by Aaron Chava
AmeriCorps Interpretive Naturalist
Decpetion Pass State Park
Goose Rock Glacial Striations
Imagine, if you will, that all of Deception Pass State Park is covered by a massive glacier. We’re talking about a 3,000 foot tall block of ice and frozen rocks. That’s nearly 5 Seattle Space Needles stacked on top of each other.
Like a beast leaving claw marks in the ground long after it’s gone, the glacier leaves behind plenty of evidence to show where it went. It gathers and carries rock as it goes, and drags them for thousands of miles, digging into the earth, carving out grooves and sandpapering down stone. These characteristic scratchings are known as glacial striations.
Goose Rock is one of the only places on Whidbey Island where you can see (and feel!) this scratched up bedrock. The breathtaking views are just a bonus– and the short but steep hike up might take your breath away too! These photos are from the summit, but if you’re looking for an extra challenge, see if you can find another example of glacial striations on your way up or down the Goose Rock Summit trail.
Gazing out over Cranberry Lake or down at the rocks beneath your feet, you can get swept away by the vastness of what has happened here. In the 11,000 years since the glacier retreated, so much and yet so little has changed. Tenacious plants now grow from the tiniest patches of soil, moss clings to any surface it can find, and tree roots tangle with stone. How long do you think it took for enough soil to accumulate before plants could grow here? What do you think Goose Rock will look like in another 11,000 years?
Stay tuned next month for the next Geology in the Park installment, where we’ll dive even farther back in time to the land before the glacier.