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03 August, 2009

Cypress Bound!

Cypress Island lies at the eastern and of the San Juans, and 95% or so is owned by the state and managed as a natural area. It's one of those places like Nualolo, Kaluakoi, or Kona that hooked me, and will reel me back in from time to time for the rest of my life. A generation ago, I figured I'd travel all over the world, but instead I go visit the same few patches again and again. This is my happy fate: a life tethered to a few of earth's finest places.
Vancouver's expedition stopped here and picked strawberries in the 1790s, naming the place Cypress despite their being a botanist aboard and absence of cypress ashore. Then in the 1860s or so, white guys started showing up to stay, a couple managing to drown before a minor wave of Scandanavian-Americans married women from local tribes and managed to learn how to live the local way. The population never got beyond a grew dozen, and although the place has been logged, mined, and farmed, the unschooled eye can mistake recovering nature for undisturbed nature. Nobody lives there now, and the mansion we stayed in last year was razed ahead of environmental restoration. Now there's a comfy little house.

Scary earthquakes thrust this chunk of mantle rock to the surface long ago, and I'm banking on the process not repeating over the next week of surveying, checking in on archaeology unvisited for decades, and spending some time on a kayak looking for underwater sites. The water's too cold and I'm too chicken to dive, so just the upper fathom or three is all I'll see, but that ought to be enough to break the archaeolgical record of this place outside its ridiculous land-locked cage.
The photos are both from a trip last year. August could be sunny and hot, foggy and cool, but always good.

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