Mile 305 Report

April 20, 2007
by skyhar8000

Location:
Tillamook
Oswald West SP, Cape Falcon N
Conditions:
Friday 8:00 AM
Sunny
Wind:
Calm/Light from the W
Humans / Pets:
People:
0
Activities:
Concerns:
Disturbances:
Vehicles:
Activity Comments:
It is inevitable that I come upon the occasional group of seals. I stay as far away as possible, photograph them at a distance, and give them as much room as I can, and the option to stay onshore or leave.
Notable Wildlife:
Today I have found several DOZEN seals in it of all sizes
Dead Birds:
Stranded:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Driftline:
New Development:
Modifications:
Natural Changes:
Comments:
This sheet contains supplemental information for my April 20, 2007 visit to my area. It will probably provide more information than most CoastWatch reports, but tide and weather prohibit regular visits to the area, so I will try to gather and submit as much detail as possible in each report.On the above date, I parked at the end of Elk Flat Road about 8:00 AM and hiked south past the swinging wooden gate and three houses above the roadway. The road ends in a large turnaround area, where a giant tree has lost its crown in a windstorm. Its wood was rotted, and the broken treetop rests in two large piles near the tree itself.Beyond the turnaround, a trail leads south past the Oswald West State Park boundary line which is indicated by two signs, one fastened to a tree, the other on a metal ground stake. A short distance beyond the signs, one has the choice of continuing south or turning west. The former choice leads to an old eroded trail that can be negotiated to the beach only by using some old ropes and stakes left by other hikers. The latter choice leads to a cliff trail that features ropes but which is less hazardous than the eroded trail, and here I descend.I brought my own rope, and where the old ropes leave off, I affix my own rope and use it to get down as far as a boulder field. The rocks are difficult to clamber over, and the sea is seldom far away. On my return trip, I was completely drenched by a large wave just as I began to ascend. This journey is not for the timid.From the boulder field, it is a short (but treacherous) trip to the north end of a large cove I have heard other people call Black Rock Beach or Black Sand Beach. An aerial view can be found at www.mapquest.com -- simply enter "Arch Cape" as the city and "Oregon" as the state, then scroll south and magnify to the third closest setting (the website refuses to get any more detailed than that). From the beach below Falcon Cove Road, simply look south around the first headland, and the next dark coastal area is Black Rock/Sand Beach.I have numbered the coves beginning with area as Cove 1. It is perhaps 200 yards long. A rusted metal barrel rests near the foot of the ropes leading down from the eroded trail. There are some Styrofoam floats, pieces of Styrofoam and some plastics bottles about.At the south end of Cove 1 is a broken outjutting of rock I call Broken Head. It is hard to negotiate at low tide and impossible at all other times. Slipping around Broken Head gets you into Cove 2. The rocks underfoot are no longer black and round - they are a mixture of black rounds and broken, irregular brown rock from the cliff faces, which are really rather spectacular, but very fractured, so I always wear a hardhat. Cove 2 has some old Styrofoam floats and plastic bottles, and also a large white plastic drum, empty, 50-55 gallons (has both a top and bottom and Made In USA on one end). No idea of its original contents. this is also the first cove with lots of live birds, various species, which send up an alarm cry when they see me. Debris catches in this area because there is a fairly wide gap between the cliff faces and the mean high tide line. I hope to come back and gather the debris and dispose of it, if I can figure out how to carry it away with me.Passing into Cove 3 is easy - there are a couple of "perpetual puddles" of ocean water, and a small hole in the rocks, easily negotiated. Having stepped through the hole, you can turn around and take a picture of Tillamook Head, with some other ocean-bound rocks in the foreground; it makes a great photo. There is a little debris, but not much to see, probably because this cove is shallow and susceptible to being scrubbed out by a wind-driven high tide. this cove is generally small and unremarkable.Passage into Cove 4 is not difficult, but it is a bit deceptive. There is an inviting pathway close to the cliffs, but it is too steep once you have ascended it and are looking down into that cove. It is better to move away from the cliffs and select the passage closer to the sea that is easily negotiated. You can also walk even more westward and skirt the entire rock formation if you wish, but I recommend the midway passage just for the fun of it.Cove 4 is fairly large and its floor is covered with soft black sand - so soft that if you set foot too near a recess full of water, you will slide right into it. In the midst of the cove is a sea rock I call Everest due to its shape. There is also a large vertical stick, perhaps set up by nature, perhaps by humans. This cove is very deep and has accumulated a lot of debris, mostly Styrofoam and plastic. If you got stuck due to incoming tides, this cove would offer the best chance of survivial, as it appears the ocean seldom reaches the cliffs.Moving toward Cove 5, you pass Two Towers Rock, which resembles one of the towers in the second "Lord of the Rings" movie. As you pass this rock, for the first time you can see, at the base of the cliffs, where the water has slowly worn rounded holes in the cliff bases. There is an optical illusion that makes it appear that the ocean will collapse upon you at any moment. The passage into the next cove is marked by some slick rocks I call the Stepping Stones, and they are accessible only at very low tide levels; otherwise, you are forced to wade around or over