Hiking in Moran State Park: #6, Twin Lakes to North Arch

Length: 5.75 miles. Duration: 2-1/2 hours. Steep downhill, gradual uphill.

While Elliott and fellow volunteer Darlene were off consuming signpost2-smoysters yesterday (fresh, briny little buggers that he reports were delicious), I set off on a hike that was partly already-traversed territory (Summit to Twin Lakes and Cold Springs) and partly new (North Arch area).

Despite being on a 57-square-mile island, the only long-range views 2015-08-20 17.25.41of this loop were at the end of the hike. The ripples and currents in the water called for yet one more photo of an ever-changing landscape. These are the views that make you feel like a tiny speck of dust in a giant windstorm, a single mindless drop in an ocean of the same.

The rest of the hike was what I had expected when we decided to head to the Northwest: old trees, mossy landscapes, narrow paths. These views are the more close-in ones, the ones where you are just yet one more example of a

A mossy narrow path, with moss-covered stones on both sides of the trail.
A mossy narrow path, with moss-covered stones on both sides of the trail.
moss-covered stones cascading down to a narrow stream
moss-covered stones cascading down to a narrow stream

vast landscape of beings and plants. As my hikes get further out from the tourist centers (the lakes, the tower), I encounter fewer people and more mysteries.

Mysteries like the circle of stones with a stone cross bisecting the

A circle of moss-covered, lichen-buried stones--and a big mystery
A circle of moss-covered, lichen-buried stones–and a big mystery

circle. Who put these rocks here? Why? When? And mysteries of the two burned trees about ten feet apart–but nothing else had burned near them. [A digression: Some native pine trees require burning to propagate. Unfortunately, controlled burns are discouraged here, for various reasons: There are old growth stands it would be a shame to lose. Some of the second-growth trees are some 150-200 feet tall, and fire would spread uphill rapidly. Fire breaks would be near impossible to create. Rather than even attempt a controlled burn, apparently the state legislature at some time in the past redefined “old growth” to include younger trees, thereby making it politically (environmentally, economically, legally) difficult to get public support for such an attempt. I wonder if it would be possible to select a few trees, cut them off at some lower defined height, station a dozen or so people with fire extinguishers around, and burn the stumps, giving Mother Nature its necessary burn but preserving the trees around them. Maybe? Who knows–not me.]

The edge of the square hole in the middle of Moran State Park
The edge of the square hole in the middle of Moran State Park

Part of this hike borders a 23-acre square “hole” in the middle of Moran State Park that is the site of a private antenna farm visible for miles around the area, from Vancouver in the north to the Olympic range in the south (including Mount Rainier). Signs on the trail warn you when you are leaving the park, discouraging unwanted visitors. Deer, however, have no compunction about disregarding the signs, and I spotted one drinking from a pond that was probably just inside the restricted area.

One of the reasons for these hikes is to stay in running shape. I’m not sure it’s working–I’m averaging about 30-minute miles, but I am getting aerobic workouts. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see how I do when I get back to the flatlands.

And a humorous addendum for all of you patient readers who have made it this far:

If I fart in the wilderness, does it make a sound?

Assuredly, yes. Mine must be like bull moose mating calls or something. I stop and listen to birdsong, squirrel noises, and leaves rustling, assuring myself I’m the only one there. But inevitably, as soon as I let loose, someone appears. Yesterday it was a trail runner coming from the switchback path above me. The hike before that, it was at a trail intersection I hadn’t known was there until I reached it–and saw the group of hikers silently parading by not fifteen feet from where I was–silently being the operative word, and which I was definitely not. Deadly is still under debate.

This is extremely embarrassing. I know part of it is due to a healthy (as in lots of beans and rice) diet, some is lactose intolerance, some is age, and some is, well, a lack of muscle control. Being new to this extravagant abundance of gas means that I’ve never figured out how to time such things or how to postpone them. They just happen.

But there is a plus side: If ever I fall off a cliff while hiking in Moran State Park, one toot and someone will arrive to summon the EMTs.

 

Voyeurs much?

This post is a shout-out to others living as nomads, especially any of you who have done the volunteer park host, docent, or light house “keeper” thing:

So, I glanced up the other day to see a guy with binoculars six feet in front of our motor home, smiling like a jack-o-lantern, and gazing in our front windscreen with his field glasses!

