Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Little Mountain Hike With Spencer Jack Seeing Real Non-Fort Worth Type Islands

Yesterday Spencer Jack took me on a hike up Little Mountain in my old Mount Vernon hometown.

Little Mountain is a little mountain which is within Mount Vernon's city limits.

Little Mount Vernon has a park like Little Mountain near its downtown, whilst the little town I currently call home, Fort Worth, has a park near its downtown called the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Having been in both town's parks I can tell you that Mount Vernon's Little Mountain Park is much more natural than Fort Worth's Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Well, there are those hang gliders who launch from the top of Little Mountain. That is not too natural.

No hang gliding was taking place on Little Mountain yesterday, due to weather related issues in the Skagit Valley and all of Western Washington, with those weather related issues causing large bodies of water to stand where usually there is not water. We shall see some of that documented in the photos which follow.

Above we are behind Spencer Jack, looking slightly northwest. That water you see in the distance is not the result of flooding. It is saltwater. Padilla Bay, I think. Near where I first met Spencer Jack, over six years ago, at Bay View State Park.

In the next picture we have zoomed in for a closer look.

In the foreground above you are looking at I-5. That straight line across the flooded land is the railroad track which on the left heads towards Seattle and on the right heads towards Canada. The land which you see on the other side of Padilla Bay is Fidalgo Island. Fidalgo Island is a real island, not an imaginary island of the sort that grows in Fort Worth. Fidalgo Island is where you will find the town of Anacortes and Spencer Jack's restaurant, the Fidalgo Drive-In. Click the link and you will soon see Spencer Jack with a root beer float.

In the next picture we are looking at another island in the distance.

That lump in the distance is known as Lummi Island. The Lummi are a Pacific Northwest Native American Tribe. The Lummi's Tribal Lands are on the mainland north of Lummi Island. A ferry will take you from the mainland to Lummi Island. Lummi Island is also a real island, not a Fort Worth style imaginary island. In other words, no ferry will be needed to take you to any of Fort Worth's imaginary islands.

Below is a section from informational signage about Mount Vernon's Forest Reserve Little Mountain Park. There are a couple things I found interesting about the information on this sign.

One thing I thought to be interesting was the fact that the sign is bi-lingual, both in English and Spanish. Now in Texas one would expect signage to be bi-lingual, what with Texas being so close to Mexico and once having been Mexico. Mount Vernon is only about 40 miles south of the Canadian border. If a Mount Vernon sign was going to be bi-lingual one would think the information would be in both English and Canadian. Or French.

However, just like Texas, the Skagit Valley, and Mount Vernon, has a large number of former Mexican nationals and their descendants, who have long lived in the Skagit Valley. Way more Mexican-Americans live in the Skagit Valley than Canadian-Americans. I do not think I ever knew a single Canadian-American whilst growing up in the Skagit Valley. I knew many Mexican-Americans.

The other bit of information on this sign, which I found interesting, was something you would never read on a Fort Worth sign in a Fort Worth park. That which I found interesting is in the first paragraph on the sign. I will copy that paragraph in its entirety. See if you can spot that which one would never read on a Fort Worth sign.

At its founding in 1877, Mount Vernon stood in a vast forest of giant trees. The idea of saving areas for public enjoyment would have seemed crazy then. But later, when the popular Carpenter Creek area was cut, the need became clear. On January 16, 1924, citizens of Mount Vernon voted overwhelmingly for the city to buy a park site.

Did you spot the part you would never read on a Fort Worth park sign?

Citizens voting on something to improve their city. What a revolutionary concept. A real vote, not a childish make believe vote, like having voters vote on Three Propositions with those propositions being things like voting to approve charging $1 to rent a livestock stall, rather than a straight up vote on whether or not to build a small arena for almost a half billion bucks.

I wonder where Spencer Jack is going to take me hiking next? A hike to the top of Goose Rock in Deception Pass State Park used to be one of my favorite things to do. Goose Rock is also on a real island.

To get to Goose Rock one takes a short drive west, to Fidalgo Island, crossing to Fidalgo Island on a bridge which spans the Swinomish Channel. That bridge was built over water in far less than four years.

One continues on Fidalgo Island, driving by Lake Campbell, which has an island in the center of the lake. One of the world's rare instances of an island on an island. Again, real islands, not Fort Worth type imaginary islands.

A short distance past Lake Campbell one comes to another bridge, Deception Pass Bridge, it being one of the Pacific Northwest's iconic images, built in less than a year, over very deep, swift moving water, back in the early 1930s.

Deception Pass Bridge takes you to Whidbey Island. Yet one more real island. The trail which leads to the top of Goose Rock begins at the south end of Deception Pass Bridge. From the summit of Goose Rock you can look in just about any direction and spot a lot of islands, some big, some small, none imaginary....

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