them.I call Cove 5 Seal Harbor. Last year, I found several pups in it, with the adults out in the surf, waiting for the pups to rest. Today I have found several DOZEN seals in it of all sizes, and I took as many pictures as possible, while they slid slowly across the rocks and into the ocean. I think the seals use this cove because the rocks on the beach are smooth and round. There are dozens of "seal trails" where it is evident they have maneuvered up to the cliff base itself. This cove is not very large.Accessing Cove 6 is not difficult; you walk past a rock I have dubbed Bishop's Hat, as it looks like a miter worn by the clergy. There is a wonderful rock perhaps two feet across with numerous large holes I have named the Bowling Ball. Here there are more rounded areas, where the ocean has eroded the cliff base more severely. There are also rocks with brown markings that are exceptionally beautiful, scattered over the floor of the cove, and I have pictures of many of them.In this area, the ocean has also worn away enough of the cliff that there are a few column formations that are free standing; that is, you can pass behind them. There is a sea rock I named The Matterhorn for its shape. The south cove wall is covered with sea anemones. This warns hikers that the ocean frequently covers the area - don't stay here too long!!At this point, I have run out of time and must beat a retreat before the ocean traps me. I have seen two new phenomena. One is an orange buoy forced far back into a crack in the rocks, which I call The Grotto, as it looks like some sort of shrine. The other is called the Crossbar, which is a log rammed into a cliff crack and is several feet off the ground but is also parallel to it. There is another cave beyond, but I don't have time to explore it, and I am concerned about its floor. It is water-filled and could be waded, but if the sand in it is too soft, one may find it difficult to get out, once one has gotten halfway through, and to get stuck would undoubtably be fatal. This may require two people and a rope for safety!From this area, you can see a small hole in the underside of The Matterhorn, and I will count the standing columns as I leave. There is one next to the Grotto, then a small one that looks like a lady's boot. The next one, you could walk around it freely, and there is a small drip of water behind it that appears to descend through solid rock. Then there is one you could crawl through, and then a last one near The Matterhorn you can walk all the way around. I have photographed a round rock with large holes -- the Swiss Cheese.My notes are not as accurate with respect to the last coves visited because time has grown short, and the return trip will not be as much fun -- also, I simply start to run out of energy but must negotiate all the headlands before the tide comes in too far.When I got back to the ascension point, I was amazed to see how far the tide had come in already, and while trying to scramble up the ropes, I was thoroughly doused by a wave that broke on the rock just west of the one I was standing on. It soaked my clothing, and it killed my portable tape recording machine, but my camera survived the drenching. I also got past my purple rope, and had just coiled it for carrying when I dropped it and had to descend to retrieve it. No fun! This is as close as I have come to not returning at all.Just as I got back to the car, I encountered several students and a teacher from the local school (Fire Mountain) on an Earth Day hike, so I shared the pictures in my camera with them and gave an impromptu talk about my day's hike. I left from home at 10:30 AM.Remaining days in 2007 when these areas will be accessible via foot: May 15-21; June 2-5; June 13-18; June 30-July 3; July 12-16; July 29-31. Again, this is a dangerous area. It should not be hiked at night; when wind-driven waves prevent the tide from becoming as low as listed in the tables; or in the rain, or when rain appears possible. The cliffs are steep and unstable, and many of the headland areas are slick and unpredictable. In many areas, an injury would mean certain death. I do not traverse this area without my survival gear, a hardhat, and a reliable watch. Several times I have abandoned a hike (sometimes not even leaving my car) because weather or tide conditions weren't just right.This information is for the convenience of the reader, and the author assumes no liability for its accuracy, or for injury, death, and or loss or property to/of any person who makes the decision to survey or travel in, over, through, to, or from this area, based on the statements made herein. If you go, use common sense, and take appropriate precautions. It is a beautiful area, seldom seen up close by humans, but to maximize your chances of living to hike another day, extreme caution is essential.
Summary:
Beyond the turnaround, a trail leads south past the Oswald West State Park boundary line which is indicated by two signs, one fastened to a tree, the other on a metal ground stake. A short distance beyond the signs, one has the choice of continuing south or turning west. The former choice leads to an old eroded trail that can be negotiated to the beach only by using some old ropes and stakes left by other hikers. The latter choice leads to a cliff trail that features ropes but which is less hazardous than the eroded trail, and here I descend.[...See Comments section for 3 pages of fascinating details...]I call Cove 5 Seal Harbor. Last year, I found several pups in it, with the adults out in the surf, waiting for the pups to rest. Today I have found several DOZEN seals in it of all sizes, and I took as many pictures as possible, while they slid slowly across the rocks and into the ocean. I think the seals use this cove because the rocks on the beach are smooth and round. There are dozens of "seal trails" where it is evident they have maneuvered up to the cliff base itself. This cove is not very large.
Other Mile 305 Reports (32)

