't know how successful they were.

Not very, I don't think.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so you said you didn't ever spend much time at this cabin? RALPH HATCH: I never did. KAREN BREWSTER: Never did.

RACHEL MASON: Ralph, do you remember your first hunting trip?

RALPH HATCH: I used to go out to Mile 54 and there was an old prospector that lived up -- up on the -- above the highway.

He had a nice cabin. I knew him from years ago, and I used to go stay with him and hunt -- hunt up there.

He kept the trail in good shape.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was his name? RALPH HATCH: Bill Johnson.

KAREN BREWSTER: So Mile 54 is up the Seward Highway? RALPH HATCH: On the way to Anchorage. KAREN BREWSTER: On the way to Anchorage. So was that past Kenai Lake?

RALPH HATCH: Oh, a long -- yeah, this is only about Mile 24 here. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. Okay.

So your father didn't take you hunting?

RALPH HATCH: No, not -- well, we -- we used to go ptarmigan hunting with shotguns, but not moose hunting.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where would you go ptarmigan hunting?

RALPH HATCH: Up Mount Marathon, and behind it, in the bowl.

KAREN BREWSTER: Let's see. Where's Mount Marathon on the map? Marathon Mountain. Okay.

RALPH HATCH: Where's the -- KAREN BREWSTER: That says Phoenix Peak. RALPH HATCH: That's the peak behind Mount Marathon. KAREN BREWSTER: There's Mount Marathon and there's Phoenix Peak.

RALPH HATCH: There's a little -- there's a little bowl behind it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right here? RALPH HATCH: Yeah. That would usually be in the late fall and early winter.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you were successful? RALPH HATCH: Uh-hum. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Cool. And you would hike up there?

RALPH HATCH: We'd take the hikers -- hikers trail.

KAREN BREWSTER: Is that different than the race trail?

RALPH HATCH: Uh-hum. The hikers trail is at the end of Monroe, this street right here.

You go straight over and there's -- there's where the trail starts. The racers go up Lowell Canyon.

KAREN BREWSTER: I'm just trying to see if there was a difference on the map, but I -- oh, there's Lowell Canyon. Lowell Creek?

RALPH HATCH: Yeah, Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: And Race Point. Oh, I see. So this is the hikers trail? RALPH HATCH: Yes, Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. It's easier -- is it an easier trail, the hikers trail?

RALPH HATCH: I think it is because the racers trail is hard to get -- it starts at a bluff, and it's hard to get up, unless you know what you're doing, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum. So this ptarmigan hunting, was that when you were a kid or you continued to do that as an adult?

RALPH HATCH: No, that's while I was still at home. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

Did you do -- ever go up this Resurrection Valley anywhere and do any hunting or trapping of any kind?

RALPH HATCH: I told Rachel that I had a Jeep truck that we used to -- out here by the Pit Bar, you can drive in there.

There wasn't a road there at that time, years ago, and we'd get in there and some -- I don't remember the way anymore, but then we'd get on the river and we'd drive up --

up here somewhere and hunt goats.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, let's see. So -- well, I guess you would just follow the gravel bars on the river? RALPH HATCH: Yeah. Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, the road originally, like Seavey's Corner, is that where it went to?

Back from when it was the Pit -- before they did the new road?

RALPH HATCH: Long before. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: It was long before. So it was the Pit Bar, and it went somehow through here to Seavey's Corner, maybe?

RALPH HATCH: No, I think we'd -- we'd hit the river before we got to -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right about here?

RALPH HATCH: -- before we got to the -- before we got to Seavey's, yeah, and then just follow the river on up.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember how far up you went? RALPH HATCH: Maybe four miles.

ANNE HATCH: Would that be up to Mount Resurrection? RALPH HATCH: Well, it's past Mount Resurrection.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that's Resurrection Peaks. So which side would you go get your goats? RALPH HATCH: It'd be on the north side.


Do you remember any particular -- do you remember any particular place you got goats you can mark on the map?

RALPH HATCH: It's hard to tell on the map. KAREN BREWSTER: Now I've just written on it, too; that makes it even harder.

RALPH HATCH: I don't think I can. No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. I just did a general area.

Okay. So what's it -- how do you go goat hunting? That sounds hard.

RALPH HATCH: Well, some of the toughest hunts I've ever been on are goat hunts.

They're up in the mountains.

There was a ridge that came down, and I just would go over and get on the -- the toe of that ridge, and just -- there was a trail on there, a game trail on there, and I just followed it up to where the goats were.

KAREN BREWSTER: And the goats don't run away? RALPH HATCH: No. You have to stalk them.

But there was an old guy that lived in -- he lived out there somewhere, and that's where he used to go. That's how I found out about it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember his name? RALPH HATCH: Not anymore.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, he was like an old trapper or something? RALPH HATCH: I'm not sure. He was a longshoreman, I think. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

ANNE HATCH: Would that be where -- RALPH HATCH: He used to walk up there.

ANNE HATCH: Was that as close to where Gillespies used to live, or farther away?

RALPH HATCH: Well, that was way past Gillespies. They're down in here. KAREN BREWSTER: Gillespies is down right near the beginning. RALPH HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, there's a name that I can't think of that I was going to -- other people have mentioned some old timer guy, and I was going to ask if it was the same guy, but now I can't remember his name.

I want to say something like Itchen (phonetic), but that's not it.

But I was wondering if he had a cabin or anything out there? RALPH HATCH: I don't think so, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: So where would you go moose hunting?

RALPH HATCH: Well, we'd take -- take a plane and fly there -- there's two landing strips on the river.

One is a T-strip, I remember. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum. Do you remember where that was?

RALPH HATCH: I couldn't point it out, I'm afraid. KAREN BREWSTER: Maybe we could move the map closer to you.

RALPH HATCH: Is there a cabin along here? Is there a cabin marked anywhere along here?

KAREN BREWSTER: Resurrection River cabin, right there. This is where the road is to the glacier, is there.

RALPH HATCH: It would be up in here somewhere. There's -- KAREN BREWSTER: Here's another cabin right there. RALPH HATCH: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's at Placer Creek, if that means anything to you.

RALPH HATCH: That was Whitey Smith's cabin.

And we'd go up in there and stay there overnight, and then hunt along up in here. There was a swamp. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

RALPH HATCH: And there was a game trail right alongside of it and you could follow that.

KAREN BREWSTER: That was moose hunting.

And how would you -- you would fly in and land on the T-strip? RALPH HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that where -- the airstrip was somewhere over there? RALPH HATCH: Down in here.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's the T-strip. Why was it called the T-strip?

RALPH HATCH: Well, I don't -- I never did know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Have you heard? Do you know why? ANNE HATCH: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: So who did you fly with? Were you a pilot?

RALPH HATCH: No. Oliver, Oliver Amend.

KAREN BREWSTER: How do you spell his last name?


RACHEL MASON: Who did you -- RALPH HATCH: He was born in Seward here.

RACHEL MASON: Sorry to interrupt. I was just wondering who you went hunting with?

RALPH HATCH: My brother, mostly.

One year we got two moose, and he flew in and dropped us a rubber raft, and we inflated it and floated the meat down to this T-strip, and then he flew it out.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you were higher up here, then, when you got those two moose? RALPH HATCH: Not too far.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see. Well, I guess that swamp is far enough away to not want to pack moose that far.

RALPH HATCH: Well, we -- we got the raft blown up and we put it in the slough, and then we got it down to the T-strip where he could pick it up with the plane.

KAREN BREWSTER: That made it easier. That would make it easier.

RALPH HATCH: Oh, yeah. Uh-hum.

Another time he -- he spotted a big bull up in there, and we all three went up there.

He let my -- well, I guess we all got off.

And I'd marked on the side of the hill where the moose was opposite, and we all three hiked up there, and I had him spotted pretty close there.

And he was horning some brush, and then I shot him.

The other two are off toward the mountain, and I started shooting, they got down behind a log.

And that was a big moose. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

RALPH HATCH: The quarters, we cut it in four pieces, the quarters weighed -- I think one -- we weighed one, it was 182 pounds. KAREN BREWSTER: Whoa.

RALPH HATCH: And Oliver worked for the Seward Trading Company and they had a meat locker, and that's where we hung up the meat, let it age.

KAREN BREWSTER: So those 180 pound quarters, did you carry those? RALPH HATCH: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Holy cow.

RALPH HATCH: I'd get boots on because we had to cross the river, I don't know how many times.

