Tuesday, February 23, 2016

West of Day Lake, Orcas Island

The east portion of Orcas Island is mountainous. The summit of the island is Mount Constitution at 2,409 feet. Relative to the other mountain areas in Washington it is not high, but the slope out of the sea water is abrupt and steep. East Sound the embayment on the east side of the island could easily be call a fiord.  The mountainous upland area has numerous mountain lakes both within Moran State Park and outside the park.  

Topographic map of the east portion of Orcas Island
Day Lake is on the north 

Just west of Day Lake is a small forested lake that clearly has expanded as part of the lake is full of dead trees. Day Lake Road passes by the east side of the lake. 

Day Lake on the right and the unnamed lake in the images above is on the left
(USGS, 2013)

1941 image of Day Lake 
A forest opening but no lake is apparent to the west

The lakes on the east of Orcas are almost all contained within bedrock basins that would have been partially eroded when the island was over ridden by glacial ice. The 1941 image suggests that the lake west of Day Lake did not exist but was a wetland area with few trees. Post 1941 rural development has taken place with scattered homes and gravel roads. Day Lake Road crosses the low area between the lakes and acts as a bit of a small dam across the drainage and hence the lake and the dead stand of trees in the water.

Day Lake Road on the northeast side of Orcas

A drive on Day Lake Road is a mountain road experience as the road descends the very steep northeast slope of Orcas from the lake to Raccoon Point Road. Great views across Rosario Strait to the BC Coast Range, but alas this last trip was a bit foggy just before a sleet storm rolled over the area. The road traverses a slope that is 1,300 feet high with a stead 45 degree or steeper slope all the way to the shoreline.  

No comments: