Mile 204 Report

October 16, 2020
by Jon French

Driftwood Beach Wayside, Buckley Creek
Friday 1:30 PM
60° F
Tide Level:
7.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
Cars/Trucks parking:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
None, just a few gulls and crows.
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Small rocks·Animal casings (e.g. crab, shrimp molt)
Very little driftline content.
New Development:
No activity seen for OSU's PacWave wave energy project (see my previous reports).
Natural Changes:
Not new, but a couple of houses are close to the edge of a sand cliff.

The woman ahead of me on the path down to the beach from the Driftwood Wayside parking lot cried out "Yes! Yes! The beach!!!"  I don't know where she was from, but that's how beautiful it was today. I walked in the dunes looking at some of the driftwood for which the beach is named, old stumps and logs that have been deposited in the beach grass at the base of the cliffs. I counted tree rings ranging up to 110 years old, and these old logs were obviously not new to the beach. Driftwood Beach is very wide, and it's hard to visualize the kind of storm surges that must occur here. Where Buckley Creek flows onto the beach, in addition to the petroglyphs inscribed in the sand cliff, people have left little memorials to departed loved ones on a driftwood log next to the creek.  For when the wind blows, someone has reconstructed the nearby lean-to and added an entranceway. Despite the human traces, you'll almost certainly be alone here.

  • Driftwood Beach
    Driftwood Beach, looking south 15 miles to Cape Perpetua
    Mile 204, Driftwood Beach
    October 16, 2020
  • Surf Fishing, Driftwood Beach
    Surf Fishing, Driftwood Beach
    Mile 204, Driftwood Beach
    October 16, 2020
  • Driftwood in dunes
    Driftwood in dunes and beach grass
    Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • Driftwood log and rusted spikes
    Driftwood log and rusted spikes
    Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • Driftwood, 45 tree rings
    Driftwood log, 45 tree rings
    Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • Driftwood, 100 tree rings
    Driftwood log, 100 tree rings
    Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • Driftwood, 110 tree rings
    Driftwood log, 110 tree rings
    Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • Houses at edge of sand cliff
    Houses at edge of sand cliff
    North of Driftwood Wayside, Mile 204
    October 16, 2020
  • In Memoriam log, Buckley Creek
    In Memoriam log, Buckley Creek
    Mile 204, Buckley Creek
    October 16, 2020
  • New entranceway, Buckley Creek leanto
    New entranceway, Buckley Creek leanto
    Mile 204, Buckley Creek
    October 16, 2020
Other Mile 204 Reports (43)


December 3, 2021 - Jon French
I walked down to Driftwood Beach about an hour after the morning's King Tide. The water hadn't run up too high on the beach, but as always there was evidence of previous strong tidal surges--a...
  • Driftwood Beach after King Tide
  • Concrete block in the sand
  • Bull Kelp, mouth of Buckley Creek
  • Sloughing off of Buckley Creek sand bluff
  • Rope debris on beach
  • Black sands
  • At least it's nice graffiti
November 8, 2021 - Jon French
After the weekend's King Tides and wind, rain, sleet, hail, thunder and lightning, sun breaks, and beautiful cumulonimbus sunsets (with NOAA predicting 55 mph gusts for tonight), Driftwood Beach was...
  • Young gull squawking for mom nearby
  • Geese flying south over ocean
  • Geese overhead flying south
  • Entrance to Driftwood Beach from access path
  • Bull Kelp washed ashore
  • Bull Kelp mounds looking north towards Seal Rock
  • Continued erosion at Buckley Creek sand cliff
  • Underground conduit pipe, Driftwood Wayside
  • PacWave South construction at Wenger Lane, east of Highway 101
  • Underground conduit pip at Wenger Lane
September 20, 2021 - Jon French
The continued closure of Driftwood Wayside for OSU's PacWave wave energy testing project means that today's Mile 204 walk was more like three miles, with few people on the beach despite this being a...
  • Gull hanging out
  • Western Sandpipers, part of larger flock
  • Turkey Vultures scavenging California Sea Lion carcass
  • Turkey Vultures scavenging California Sea Lion carcass
  • Seabird carcass
  • Seabird remains
  • Seabird remains
  • Seaform green with organic matter after storm
  • PacWave construction work, Driftwood Wayside parking area
August 1, 2021 - Jon French
With the closure of the Driftwood Wayside parking area for construction of OSU's PacWave South wave energy testing project, hardly anyone was on the beach despite this being a beautiful summer...
  • Entrance to PacWave construction site, Driftwood Wayside
  • PacWave construction
  • PacWave construction
  • Seasonal summer beach dunes
  • Looking from beach to Driftwood Wayside access path 6/6/2020
  • Looking from beach to Driftwood Wayside access path, 2/13/2021
  • Looking from beach to Driftwood Wayside access path, 8/1/2021
  • Oxidation of iron in water, Buckley Creek
  • Driftwood and rocks, Buckley Creek
  • Semipalmated Plovers and Western Sandpipers
June 2, 2021 - Jon French
Construction has begun on OSU's PacWave South wave energy testing project at Driftwood Beach State Recreation Site (see my previous reports). The Driftwood parking lot is closed to vehicles, however...
  • Driftwood Beach looking towards Driftwood wayside parking lot
  • Shipping containers bordering Driftwood parking area
  • PacWave workers and construction cranes
  • Beach access path for local residents
  • Kinnikinnick flagged by PacWave
  • PacWave workers in fog flagging Driftwood Beach
  • Driftwood Wayside parking area
May 18, 2021 - Jon French
The Driftwood Wayside parking area is scheduled to close soon for construction of onshore infrastructure for PacWave South's long-planned wave energy testing project.  Driftwood Beach will still be...
  • Driftwood Beach from Driftwood Wayside, 1.25' tide level
  • PacWave South in-ground marker
  • Big log supporting Buckley Creek leanto 6-6-2020
  • Big log tossed up on dunes 5-18-2021
  • Greater White-fronted Goose
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Kinnikinnick and Scotch Broom
March 4, 2021 - Jon French
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved PacWave South, OSU's long-planned wave energy collection project. As I reported in June of last year, the project will install and test wave...
  • Driftwood Beach From Driftwood Beach State Wayside
  • Parking Lot, Driftwood Beach State Wayside
February 13, 2021 - Jon French
Months of winter storms and King Tides have transformed last summer's welcoming Driftwood Beach. The smooth sand entrance onto the beach from Driftwood Wayside has been scoured out, and foredunes...
  • Entrance to beach from Driftwood Wayside
  • Looking from beach to Driftwood Wayside, June 2020
  • Looking from beach to Driftwood Wayside, February 2021
  • Foredune erosion and shearing
  • Foredune erosion and shearing
  • New location of 100 year old big driftwood log
  • New sloughing off at Buckley Creek sand bluff
  • Site of former Buckley Creek lean-to
  • Incoming tidal surge meeting Buckley Creek
  • Rocky driftline
  • Pyrosomes in driftline -- "sea pickles" but not edible
  • Pyrosome colony -- each little bump is an individual zooid.


