Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Facing the Fraser Outflow from Orcas

I had a nice face-off with the Fraser outflow winds today. The ferry to Orcas had closed the upper deck and requested folks stay seated when crossing Rosario Strait. My first project was on the south side of the island with sun and protection from the northeast wind.
I then headed over to the northeast shore area of Orcas in direct line with the winds that flow out of the Fraser Valley across northern Whatcom County across Rosario Strait.
Facing northeast into the wind. The North Cascades were obscured with foothill snow flurries where the Arctic air was flowing out into the low lands
Path of Arctic air out the Fraser Valley
View southeast down the northeast shore of Orcas with Lummi Island in the distance
The scramble down the steep rocky cliffs and scree slopes to the shore was a test of my cold weather scramble skills. The usual give to the ground was gone as the soil was deeply frozen on this northeast slope in direct line with the cold wind so foot purchase was less than normal. Fingers can't be as effectively sunk into the dirt around roots and normally reliable sticks and branches become brittle when frozen.
But great scenery, wild solitude (not sure this shore gets many visitors and certainly not with a Fraser outflow), some very interesting geology and a full on experience of this micro climate.
I turned back here leaving the gulls in peace on this cold day.

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