Fidalgo Summit Views


At 1,273 feet (388 m) Mount Erie is the highest point on Fidalgo Island.  Technically, it is a diorite pluton.  This is a mass of magma, heated by tectonic plate subduction, that rose up into the earth's crust and solidified.  It became igneous stone similar to granite.  Later it was exposed by uplift, glaciation and erosion.  It is part of a complex formation called Fidalgo ophiolite, a mixture of ocean crust and volcanic rocks that make up Fidalgo and the San Juan Islands.  Note that if the molten magma reaches the surface, a volcano is the result instead.  (As an editorial point, while I am comfortable with technical writings in medicine, chemistry and biology, I find those in geology to be uniquely impervious to understanding.  Please excuse my feeble attempt to clarify the basic concepts here.)

Mount Erie is an Anacortes City Park and a part of the Community Forest Lands.  It is a popular spot for hikers, rock climbers and hang gliders.  It is also possible to drive a steep, winding road to the summit.  There are overlooks providing spectacular views of the surroundings.  Above, Mount Baker presides over the North Cascades, Padilla Bay and the oil refineries on March's Point.


The morning of my visit to the summit was chilly, below freezing with patchy fog in some areas.  Looking northwest, Burrows Island and the Skyline neighborhood of Anacortes can be seen.  Beyond are the San Juan Islands.


An interesting sign on the road to the summit warms visitors of owl attacks during the early morning and evening hours.  Perhaps these are the original "angry birds."  I was spared their wrath during this visit.  A pair of transmission towers crowns the summit of Mount Erie.


To the east, the peaks of the North Cascades can be seen through lifting fog.


Finally, looking southeast is Skagit Bay which is my neighborhood.  Lake Campbell is in the foreground.  As we approach the winter solstice,  the low sun just out of view to the right is wreaking havoc with the camera.  Look carefully at the horizon towards the right.  I believe the peak barely visible in the fog is Mount Rainier, 118 miles/190 km away.  This is yet another attempt to get a really great photo of this view.  I guess I will need to keep trying.

Comments

  1. Your photos are always so beautiful! Exotic, far away lands....

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