December 27, 2020 - Shema
One of the things that I surprisingly did not find, was litter. I normally pick up litter along the beach, either washed ashore or dropped by people on the beach, but there was not any observed today
  • jelly fish on beach
  • logs at king high tide lie all the way up to the brush at base of sandstone cliff
December 4, 2020 - Jon French
My first sneaker wave. My wife and I sat in the dunes watching today's heavy surf as two children, maybe 6 and 8, played too close to the water. A man, their father presumably, watched them with a...
  • Looking normal after sneaker wave
November 23, 2020 - Jon French
The recent King Tides and storms have washed away the low sand dunes that formed over the summer seaward of the vegetated dunes south of Buckley Creek, which now flows onto the beach like a real...
  • Buckley Creek flowing onto beach
  • Driftwood log with memorial stones
  • Memorial stones on driftwood log
  • Buckley Creek lean-to in ruins
  • New driftwood log looking toward surf
  • New driftwood log with sea gunk
  • Dead Cassin's Auklet face up
  • Dead Cassin's Auklet face down
September 12, 2020 - Jon French
Today's weather forecast called for areas of fog with a Dense Smoke Advisory because of the wildfires, but I didn't smell any smoke, just dense fog all along the beach, with hardly anyone to be seen...
  • Aliens and spaceship, Buckley Creek sand cliff
  • Buckley Creek entering beach
  • Rebuilt Buckley Creek leanto
  • Gulls in fog
  • Dunes in fog
  • Walkers in fog
  • Small shell particles
  • Very small shell particles
  • PacWave worker
July 29, 2020 - Jon French
Driftwood Wayside is open again after remaining closed beyond the COVID restriction period due to construction scheduled to begin on the PacWave South wave energy project (see my report for 6/6/2020...
  • Driftwood dunes
  • Driftwood dunes closeup
  • Driftwood Wayside warning sign
  • Survey equipment
June 24, 2020 - Jon French
I walked Mile 204 today for CoastWatch along with Miles 203-205 looking for snowy plover nests.  Three chicks have hatched this nesting season on Miles 203/205, and beach ranger Doug Sestrich roped...
  • Time Is Important
  • Buckley Creek petroglyphs
  • Bluff collapse, Buckley Creek
  • Driftwood leanto, before
  • Driftwood leanto, after
  • Kinnikinnick
  • Dunes, forest, houses, Mile 204
June 6, 2020 - Jon French
I've walked this mile for Plover Patrol; this is my first time for CoastWatch. The photos show the future landfall site of PacWave South, OSU's project to install and test wave energy collection...
  • Driftwood Beach, from Driftwood Beach State Wayside
  • Driftwood Beach State Wayside entrance from beach
  • Parking area, Driftwood Beach State Wayside


May 18, 2018 - Shema
5-18-18 mile 204 Driftwood beach wayside north to south end of Seal Rocks beach8:30 am,  1.7 minus tide, went with 1 other person, cloudy morning, no rain, very little windonly other people on the...


March 16, 2016 - Volunteer Trainer
They're Back...They are in even earlier than last year. Along with the larger Velella velella was a purple mass of tiny substance. I collected it an took it into the Hatfield Marine Science Center....
  • Purple mass high in wrack line at Driftwood State Park
  • Zoomed in on the purple mass
  • took the sample to HMSC, under dissection scope, shows development of polyps from medusae to polyps
  • medusa
  • the purple mass close up showing metamorphosis
February 8, 2016 - malachite
I walked from the Driftwood State Park access north to the rocks/point. I saw a dead seal on the beach. It had either been there for awhile (and dead) or had been in the water for awhile after death...
  • Dead seal observed on north end of Mile 204, possibly near the line between miles 204 and 205.
  • This photo provided to aid in location if anyone wants to retrieve the body (if it's still there) to determine cause of death. Unfortunately, I was delayed in posting this dispatch.


January 6, 2015 - Janets
The day started with a beautiful sunrise and then.... at 8:15 a.m. the full moon setting into the horizon. Will add that photo.Clouds were high and thin with the sun breaking thru. The tides had...


December 3, 2013 - Janets
On the day before...the day of the high tides, we had a series of very violent hail storms. It was fun to see that the hail had left dimples in the clean smooth sand. Rather like really rough...
January 7, 2013 - Janets
The wind was strong.... perhaps 30 mph. We walked south to begin our mile, walking from Drift Creek to Bayshore. There were many waterways to ford. The sand was wet from high tide all the way to...


August 21, 2012 - Janets
The sun was out, the blue sky was decorated with a few fluffy white clouds. The temperature was mile with no wind.We were just enjoying ourselves! As were the other 30 people we saw, the most we...
July 20, 2012 - waterwitch
This is a very stable beach. I find the usual woody debris and not much else. Good vegetation on the hillsides and not alot of visible changes.9 people strolling the beach, a few playing with a dog...
May 21, 2012 - Janets
Cold, rainy and windy. Beach laden with debris, from big trees to pebbles.
February 3, 2012 - waterwitch
Driftwood Beach lived up to its name. Considerable wood debris but surprisingly no trash.


October 17, 2011 - Janets
It was a most interesting walk. The sun was out, but the wind a bit strong to be comfortable.The large number of birds was fascinating. And the gal photographing the stranded seal pup was very...
July 18, 2011 - Janets
My friend and I really enjoyed being able to get out onto the beach for a very refreshing walk.
March 23, 2011 - Janets
This was a gorgeous walk on an early spring morning. The sun came in and out of the clouds and the wind was minimal. The beach was wide, flat, and extremely clean. Notably devoid of logs, kelp...


November 2, 2010 - Janets
We were excited to walk our mile on this day of wonderful weather following yesterday's storm. The surf was fluffy and white with large balls of white foam on the shore that were drifting south....
August 20, 2010 - waterwitch
Clear, breezy day, hard-packed sand, beach looks good with a dozen people enjoying a variety of activities including horseback riding.
July 18, 2010 - waterwitch
a clean windswept beach at low tide with little or no debris.
June 21, 2010 - Janets
It was a wonderful sunny lst day of summer. A bit too chilly to sit on the beach. The beach was especially wide, flat, and clean.The high tide had recently been all the way to the bluff so the...
June 16, 2010 - waterwitch
The beach was calm and clean of debris. No seabirds present. The only birds were vultures eating two, apparently headless, dead, baby seals that had washed up appx. 1/2 mile apart.
March 7, 2010 - waterwitch
A calm day with broad expanse of clean beach, no duning, not much driftwood, nothing major to report.
February 15, 2010 - Janets
Doug and I enjoyed watching more people on this beach than we have ever seen before. All ages and all enjoying the beautiful day!No unusual animal or environmental issues.We were enjoying it as well!


November 1, 2009 - waterwitch
No visible issues with cliffs, a large flock of gulls, no debris but a large piece of rope, a clear wind-swept beach with tide receding.
October 27, 2009 - Janets
A cold and windy day. Sand was clear and clean. Only a bit of driftwood and it was way at the back edge of the sand.
August 2, 2009 - waterwitch
Beach very clean, very little debris, no dead animals, or birds. 25-30 people (adults and children) enjoying the beach, 5 leashed dogs. A flock of gulls and 3 wimbrels or curlews on the shore. Both...
June 15, 2009 - waterwitch
Sunny day, low tide, not much wind. About a dozen people and 3 dogs observed. No seabirds present, only crows. 3 large plastic bags picked up. A cruise ship passed heading north - seemed close to...
June 1, 2009 - waterwitch
This was the first time I had seen or walked Mile 204. The beach was clean and wind swept. I saw 3 people, each with a leashed dog, and picked up one 8" round piece of plastic.


November 5, 2008 - Janets
Our biggest observations were two-fold. The huge number of small feathers in the tide lines and the total change in the surface of the beach from many wind rippled mounds to just the opposite: many...
July 23, 2008 - Janets
On this, our first "official" CoastWatch walk, the bluffs seem well covered with healthy vegetation - trees shrubs, beach grass.


August 19, 2007 - [email protected]
An ailing sea lion was on the beach. OSP were called -- final disposition unknown.