I could carry half a moose if it was a yearling, if it was last year's calf.

Those quarters only weigh 80 -- 90 pounds, that's 180 pounds.

KAREN BREWSTER: You were in good shape, that's for sure.

What about trapping? Anybody do any trapping, or when you were a kid, did you go in and set rabbit traps or anything?

RALPH HATCH: My brother trapped up in there, but I don't know where.

KAREN BREWSTER: What was he trapping? RALPH HATCH: Beaver.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. You don't know how high up the river?

RALPH HATCH: No. He -- there was a -- he stayed at a cabin up there somewhere, but I'm not sure where. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

RALPH HATCH: That would be in late -- late winter.

And he was a longshoreman, too.

ANNE HATCH: His name was Jesse and he was lost in the earthquake.

RACHEL MASON: What happened to him during the earthquake?

RALPH HATCH: He and a friend were -- took a skiff out to the head of the bay -- I mean, out to the entrance here, they were hunting seals, and they were late getting back that day.

Then I guess they could see the town from way out there, looked like the whole town was burning, and they tried to get back, and the tsunami got them because they never did find his body.

RACHEL MASON: How about his friend, was he okay? Or he --

KAREN BREWSTER: I would think if you're on the skiff in a tsunami, you're chances aren't very good, unfortunately.

RALPH HATCH: I guess they felt they had to get back.

There was a doctor from Anchorage that was out at the same time, but he went into Thumb Cove, and he stayed there overnight, and he got back the next day.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, if they'd stayed out at the point at the end of the bay, they would have been okay.

RALPH HATCH: They would have been okay, yeah.

The thing was, it looked like the town was on fire because the tank farm was ruptured, the tanks ruptured, and the first tsunami came in and put -- put it all out.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now, Anne, what about you up in the glacier?

ANNE HATCH: I haven't -- I've been up to the park a number of times. I used to go every year when it first opened, and especially if I had company, I'd take them up there.

And it's amazing how much it has receded. There was one time a group of seniors took a hike up -- isn't that Resurrection Trail that takes off on the other side of the bridge toward Cooper Landing?

We hiked up that trail.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Well -- yeah.

ANNE HATCH: We went into the first cabin, but that isn't in the park. KAREN BREWSTER: No, that's over here someplace.

So what do you think about -- you were here before the road was put in. ANNE HATCH: Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what do you each think about that road that Herman Leirer worked on?

RALPH HATCH: Do you remember the first one that he tried to put in on the south side of the river?

ANNE HATCH: You mean Herman's? RALPH HATCH: Yeah. And it washed out.

KAREN BREWSTER: How -- do you know how far he got with that road?

RALPH HATCH: No, I don't. I don't think it was too far.

But that just wasn't -- that didn't work out.

ANNE HATCH: Well, I don't think it was drivable as far as he went, was it?

I never heard of people driving up where he was working. So I don't know.

RACHEL MASON: What was the problem with that road? RALPH HATCH: It would flood. RACHEL MASON: Oh.

ANNE HATCH: And one man trying to build a road and along a big river, you know, that -- I guess he had help, but I don't think he had too much machinery, did he?

RALPH HATCH: I don't know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know why he decided to start that road? ANNE HATCH: No.

RALPH HATCH: He knew about Exit Glacier, so he thought that would be maybe a tourist attraction. I think that was it.

ANNE HATCH: Everybody went out to the dump, and that's as far as we went.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So did people go out to this area and get to the glacier before the road was there?

ANNE HATCH: Well, I didn't even know about it. You knew a glacier was up there, didn't you?

RALPH HATCH: I didn't know too much about it, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hmm. That's interesting. That even living and growing up here, people didn't talk about Exit Glacier? RALPH HATCH: No.

ANNE HATCH: Well, there's glaciers all over. What's a glacier, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then, Ralph, you were talking about the going across the ice field from here to Homer, you had mentioned that.

RALPH HATCH: I just heard about people that had done it.

ANNE HATCH: Well, that's where the name of the park came from, Exit. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum.

RALPH HATCH: You could access the ice field.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that's how they come off, is that was their exit?

ANNE HATCH: Is that where they came on, Lake Tustumena, is that where they came on? KAREN BREWSTER: I don't remember.

ANNE HATCH: I thought it was kind of a weird name.