2017

July 21, 2017 - Frankie
In 50 plus years of visiting this small cove, this is the only time I've ever seen it this calm. It was fun to see its lagoon-like quality. 

2015

July 6, 2015 - skyhar8000
First and probably only time I will see my mile in 2015. Lots less human-manufactured debris than I am accustomed to seeing. Also, not nearly as much natural debris (shells, seaweed, etc.). One...

2014

May 16, 2014 - skyhar8000
An unremarkable day. Well, it's always tough to go down, and even tougher to come up, but nothing of major consequence. No debris that was obviously of tsunami origin. More large plastic floats...

2013

May 26, 2013 - skyhar8000
A great day for a hike during one of the year's lowest tides. Was able to access all coves. The driftline content was average, except that there was more wood than usual, and it had been more...
February 8, 2013 - skyhar8000
Virtually nothing to be seen! The trees that I mentioned were the big news. The cove floors are all very flat, meaning it's easier for the ocean to take back whatever it brings in. I found only...

2012

July 2, 2012 - skyhar8000
Uneventful hike. No tsunami debris -- if it was, I couldn't tell. A lot more general stuff for this time of year than is usually seen. More plastic floats tossed high onto the rocks than I have...
May 7, 2012 - skyhar8000
Great hike to very end of possible area to walk in due to extremely low tide. One seal skeleton with no way to identify cause of death. One big (BIG!) boat or ship bumper that I will report to the...
April 7, 2012 - skyhar8000
Four of us arrived 0600 hours and left about 0900 hours. We spent three pleasant hours @ Mile 305 and left in good shape. Only two pieces of trash with Japanese characters were observed, and these...

2011

September 3, 2011 - skyhar8000
This was an interesting trip. Knowing that tides would prevent me from accessing any but just the first cove, I went there to retrieve my floats. Big surprise! Floats all gone!! Someone will make...
August 1, 2011 - skyhar8000
Walked the mile from one end to the other -- bit risky because tide not out all that far. Was amazed to see very little human trash. I had stashed a large quantity of cork floats, and I carried...
June 17, 2011 - skyhar8000
Significant amount of finely-chopped kelp and sea vegetation, as though someone ran it through some gigantic Salad Shooter! Very little trash -- the ocean has made a fairly clean sweep. More than...
March 23, 2011 - skyhar8000
Able to access only the first four coves because tide was not ultra-low. Ocean has carved several cove floors into hills and valleys running east- west, so that hiking north-south requires some...

2010

June 12, 2010 - skyhar8000
Found two seal pup corpses. One was headless and being eaten by five (yes, 5!) bald eagles. The other was intact and perhaps 1/4 mile away. No cause of death immediately apparent. No adult or...
May 15, 2010 - skyhar8000
Threw 250-foot line down cliff to sea level. Had 1 person stay at top while I went down and got as many floats and as much debris as I could carry, and brought it to the rope. Hiked it up the hill...
May 1, 2010 - skyhar8000
Went down to my mile with a reporter from the Tillamook Headlight-Herald. Lots of washed in marine stuff. Plastic and other kinds of floats galore. Unfortunately, unable to locate my bags from...

2009

October 28, 2009 - skyhar8000
Roped down into "Cove 1" for litter control. The cliff trail 100 feet above sea level sustained a fall of scree, or loose rock, and roping garbage up from that point appear impossible now. I went...
June 20, 2009 - skyhar8000
Hiked the entire mile and picked up perhaps one or two bags of loose litter. Brought ALL of the stuff from my far cove to my near cove, where it needs to be hoisted and gotten out of there prior to...
April 27, 2009 - skyhar8000
Spent 2.5 hours doing litter pickup. Litter now in Coves 1 and 4 in sturdy bags above the high tide lines and ready for pickup. Will need to wait for another low tide to do this. Probably eight...

2008

December 11, 2008 - skyhar8000
Entered area 3:30pm as volunteer to look for the human and/or boat remains generated by the death of the NETWORK, a crabber that broke up out in Tillamook Bay. Very little trash washed in since my...
August 30, 2008 - skyhar8000
A team of three, including myself, went to Black Sand Beach and removed the litter that I picked up over the course of the spring and summer. As before, litter was roped up the cliffs and hiked to...
August 9, 2008 - skyhar8000
Dropped by the area but did not descend down to sea level, as tide was not low enough. Was there to look down and be sure litter gathered from my previous trips was still bagged and secured where I...
July 6, 2008 - skyhar8000
I descended via the usual route. Someone has added a quality rope to it. I thought that it belonged to the folks from Seattle/Portland and that it would be gone when I returned, but it is still there...
July 4, 2008 - skyhar8000
I managed to hike through all 10 coves due to extremely low tides. At the end of Cove 10, I changed into diving booties and waded through waist-deep tidal pools in order to round the corner to see...
May 6, 2008 - skyhar8000
I was able to walk as far south as I have ever been. There were no seals, but plenty of body drag marks, so I assume that some of the far coves are regular hangouts for them.I met 3 men in Cove 1 who...

2007

August 11, 2007 - skyhar8000
Tide-wise, it continues to be the case that one should not attempt to slip around the south end of Cove 1 without a tide of at least a -1.0. I arrived at the area about 5am and had to wait for...
July 28, 2007 - skyhar8000
Wow! A normal, ordinary visit to my mile. Such a deal!I hiked out the white plastic drum I dug from the rocks and wood in Cove 4 a few visits back. It is lighter than the white drum that we took out...
July 15, 2007 - skyhar8000
Saw several minor slides - had a good-sized rock fall between us - Allister had my hard hat on - I had nothing on my head - lucky me! This area REALLY is "HARDHAT-NEEDY"!Found and photographed tall...
June 30, 2007 - skyhar8000
Lots of dead starfish and mussels, more than usual. The water is a murky color, observed from both far and near.Found 300 feet of crab pot rope plus one attached buoy left by the sea wrapped around...
June 17, 2007 - skyhar8000
On 6-16-07, I descended at the usual access point and proceeded for a half mile south to retrieve 16 bags of trash. While in the area, I saw a man and woman taking photos, and I was met by Vivi...
  • Phil Blanton, Steve Bauer, Vivi Tallman, Jaxon Clanton (in rear), and Bill O'Brien.
June 3, 2007 - skyhar8000
This sheet supplements my report about my visits to Mile 305 on June 1, 2, and 3, 2007. On those dates, I arrived topside about 7:00 AM each morning, descended by my usual route near the boulder...
May 19, 2007 - skyhar8000
On the above date, I drove past the end of Elk Flat Road and parked beyond the wooden swinging gate, at the turnaround circle at the very end of the vehicle-accessible roadway. The weather was dry,...
January 27, 2007 - Vivi Tallman
Black sand beach was splendid in the sunshine! One metal 50 gallon drum. No human impact. All as should be, best as I can see.