Showing posts from April, 2012

Gardens of Kukutali

For Earth Day, let's look at a very tiny piece of the earth.  I recently paid a return visit to the Kukutali Preserve, now a part of Deception Pass State Park.  Recall that it is a protected area in Skagit Bay that is owned jointly by the State of Washington and the Swinomish Tribal Community.  The Preserve includes Kiket and Flagstaff Islands, a rare pocket estuary, salt marsh and a connected property on Fidalgo Island.

From Fidalgo, visitors access Kiket Island by foot on a roadway over the tombolo.

The road crosses the island through a mature forest of Douglas Fir, Grand FirWestern Redcedar, Western Hemlock, Bigleaf Maple, Pacific Madrona and Red Alder.  The observant visitor might also spot a rare Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia), the original source of the cancer drug Taxol.

In a small meadow on a stone outcrop just off the road, we spotted the sporophytes of Awned Haircap Moss (Polytrichum piliferum).  Unlike many mosses, this one prefers a dry location.  The annual rainfal…

Skywatch Friday: Finally Spring

After months of La Niña gloom, wet and cold, this is the South Fidalgo Island view I remember.  On the last day of March, the same scene looked like this:

The Gibralter Road Landslide

This run-of-the-mill photo tells a story.  It is a view of Gibralter Road which runs along the south shore of Fidalgo Island.  A story is revealed by the left-tilting power pole, the meandering guard rail, the uneven road surface and possibly the tilting right-turn road sign.  The next power pole down the road tilts to the right which becomes more apparent further around the bend.

On December 30, 1990, I was rousted out of bed at 03:30 in the morning.  I found five members of the Mt. Erie Fire Department on my porch.  They explained that a landslide was underway and that it was urgent that I leave the house immediately.  I was instructed not to waste any time packing or preparing.  Just get dressed and get out.  Wow!

Like many, I presume, I thought a landslide was something that suddenly went ka-woosh.  Luckily, this one didn't.  Instead, it was a very slow and gradual movement of a piece of the earth that lasted several weeks.  It was more of a creep than a plummet.  The hump in…