RALPH HATCH: I think they came out somewhere around East End Road.


KAREN BREWSTER: Did you -- growing up here, did you ever hear about other trails going across from here to Homer, how people would get across?

RALPH HATCH: No, I never did know the route, but I just know that they had done it.

KAREN BREWSTER: But before they did it, that was Yule Kilcher and those guys? ANNE HATCH: I think so.

KAREN BREWSTER: I know there were other names, but his is the name I know. ANNE HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I've always wondered if there were traditional routes that people might have known about.

RALPH HATCH: Well, there was a party from the Jesse Lee Home. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Tell me about that.

RALPH HATCH: I thought I did. RACHEL MASON: Yeah, yeah, the boys that went over there to -- KAREN BREWSTER: I don't think we were on tape. ANNE HATCH: You weren't on tape.

KAREN BREWSTER: You weren't on tape when you told me that, so now you have to tell it again.

RALPH HATCH: Well, the Jesse Lee Home had plans to establish some kind of a -- ANNE HATCH: A farm?

RALPH HATCH: -- a farm and a herd of cows over there, near Homer, so they sent some of the boys along with one of the supervisors.

There was no highway then, so they crossed -- crossed the ice field to Homer.

KAREN BREWSTER: With cows? RALPH HATCH: Well, no, no, this was just a party. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

RALPH HATCH: I don't remember how far they got along with that project, either, but it didn't pan out.

KAREN BREWSTER: But they made it over to Homer? RALPH HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you don't know what route they took? RALPH HATCH: No, I don't.

RACHEL MASON: I wonder how they found out what route to take, or how they decided what route to take.

RALPH HATCH: I have flown over it, it's just an expanse of white with here and there a top of a mountain sticking out of the snow.

RACHEL MASON: It's hard to imagine.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how did they get -- they took cows from here over to Homer?

ANNE HATCH: I thought I read they did, but I'm not sure about that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or they just went to explore the possibility?

RALPH HATCH: I think it was an exploration party.

And I can't think of anyone that would know much about that. Maybe, you could ask Pat, maybe.

KAREN BREWSTER: So was this -- did this happen while you were a boy at the -- living at the home -- RALPH HATCH: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- with your parents? Okay.

So was the Jesse Lee Home, it was all boys? RALPH HATCH: Oh, no. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh no.

KAREN BREWSTER: What did the girls do?

ANNE HATCH: Well, they had their jobs like women do because they raised them to have their own families and keep house.

And the boys did what men do.

I don't know if they did garden work. I know they picked berries because I have some of his mother's pictures and it shows, oh, about 10 girls, teenagers, with buckets, big ones.

And his aunt told me once they had to pick their bucket full before they could eat any, and they would even tell them, open your mouth, stick out your tongue, and they couldn't eat any before the pail was full.

And then they got a treat if it was full.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know where they went to go berry picking?

ANNE HATCH: Oh, probably up Marathon, or I don't know. RALPH HATCH: Around Forest Acres.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that's blueberries? ANNE HATCH: Yeah.

RALPH HATCH: Blue currants and red currants. KAREN BREWSTER: Blue currants?

ANNE HATCH: Black -- I call them black currants, but they are blue, I guess. They are like a blueberry, but they've got a little hair on them.

KAREN BREWSTER: I've never seen them. We don't have those in the Interior.

ANNE HATCH: No. They are not like the tame currants, you know, the little red ones. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

So after you got married, did you continue to teach?

ANNE HATCH: No, he went to work for the railroad, and he didn't want me to work anymore, so I didn't until the earthquake. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum.

ANNE HATCH: Then because he was supposed to go to Whittier with the railroad, he refused to do that, he said he'd been there, done that.

RALPH HATCH: No, I went over. I was there for a while.

ANNE HATCH: He didn't want to leave the family. We had five kids. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my goodness.

ANNE HATCH: And, yeah, when my first one started first grade, my fifth one was born, so I had my hands full.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. But -- so you did go back to teaching for a little while.

ANNE HATCH: Until after the earthquake, it went to summer school after that because he lost his job -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. ANNE HATCH: -- on the railroad.

And then I taught from until 1965 to 1982 or '3, I've forgotten.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what did you teach?

ANNE HATCH: I came here to teach English.

And then they -- there were a bunch of kids that had instruments, though, so I had a little band after school, five kids.

