Sunday, June 19, 2016

#Erosion on the Switchbacks

As we were hiking down the switchbacks at the end of East End Road last week, we came across a gully that was deeper than the last time we'd been down that way. Aurora's comment was, "hashtag erosion." Little did she realize just how much erosion has been happening on the cliffs past the switchbacks. Her comment struck me as such a modern way of saying what has been happening for thousands of years. What amazed me the most about the erosion along those cliffs is that I thought of them as so stable because they haven't been eroding at the rate of the cliffs near Homer. And there hasn't been that much rain in recent months, but as we walked the beach, it occurred to me that the erosion had likely happened over this past winter during the nonstop rain we got for months (which at elevation was snow).

Here are a few pictures of the changed landscape in the few miles along the beach at the bottom of the switchbacks.

A large section of the hillside slumped off onto the beach

Another section of cliff gone, with alders littering the beach

A coal seam peeking out of the beach

The coal seam continues, with the bottom of the cliff crumbling away above

The coal seam rises out of the beach and into the cliffside

One of my favorite parts of hiking this beach:  the fascinating layers of geology evident

The different layers stand out in stark contrast

Piles of pebbles at the base of the cliff are new. Pebbles continued to fall even on this dry day.

The beach isn't quite as easy to drive now with alder carcasses crossing the once-relatively smooth surface

I admire this wild rose for making the best of a tough place!

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