[Tweeters] The Rusty Range

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Sep 14 21:58:42 PDT 2017

This afternoon I was down at Marine Science Center pier and the sky was clear enough for a great view of our local volcano Mt.Baker and in the early evening Westering sun the light showed a long rusty colored ridge in the foreground - an unusual color- standing out from other peaks and ridges.

This is the Twin Sister's Range. The "Twins" located on the north end of the range are the tallest , at 6600, and 7000' more or less.You can see them close-up from various spots around Bellingham.

The whole range is kind of a weird deal. It's mostly made up of Dunite, a hard green rock that weathers rusty - very solid stuff and excellent for rock climbing. The strangest thing is that this whole blob of Dunite was faulted up from very deep down-possibly from below the earths crust, from the earths mantle. I don't know if thats been proven yet, but if so, the range would be the largest hunk of exposed mantle in the Western hemisphere - a chunk about 10 by 6 miles.

Well, whatever , it's a pretty cool place anyway. Many moons ago, a friend and I climbed the North Twin - by the easy route which is mostly a big long snowfield with a bit of rock scrambling. I was scrambling ahead , when a Pine Marten popped up out of the rocks and checked me out- I still have the photo of it I took - with a 50mm lens, it was that close. This was at about 6000', just rock and snow.

Well we soon made it to the top, where we spent the night uncomfortably on the rocks - it was fairly calm but the clouds were moving around a bit, the nearby ridges playing hide-and-seek. Soon it was dark.

We woke up early to a glorious, and warming sunrise - the rusty glory of the whole range to be seen - the east side view was spectacular. And as like roosters will do at sunrise - the "Snow Chickens"- AKA Ptarmigan ,started calling from all the ridges in the calm air. They were all over - lots of them near and far. We saw nary a one, but hearing them all was even better.

I'd never heard a Ptarmigan before, and haven't since.

So next time your'e in Port Townsend on a clear day (fall will sharpen up the view) go down to Pt.Wilson late in the day - the low warm sunlight can really bring out the "Rusty Range". A very interesting place.

Jeff Gibson

rusting in,

Port Townsend Wa
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