And then I taught -- when I went back after the earthquake, I didn't want high school kids anymore, I didn't like working with -- working with them, so I got a job.

First it was fourth grade, and then all the rest of the time was third grade, and I ended up the last two years in second grade.

KAREN BREWSTER: You kept getting younger and younger.

ANNE HATCH: Well, the kids kept getting more adult all the time, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. I'll take us back to Exit Glacier. You had mentioned something before we were on tape that related to Exit Glacier as something you had done that not most people have done.

ANNE HATCH: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: About the ashes.

ANNE HATCH: Most people have? KAREN BREWSTER: No, have not.

ANNE HATCH: Oh. KAREN BREWSTER: I would think. ANNE HATCH: My sister and her husband would come and visit us, they were from Minnesota but then they moved to Arizona, and they just loved to come up here because he said if he had -- you know, the people at Matanuska came in the '30s, and he would have been of the age that he would liked to have done that.

And when he died, she, my sister, brought his ashes.

And do you want to know where we put them?


ANNE HATCH: Should I tell her? KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I don't need the specific, but -- RACHEL MASON: Yeah, we don't need to know that --

ANNE HATCH: Okay. Cut it off and I'll tell you then.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, we'll see -- you had mentioned to me before we were on tape that you went to Exit Glacier, and you distributed them somewhere around there.

ANNE HATCH: Yeah, I can tell you where.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So about what year was that?

ANNE HATCH: Was that 10 years ago?

RALPH HATCH: You mean when Ernie died?

ANNE HATCH: Yeah. It must be a good ten years.

What was the name of the park superintendent?

It was shortly -- well, it wasn't too long after it was opened because there was a sidewalk, and the two benches were there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And you mentioned that you did talk to the Park Service RALPH HATCH: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- before you did it.

RALPH HATCH: Yeah. And he said, "That's fine." KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

RALPH HATCH: Well, he went to our church, didn't he? ANNE HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Moore? No -- was that Moore? ANNE HATCH: Yes, it was Moore.

KAREN BREWSTER: Moore was the superintendent. Okay. That gives me a time frame.

ANNE HATCH: Yeah. And it may be -- how long ago did they open the park?

KAREN BREWSTER: 1980 was when the -- ANNE HATCH: So that's 30 years ago, then.

So I think I told them after it happened because he'd keep coming back because one of the sons married a girl in town.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So you guys both were here before that road was put in. ANNE HATCH: Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: How did that road change things?

ANNE HATCH: Well, we had gone up the road looking for blueberries, for one thing, where we didn't before, before you come to the bridge. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-hum.

RALPH HATCH: And we hunt mushrooms up there.

ANNE HATCH: We pick mushrooms up there.

We've taken our company up, but I haven't been there for a couple of years. You haven't been there for a long time. RALPH HATCH: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: I know, a lot of people now, in the winter, you know, when it's closed, it's popular for skiing and snow machining things.

Did people go up and ski and snow machine before the road was there? Did they go up that way?

ANNE HATCH: Not that I know of.

KAREN BREWSTER: And the park -- you know, having the park here now, and when it was first proposed, the community was not all supportive of that. I don't know --

ANNE HATCH: I don't remember that, but I do know we sort of just disregarded it.

And when it was named a national park, I was surprised. I said, you mean it's that great?

KAREN BREWSTER: And now what do you think?

ANNE HATCH: Well, I think they've done very well.

RALPH HATCH: We could -- we could walk right up to the face of the glacier and eat the ice.

ANNE HATCH: To start with, we would bring home a handful, you know. RALPH HATCH: But it's receded since then.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Oh, you'd bring ice home and use it?

ANNE HATCH: Well, a handful -- not use it but it'd melt by the time we -- RALPH HATCH: Brought some in a plastic bag once. Someone did.

ANNE HATCH: Sometimes we'd do that. KAREN BREWSTER: That's fun.

ANNE HATCH: I was intrigued the way an iceberg melts, at least those.

At a certain point, it looked like a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

You'd pick the clumps out and they'd be -- they would be fitted in together. It wasn't ice cubes like in a refrigerator or freezer.

I didn't realize that -- I thought it would just all melt down, but it would melt so you could pick out the chunks.

You haven't seen it?

KAREN BREWSTER: No, I've never seen it melt. I've never watched it melt that way.