How do you deal with the curiosity of the public near your home? Ok, it’s a camp site, but home is home…is where you hang your hat… and where the heart is…AND, HEY, YOU! THIS IS WHERE I LIVE!! BEAT IT!!!!!

From the very first day here, some visitors to Mt. Constitution have had a tendency to wander all around our camp site, which is the one and only hook-up here. It’s a no-camping, day-use only part of the park, and we’ve got a little sign out there that reads, ‘SUMMIT HOSTS – ANN & ELLIOTT’.  There are also saw-horses, and a polite sign which reads, ‘PLEASE DON’T BLOCK RV SITE’.  Most people do “get it” that, “Hey, that must be a residency”, and they respect the boundary.

But for a certain kind of person, every boundary is a challenge to their special entitlement to violate it. The first few times these dweebs would really raise my hackles, but with the passing days here, I’m considerably more relaxed about it, if no less disgusted by these creeps. I’ve learned to see the humor in their absurd conceit. If I have “the drop” on them, it’s kind of fun to suddenly pop into view.  Like ambush journalist Mike Wallace barging into the corrupt politician’s office, bang! There I am, all alligator smiles, asking, “Are you lost? Can I be of assistance?”.

In fairness, sometimes they really are just disoriented, and in dire need of the restroom. Those people I cheerfully help and guide along.  But the voyeurs will blanch with shame: They’ve been caught peeping in your windows, and they know… that you know… what they were really up to…AND what they are. It’s kind of wonderful to see them stammer, “Uh, no, … good-bye.”  And off they slink!

Well played, Elliott… well played!  😀

Notes from Orcas Island: Geronimo!

This little journey to Orcas Island, and experimenting with unemployment, early retirement, call it what you will, started without much planning. To say that the sudden decision to take three months of unpaid leave from my career was spontaneous is a major understatement. One minute, I was blithely puttering around the house, the next I was searching Craig’s List for a cheap motor home in the Pacific Northwest. How do these changes happen? Or perhaps better to ask, “Why?”.

We have met a number of people who live and travel full time over the past several years, and that life holds a certain allure for me. Many of these modern gypsies are in retirement, but not all. The young people who work and travel constantly are the most interesting of them. When it’s time to retire, it’s easy to think of selling the “farm” and hitting the road, but for younger people the point is that “farms” never held any appeal in the first place. Nomads don’t imagine that they should ever cling to one permanent home, but feel at home as they travel. They are “permanent transients”, to borrow Edward Albee’s phrase from ‘The Zoo Story’, but joyously so. They do bond and form communities, both with people fixed in space, but also with other nomads with whom they crisscross paths over and again.  They’ve acquired skills that allow them to earn and be productive where ever they are.

My work is doctoring people’s eyes, and as such hasn’t lent itself to wandering off so.  I did have earlier careers where frequent travel might have been the normal mode. I might have become an actor, or remained in the military, but those paths didn’t stick. Now I’m very close to setting the clinical work aside. bungieWould I want to live constantly in 90+ square feet, caring for the vehicle and its “life support” systems, and thinking ahead to the next port of call, the next vista? Maybe…  maybe not.

But whatever I learn, it will be from having sampled the nomad’s life for a time. It needed a leap from safety. A bungie-jump, if you will.

Geronimo!

Hiking Trails in Moran State Park: Hike #5, to Cascade Falls

Three days a week–Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays–it is my responsibility to pick up litter in the day use area down by Cascade Lake. This is a recent addition to my duties because two of the volunteer hosts had to leave for medical reasons, and so the remaining volunteers have divvied up all their tasks. Since I have to start my day at the gift shop on Tuesdays and at the learning center on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., that means I have to get down to Cascade Lake and back up here before that time–and it’s 4.3 or so miles each way, and normally takes four hours just to hike.

I could easily drive to the bottom–but we’re in a borrowed car and are trying not to kill its transmission by going up and down the steep road more often than once a week or so. So I’ve started hitching a ride with the ranger or park aide opening up here at 6:30 a.m., do my litter-picker-upper job, and hike back uphill via the Cold Springs Trail.

Yesterday, Elliott went with me–and since I didn’t have to work in casfalls1the gift shop, we had all day to hike. We stopped on the way down at a couple of abandoned mine shafts, where someone had gruesomely  placed a rabbit skull (Deer? Human?) on a stick at the entrance. Elliott bravely followed the shaft until it split in three directions and cave-smthen opted to return to me, waiting at the entrance and ready to flee at any moment for help, life, or backup (depending on what he found). Near the bottom we also found what has to be one of the largest trees in the park, though the tree-smmajority of them are to be found near Mount Pickett–a hike for a different day.

