Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Turtleback Looks Like a Turtle

While pulling out of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, I had one of those "now I get it" moments.

Turtleback Mountain, Orcas Island

Yes, Turtleback does look like a turtle - particularly when viewed from the San Juan Islands most populous location at Friday Harbor. A big part of Turtleback is owned by San Juan Land Trust and there are public trails with great views and some great prairie ecology. The site also has what I describe as the rarest forest in western Washington: rarest-forest-in-western-Washington. Turtleback lends its name to the oldest rocks in the San Juans - the Turtleback Complex. The complex consists primarily a mix of intrusive rocks that have been  interpreted to be the core of a volcanic island arc. Where exactly that island arc originally came from may not be entirely solvable. But the Turtleback is one of several accreted terrains in the San Juans.


Shannon said...

Hi Dan!

I enjoy your blog. The "head" of the turtle is called "Turtle Head" (duh). Until last year, Turtle Head and Turtleback were not connected, but last year (you many know this) the Preservation Trust bought the "neck" - so now the turtle is complete!...and the neck is called...? Turtleneck! ;)

take care!

Dan McShane said...

Thanks Shannon. Turtleback is one of my favorite places. I'll have to walk the neck some day.