ANNE HATCH: Well, I don't watch it, but when we went up there, at certain times, you could do that. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see.

ANNE HATCH: And we -- to start with, they would let people get right up to it until a lady was killed there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

RALPH HATCH: She was killed by some falling ice.

KAREN BREWSTER: So have you ever hiked up the trail that goes up along there?

ANNE HATCH: You mean to -- the glacier is so far back. I have the last time, I think I went -- didn't I go last year?

RALPH HATCH: Well, she means the -- KAREN BREWSTER: There's a trail that goes up along the -- ANNE HATCH: Oh, on it? KAREN BREWSTER: Onto it. ANNE HATCH: No, never.

RALPH HATCH: Is that -- ANNE HATCH: Just up to it so you could see it.

RALPH HATCH: Is that a guided hike?

KAREN BREWSTER: No, I think there's a trail that goes up to along the edge of it, kind of.

I don't know, I've never been on it, but I've heard people talk about that there's a trail that you can go and kind of get onto the glacier, but that's not at the face of it.

ANNE HATCH: Don't they still have guided tours?

KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know. There used to be guided tours that would take you on the glacier? ANNE HATCH: Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know about that. Tell me about that. ANNE HATCH: I don't know anything about it, but I've seen it advertised. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

ANNE HATCH: And you probably also know that the reason the park was developed as fast and as well -- it was some years ago, and I don't know if it was Moore told me that or where I got the information,

but if they would make it handicapped accessible, they'd get more money to develop it when money was in short supply, and that's one reason it was developed.

But you might look into that. KAREN BREWSTER: That's interesting.

RALPH HATCH: The first bridge was a foot bridge that you could walk across, across the river. ANNE HATCH: I think that washed out, didn't it?

RALPH HATCH: I don't think so. It just -- ANNE HATCH: Well, for a while -- for a brief while you couldn't cross it, but maybe it was a year.

Maybe that's when they changed bridges.

RALPH HATCH: I think they took that foot bridge from where it was and moved it to way up Resurrection somewhere to another location --

ANNE HATCH: I think it was a new -- RALPH HATCH: -- when they built the bridge. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

ANNE HATCH: I think it was -- wasn't it a new one to start with or an old one? I thought it was from someplace else. I have no idea.

KAREN BREWSTER: But if -- the point is that you used to have to walk across it, now you can drive across? ANNE HATCH: Uh-hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And did you ever try and go across with a raft or a boat, a canoe?

RALPH HATCH: No. No. And the river that comes from the glacier is so fast that you can't even wade across it with a pair of boots.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Is there any fishing in that river, the Resurrection River?

RALPH HATCH: The lower down, there used to be king salmon that would go up in there.

ANNE HATCH: Well, I was told that there weren't any fish there because it was too much glacier sediment in the water, but he said he's seen fish up there.

Didn't you say you saw king salmon?

RALPH HATCH: I saw a king salmon had been eaten on by a bear, I guess -- RACHEL MASON: Wow. RALPH HATCH: -- on the bank.

ANNE HATCH: But they wouldn't be in the main creek, it would be in a tributary, wouldn't it?

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, there's other -- there's other rivers that aren't directly coming out of the glacier, but --

ANNE HATCH: Well, I was thinking -- I thought he pointed over toward Resurrection, and that that would be where he had seen the king salmon.

RALPH HATCH: Box Canyon Creek. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, it's over by Seavey's, right? RALPH HATCH: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I've heard of it. RALPH HATCH: They tried establishing a king run in there, but it wasn't successful.

KAREN BREWSTER: Which is Box Canyon? Is it this one?

RALPH HATCH: Well, where's the mountain? KAREN BREWSTER: There's Resurrection Peaks.

RALPH HATCH: Right up in there.


Okay. But it didn't work, huh? RALPH HATCH: No. It wasn't successful.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Is there anything else about the glacier and using this area or the establishment of the park that I haven't asked you about?

RALPH HATCH: I don't think so. I wish you could talk to Ollie.

KAREN BREWSTER: He's the one in Hawaii, huh? RALPH HATCH: Yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Rachel, do you have any questions?

RACHEL MASON: I can't think of anything else right now, unless there's something else you'd like to add. ANNE HATCH: Not I.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. It was very interesting.