Thursday, June 13, 2013

Orcas Island Non Work Visit

I took a non work trip to Orcas Island. The way I figured it, this was my first non work related trip to Orcas in over 20 years. One of the perks of my geology work. That said, I took Lisa to some of my favorite sites on the island. Places I have visited while having a bit of extra time on the island before getting to the ferry. 
Crescent Beach on the upper end of East Sound
With a very low tide we had an appreciation of the richness of the tide flats and the deep history of the site. The boulders on the east end of the beach are glacial erratics eroded out of the glacial marine drift that once covered the area. The mass of glacial ice had pushed the land surface hundreds of feet below its current level and sea water with floating glacial ice covered the lower portions of the island during the late stages of the last glacial period.

Crow Valley from Turtleback Mountain
The hike up to the ridge of Turtleback is a bit steep and starts out rather woodsy, but this has become a favorite place and it was nice to get Lisa up there. Lots of ecosystem and forestry to discuss and then the great views of islands and water and Crow Valley with hedge rows. The bedrock is Turtleback Complex, a very ancient Devonian age island arc intrusive complex.
Bellingham on the waters edge from Mount Constitution on the summit of Orcas.
Small lake in the foreground is one of the Twin Lakes

We had great views from the summit peak of Orcas. We can see the summit from our house. It is fun to look in reverse. It was a bit chilly - 46 F with wind.

I tried not to be too obsessive about juniper trees (catching-up-with-juniperus-maritima), but I did find I am getting very good at spotting them. I noted several just east of Orcas Landing during an after dinner walk. The junipers are doing OK.

Juniperus maritima

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