Sometimes, having your plans fall through is the best possible thing. B and I headed up to Mount Baker yesterday to get you all some lovely volcano photos. Alas, the haze in the air was so thick you couldn't see across a small lake, so voluptuous volcanic vistas were not in the cards. The weather was cool enough for some Puget Lowland adventure, though, so we picked a park and went hiking.

We were lucky enough to discover Whatcom Falls Park, which is along short little Whatcom Creek. It's not at peak flow right now, so the waterfalls aren't as majestic as they are in other seasons. However, this is a prime time to see the geology of the stream bed. It is spectacular.

Look at all that beautiful sandstone! That's the Chuckanut Formation. This is delicious sand eroded off a majestic mountain massif and deposited peacefully in a serene coastal plain just over 50 million years ago. You can find neato fossils in it in places, though we didn't see any, sadface. Still. It's completely coolio without. I know you lot wanted volcanoes, but c'mon, sandstone waterfalls are still pretty great, right?

Image shows a rim of sandstone curving around into the shade. The waterfall is visible in the distant right.
The top of Whatcom Falls.

We walked all over the top, and inspected the gorgeous patterns left by erosion, such as the following:

Image shows a rim of sandstone carved in curvy patterns by water wearing holes in the stone. A thin sheet of water has turned it dark brown.
Sweet erosional patterns in the Chuckanut Formation atop Whatcom Falls.

There's a reason why there's still a half-decent water flow on this half of the falls: it looks like a pipe is bringing runoff from other areas, and creating its own lovely waterfall just up the bank.

Image shows a narrow but vigorous stream of water spilling down a forested bank from a pipe.
A pipeline waterfall.

So the waterfalls there are excellent, and there are several outstanding swimming holes that people seemed to be thoroughly enjoying. But the park has more to offer! Like this astoundingly interesting tree growing along a trail.

Image shows me standing beside a forked tree that had started growing sideways and is now growing up. It looks like a sculpture more than a tree.
Believe it or not, this tree is still alive.

There's a side trail to some overlook thingy, and as you're walking, you'll notice more and more abundant lumber in the trail. Then you get to the end, and you discover why: this is an old railroad bed, and the trestle is still there.

Image shows a decaying railroad bridge, nearly swallowed by the forest.
Bonza railroad bridge.

There's lots more to see - ponds, and wetlands, and you can make it all the way up to Lake Whatcom, where the creek originates. I'll show you those eventually, but let us fast-forward to the end of the day, when we went down to Marine Park to view the beautiful bay. Alas, the haze obscured the views by quite a lot, but we found lots of fascinating stuff on the beach. Like these barnacles growing on seaweed, of all things.

Image shows me holding a loop of seaweed that has tiny barnacles growing all over it. The water of the bay is in the background.
Barnacles on seaweed? WTF?!

Here's one more image, showing just how many barnacles were growing all over this thing: note they're attached all the way down the strip.

Image shows the full length of the bit of seaweed, the end of it streaming in the wind. Barnacles are attached all down its length.
Look to the bottom right: so many barnacles! Charles Darwin would be screaming with joy.

So it was a lovely day, despite the lack of volcanoes. We'll see what I can get for you explodey-wise tomorrow, but before you feel completely bereft of explosions, just keep in mind that Whatcom Creek kinda blew up due to a gasoline leak in 1999, so there's that. It was rather tragic, with three people killed, and damage to the stream that's still being repaired today.

Drat. That's a bit depressing. Let's hope we get some hawt volcanic action for you so that happiness can reign again.


Originally published at En Tequila Es Verdad.