It takes about an hour to pick up litter at the beach, the parking lots, and the picnic areas. Although most people are considerate and dispose of their trash, there are sometimes those who simply leave their tables littered with used cups, paper plates, paper ice cream dishes, the remains of a dozen or so crabs, and so forth. Grrrr! Cigarette butts abound in the parking lot, presumably where someone waited for errant family members to arrive. The worst litter is the fruit sticker, since it gloms itself on to pavement, tables, grass, etc. Many people do stop me and thank me, and it does feel good to leave the area looking much better, so I guess I won’t complain too much about the few.

After dumping the litter in trash cans, we took the Cascade Loop trail to Cascade Falls, where there are actually four waterfalls: casfalls5Rustic, Cavern, Cascade, and Hidden Falls, all found within about a half-mile of the trail. Cascade Falls is the tallest, at over 40 feet, and the highest in the San Juan Islands. During the course of our hike to Mountain Lake, the path followed the stream–and we found several other, unnamed but equally enchanting, waterfalls. We also found casfalls2trail riders and a banana slug.

At that point, nearly nine miles into our hike, we called it quits and hitched a ride to the top with Gary, one of the park employees. Facing the last five miles–most of them a steep incline–on a by-now empty stomach was more than we could bear. Still, we’re well on our way to covering all 38 miles of hiking trails in Moran State Park.

Whale watching in the San Juan Islands

This was on Ann’s bucket list for our adventure as summit hosts here on Orcas Island. I was encouraging her to go, but hanging back for my own part at the expense. Then we found a hefty online discount for a tour boat out of North Beach, conveniently close to East Sound  just below Moran State Park.DSC_7854 It was such a good discount that we were a bit leery, but Outer Island Expeditions proved to be very capable, with fast comfortable boats and enthusiastic, well informed guides.

After the safety briefing, we were divided into two groups, and boarded onto some VERY fast boats. We were on our way, streaking north into Canadian waters. Our sister craft was smaller, lighter, and a bit faster, and took off ahead of us. Our craft had a larger group, and better shelter from the elements, which we greatly appreciated on the return run, chasing the sunset.DSC_7994

We saw many, many orcas whales in the island channels, but also some lovely lighthouses, and a number of interesting ships. A Canadian destroyer was working its way south past us, as well as several British Columbia ferries. DSC_7878The whale watching traffic kept a respectful distance from the pods of orcas, and their good manners were monitored by a Canadian wildlife Mountie. Our group was a delightful set of people, with the occasional exception of one lady who kept nagging our captain to “get closer”. With good grace, he explained that we were as close as was healthy for the whales, and to avoid a $10,000 fine. DSC_7870 Eventually she gave it a rest, and we got back to tracking parallel to the whales as they fed and played very close to the rocky shorelines.

The straits between these islands were close, and heavily trafficked, and at one point a pair of huge ferries appeared to be on a collision course. DSC_7939 They slipped past each other with perfect grace, giving us a spectacular show. I imagined that the din of their engines was a constant annoyance to the whales. Another close encounter yieldedDSC_7982 a great photo of a beautiful sailboat passing on our left.

However, the whales were first and foremost the main attraction.  Here are the best shots I was able to bring home, using a borrowed Nikon D-80 and a 70-200 mm zoom telescopic lens. (The camera body belongs to our neighbor Lori. Thanks, Lori, for making these pictures happen!)

DSC_7880DSC_7892DSC_7899DSC_7933DSC_7975DSC_7984DSC_7986DSC_8018DSC_8021DSC_8026

 

We had a considerable distance to travel as the sun got low, but our guides took the time to stop as they spotted sea lions swimming in the channel, and enjoying a late sunbath on some rock outcroppings ashore. DSC_8020The sunset was becoming spectacular, and the light it cast on a number of retired island light houses was splendid. DSC_8052We passed by the Patos Island light house, which was the last manned lighthouse in the United States when it was automated in 1974. DSC_8053We’ve heard that it is still occupied by volunteer hosts who provide tours in season. 🙂

It was time to make tracks for our harbor at North Sound, and the guides sped south with the sun dancing with the wake. Ann gamely rode in the stern for the view, DSC_8039with the wind and spray, and so did I for most of the ride. DSC_8036The light shifted from golden to blood red as the boat throttled back into the no-wake zone leading into the channel at Smugglers’ Bay.

It was a perfect outing. We were so pleased with the cheerful professionalism of the guides, and the company of our boat-mates. A bit chilled, but happy with the day, we went looking for dinner.

DSC_8058

Hikes #3 and 4: Mount Constitution to Cold Springs to Cascade Lake

Length: 9.17 miles. Time: 4 hours plus the time it takes to devour one dish of sorbet

Elliott and I completed the descent along Moran State Park’s Little Summit Trail from Mount Constitution to Cold Springs a couple of days ago, and it was by far the easiest (so far) of our hikes. It’s a mile and a half from the summit to the Cold Springs picnic area, where explorers can find a spring next to an old well.

Bat research
Bat research

There’s not much to see at Cold Springs–well, other than, you know, your typical enchanted green forest, mossy hillsides, and Mother Nature at her finest. There’s also a bat project there that Elliott’s been tangentially involved with. The area comes alive once people leave (or stop talking), with birds be-bopping around, squirrels chittering, and presumably bats doing their sonar thing.

The next hike, a day or so later, I followed that same path but continued on downhill past Cold Springs, where the trail begins a

1972 windstorm
1972 windstorm

steep descent switchbacking toward Cascade Lake. Here is strong evidence of the windstorm that struck Moran State Park in 1972. Some of the upraised root structures look like nightmarish monsters. Unfortunately, since then, many of the second-growth Douglas fir trees have become infected with laminated root rot—perhaps as many as one in four trees, the rangers estimate. Part of that is also due to the stress the trees are under from the drought, as evidenced by the cascade of dry pine needles that descend on my head in a gentle breeze. A major cleanup effort in 2011 eliminated the worst cases of the root rot, but it is still prevalent. Thousands of western red cedar and

monster in the woods--can you see the eyes staring back?
monster in the woods–can you see the eyes staring back?

lodgepole pine—native trees that are not as susceptible to root rot—have been started and will be transplanted to the areas hardest hit by the fungus.

One of the plants I was hoping to find was the phosphorescent fungus I remember from Girl Scout camp days. I found several fungi that looked similar, but since it was daylight I couldn’t quite tell if they were what I was looking for. Apparently, nearby Shaw Island is alive with bioluminescent critters, as shown in this (slightly reimaged) amazing photograph by Floris von Breugel.

A pileated woodpecker showed no concern as I traipsed along the path, nor did a squirrel happily munching a pinecone. I didn’t see any

Can you find the woodpecker?
Can you find the woodpecker?

deer, though their tracks were all around. I met a few hardy souls hiking up as I went down, and ran into them again as I was huffing and puffing uphill and they were sprinting down. But my plans to do this in the mornings in order to pick up litter at the lake before going on duty at 11 at the top have been moved to the category of “Dream on,” because that would entail hiking down in the dark, something not for my cautious feet.

I see a grumpy face in this one.
I see a grumpy face in this one.
1972 windstorm
1972 windstorm
1972 windstorm
1972 windstorm

 

Nurse tree
Nurse tree
fungus
fungus
Holy research project, Batman!
Holy research project, Batman!

Volunteering at the Gift Shop

One of my jobs as a volunteer host is to fill in at the Summit Gift Shop, high atop Mt. Constitution and across the dead-end loop from the Summit Learning Center where Elliott and I spend our weekends. The gift shop is open daily, 11–4, and is the primary way the Friends of Moran State Park (FOM) earn funds, 100% of which go to helping the park and its volunteers.

My favorite t-shirt
My favorite t-shirt

The gift shop is two-room cabin located in an old 8’ x 10’ forestry shed built–like so many of the structures in the park–by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. FOM sells a variety of souvenirs as well as chips, candy bars, and kettle corn from the building. Unlike most touristy sorts of venues that sell cheap kitsch, most of FOM’s are exclusive to the area and appropriate to a state park.

One of the best things about working in the gift shop is that I get to interact with the public–which, after a couple of days of being hermit-like in our RV and all of our nights of solitude, is a welcome relief. I like knowing where people are from, why they are here, and so forth. Perhaps that’s just another way of being snoopy, but chatting with visitors makes the day go by quickly.

