Snow is a reality in Alaska, though how much snow depends on the where of Alaska. Anchorage, for example, is on a coastal plain and doesn’t get as much snow as parts farther inland, closer to the mountains.
Time of year makes a difference too. In March, even if the melt has started, there is still a good chance the ground is frozen. The Chugach Mountains that surround Anchorage, on the other hand, seem perpetually cloaked in white.
Given these realities, getting to Hansen’s grave sites depended on the spring thaw. That was April at the earliest; April sliding into May and then June.
3/5/84: Sergeant FLOTHE, Trooper VonCLASEN and AST pilot utilizing AST helicopter checked the grave sites previously marked along the Knik River to determine when they could be examined. It was noted that a large percentage of the snow cover had melted, however, the ground was still frozen.
3/7/84: Sergeant FLOTHE receives a telephone call from DARLA HANSEN, advises Seargeant FLOTHE that prior to HANSEN’s confession and soon after his arrest, HANSEN asked her to remove weapons that he led her to believe were possibly buried in the back yard.
Later that day, the sergeant was back at Old Harbor Road, this time with a metal detector. He slowly swept the area in back of the house, while Darla stood by nervously. They didn’t find a thing, and Hansen had already denied throwing anything into a septic tank he said didn’t exist.
Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”
Backyard of Hansen house, Old Harbor Road (copyright Leland E. Hale)
Troopers FORREST BULLINGTON and VonCLASEN utilizing the AST helicopter checked the grave sites located west of Wasilla. There still, however, was a large amount of snow cover thus preventing any excavation at this time.
Wasilla Snow in March
Purchase Butcher, Baker