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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Trivia about our mountain

Photo by Mac Womack
On old maps there's an Eastwood Mesa designation to the NW of our mountain, but no real mesa there. Ours is much more of a mesa but has no name on it. I've always wondered if it was Eastwood Mesa and mislabeled on the maps. (The Mount Williams on this map is the mountain directly south of my house.)

During an earthquake around 1995, I just happened to be in my underground guesthouse. It sounded like a freight train rolling over but as soon as I raced outside, it was quiet except for some huge boulders rolling down the mountain.

I hadn't really intended to purchase the mountain, but got pressured into it when a land schemer was going to buy it and sell 100 undivided interests online. That sounded like a nightmare to me. At one time in its history it had been donated to the Nature Conservancy. They sold it sight unseen. My sister and I pooled our money to buy the land. After we owned it, we built crude trails up it.

Peregrine Falcons and Lucifer Hummingbirds nest there every year. A few relict Mexican Blue Oaks still grow on it in spots.

. There are acres of these scrubby Gray Oaks on top

The mountain itself is mostly rhyolite, which is like a fine grained granite. It's growing by about an inch per year.* Where the rocks slide up it leaves a shiny surface called "slickensides." Here is one from our mountain.

In geology, a slickenside is a smoothly polished surface caused by frictional movement between rocks along the two sides of a fault. This surface is normally striated in the direction of movement.

At one time there was volcanic activity associated with the mountain. As a result there are patches of gray slag-type rock mixed in. There are also a few veins of ochre-colored jasper. I'm sure at one time in distant prehistory it was forested. And maybe at the bottom of an ocean millions of years ago.

My sisters have named the mountain Turtle Mountain because from a certain angle, to them, it looks like a turtle.

Today, it makes a lovely backdrop for the oasis.

I'm getting around without a cane this afternoon. Serviced feeders and had to put out almost 3 gallons of sugar water to be sure it would last for 3 days. And watered the trees in triple-digit heat. I sprinkled myself liberally a time or two to keep cool. Feels good to be caught up for a few days. Now maybe I can rest.

* I read this in a geology book many years ago and now am questioning the accuracy so trying to locate the source. Take this with a grain of salt until I can find confirmation.


  1. I am so glad you and your sister bought it. And that you are walking without a cane. I love geology (a late love in life) so was interested to read about your mountain. An inch per year seems pretty fast!

  2. Thank you! I'm glad you love geology and enjoyed the trivia. It is funny how the mountain looks rather boring, like it's been there just like that forever and ever, yet almost has a life of its own.