Sunday, April 08, 2012
Camano Head lies at the southeastern tip of Camano Island and rises more than 300' from the beach. Not unlike Possession Head at the south end of Whidbey Island, Camano Head is marked by a large, deep landslide complex. The bench is heavily forested and looked broad enough for a small, but very scenic, subdivision (The Homes on Undercliffe?). Finer grained silts and clays ledge out on the beach near low tide. Some dip landward, suggesting they lie within the toe of the deep-seated slide.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the place seemed pretty benign, but it has not always been so. Tulalip accounts describe a major landslide in the early 1800s, one that generated a tsunami that reached Hat (Gedney) Island more than two miles to the south, with devastating consequences (History Link, or check a short piece I wrote a number of years ago, The Fall of Camano Head, pp 13-14).
There were no shortage of neat geologic and geomorphic features to check out -- but the tide was starting to come back up and I head to head back. The beaches heading north on both sides of the island are wonderfully sinuous, likely reflecting the shape of the steep submarine topography. The bluffs northwest of Camano Head are not quite as dramatic, but contained many more slides, some beautiful exposures of a gravel-rich till (pre-Vashon, I believe), and a few beach cabins precariously perched atop seawalls at the bottom of the bluffs.