The weather has been exceptionally warm (I wouldn’t go so far as to say hot, though some of the locals do) and dry, despite the little bit of drizzle we had a few days ago, and that means that we’ve had a larger number of visitors. Yesterday’s view of Mt. Baker was obscured by haze and rumors of a forest fire, but that didn’t seem to stop visitors from driving, biking, and hiking to the top.

The bicyclists are amazing, riding all the way to the top of a 4.7-mile incline from sea level to 2400 feet. Most drivers know to share the narrow two-lane road with bicyclists and are aware that a slower bicycle might be lurking around the next hairpin switchback, though we’ve seen a few drivers (and a few younger bicyclists) who seem oblivious to the dangers. Every once in a while a bicyclist takes a spill, usually while going downhill at excessive speeds (in my book, defined as over 12 mph, but I’m a chicken when it comes to high speeds on a two-wheeled vehicle).

2-smallHikers are easily identified by footwear and sweat. Later today I plan on doing the hike to the bottom and back up again (the opposite of most hikers), so more details on that later.* Particularly impressive are the families–sometimes with kids as young as 8 or 10–who arrive at the summit still full of energy, racing each other to the top of the tower. Trail runners are particularly remarkable, as the loose stones, high roots, and fallen trees have to be taken into account. Some of them are training for the triathlon to be held here on Labor Day Weekend–and there will definitely be more about that later too.

* I hiked Mt. Constitution to Cascade Lake, bought a sorbet, and climbed back to the top by way of the Cold Springs trail–four hours, sore muscles, and a hole in my dirty, stinky socks…but I’m glad I did it.

Zen and the Art of Living Small

Zen mastery is achieved through alert meditation, and sometimes aided by a sharp whack from the teacher’s Keisaku.

Keisaku
Keisaku

When the student becomes drowsy or loses concentration the teacher will remedy the inattention with a flat stick, judiciously applied, called the Keisaku.

Living in “miniature”,  as we do in this small motor home also requires alert concentration. There is a meditative quiet in sharing quarters so closely. Ann and I sit at our respective sides of the dining “desk”, writing or reading, with only the whir of computer fans and the tapping of our keyboards stirring the air.

There can be a balletic grace in coordinating our movements about this space. The thoughtful shift of a foot or knee, a willowy bending or side-slip when passing in the aisle, with a whispered brushing of buttocks, and dinner gets prepared, the groceries find their way into the pantry, a buzzing fly is dispatched, they laundry gets folded, and the day unfolds just so.

However, lose one’s concentration, become distracted and forgetful proceeding in HASTE,  and we will quickly be schooled by our  Zen teacher with a sharp rap to the head, knee, or toe. The motor home itself is both  Master and Keisaku.

Our good friends, Chris and Cherie , once wrote about the difficulties of living and travelling in another small motor home, aptly named by Winnebago “The Le’Sharo”. lesharoThey were amused to find its name described the Fulani tribal custom, SHARO, of whacking errant students with a stick to improve their performance.

Would it surprise you, dear reader, to learn that the Le’Sharo they were driving is our OTHER rv?  I am here to report that this American Clipper is continuing the tradition. Zen-Garden-smThe knots on my head are proof of it. However, I like to think of them as  small pebbles in the expanding Zen garden of my quiet and more concentrated mind, living small, atop a mountain.

East Sound Fly-In at ORS: A stroll among my tribe

Orcas Island’s airport (ORS) hosts an annual fly-in every August, hosted by EAA Chapter 937.  Ann and I visited yesterday evening. These island airports are busy with smaller aircraft, as  package carriers (UPS, FedEx) fly parcels in at ORS using single engine Cessna Caravans . The largest plane I’ve seen was a Lear jet.

On any given summer weekend, you can find fly-in campers at this airfield, with tents pitched next to their aircraft in the grass tie-down area. The field is very hospitable to the backpack flyers, and has provided a restroom with a hot shower (donation encouraged). It’s charming to see one or two of these planes tied down with a colorful nylon tent pitched under the wing.

Camping year ’round is very laid back for a general aviation airport, but ORS goes one better: A few of the aircraft owners have set up their hangars as ad hoc get-away “cabins”, with the means to fix a meal, or comfortably pass a night in.

It’s a busy airport in its own right, but the annual Fly-In fills the field up with numerous beautiful and some rare birds, as well as an enthusiastic crowd of pilots and co-pilots. Tents are everywhere, and confabs of flyers gabbing in circles of folding canvas camp chairs in-between them. Four guys from an EAA chapter east of Tacoma sat in the midst of their Vans home-built project planes (three RV-4s and an RV-10), sharing salsa with tequila shots. korsflyin-small  I traded jokes with them, and was offered a shot in turn (cheerfully declined), and bite of salsa (peppery and piquant). Strolling with Ann among the gathered pilots, it occurred to me that these people were one of my natural social tribes. I could understand and appreciate the eavesdropped conversations, and could comfortably join in on many of them.

A barbecue buffet was offered for a very reasonable donation in one of the open house hangars, and we feasted on cheese burgers, sides and salad. orcashangarWe hunkered down with paper plates piled high, sharing our table with a old flyer from San Juan Island . He spoke of learning to fly between these islands 50 years ago, landing and taking off from pastures more often than from runways.

All in all, I’m very glad we chanced upon the annual Fly-In for its first evening. We lucked into a warm and gracious meal among strangers who, through the common interest of planes and flying,  weren’t really strangers at all.

 

 

Typical Day at the Learning Center

The Summit Learning Center (SLC) is open from 11 to 4 Friday through Monday, other days as can be arranged. Wednesday this week was cold and drizzly–in the low 50s at the top–yet dozens of bicyclists and far more hikers than I imagined had venture out in the weather and arrived at the top, cold, wet, and euphoric. At 10:45, faced with the decision to sit in a cramped RV all day or open the learning center where coffee and heat are found, I decided to open up and put the bikers and hikers out of their smug misery.

The SLC’s budget may never be the same. Coffee, hot chocolate, and tea were in (pun intended) hot demand, and directions to the “shortest way back to…” hikes were requested. Thankfully, I’d hiked both trails leading to/from the SLC, so the questions were easily answered. The supply of cups and hot chocolate were not so easily extended. Still, at least so far in our one week of hosting, that day was fairly typical.

2015-08-08 12.51.32Darlene is the usual Friday and Moday interpretive host, and she is the creative person behind most of the signs and artwork around the center. She, along with Doug (whom we replaced as on-site “interpretive host”), are also the bat specialists, and Doug does all-things-electronic. There used to be a tank of Kokanee fry to educate visitors about the fish hatchery at the base of the mountain as well as a display of live newts, but both have been discontinued as the tiny environments were deemed stressful to the temporary residents. The plan is to create a “bat cam” that will show bats in their natural habitat, without disturbing them (see Elliott’s post on bats (and if I did this right, that should link to his excellent article).

Most of the five hours of hosting duties is spent answering questions, such as:

  •  Why is Mount Constitution called Constitution?

Because Robert Moran, the man who donated the land for the state park, named it after the USS Constitution. He made his fortune as a shipbuilder.

  • How high is Mount Constitution?

Depending on which geologic survey you ask, anywhere between 2398 and 2409 feet. The latest and probably most accurate is the 2398 figure.

  • Why are female eagles bigger than males (in response to a question on the wall)?

Nobody knows for sure, but consensus seems to be evolving around the fact that females spend more time on the nest than males after the chicks are born, and baby eagles don’t yet have the ability to regulate their temperature, so mama eagle hovers and provides the warmth they need for the first two weeks or so.

Thankfully, there’s a computer at the center, so if something else comes up I can Google it, such as “What are the caves on the trail and where do they lead? Do they have bears here?” (Mine shafts and no, respectively.)

There’s also a coloring and treasure hunt station. The SLC has a sheet of images that kids are supposed to find and then circle with a 2015-08-08 12.51.48crayon (a bird, a moth, grass, etc.). When completed (even partially), the child gets a prize. The best thing for kids is a “Journey Pack,” which includes binoculars, a magnifying glass, several books, and plant identification charts, and they can check out the pack, to be returned to the park office at the base a day or so later.

There’s also a 24-hour webcam showing the weather at the tower, updating every couple of minutes (currently cloudy, cold, and drizzly).

The SLC is operated by Friend of Moran State Park, a nonprofit volunteer organization. roganjones-smallThey also operate the gift shop across the way, and are the ones who arranged for us to be hosts here. All of their funds go to making Moran State Park a rewarding, enchanting, and educational resource for visitors.

 

 

 

…our word-window on the world.