Mile 305 Report

June 3, 2007
by skyhar8000

Location:
Tillamook
Oswald West SP, Cape Falcon N
Conditions:
Sunday 7:00 AM
Cloudy
Wind:
Calm/Light from the NW
Humans / Pets:
People:
0
Activities:
Concerns:
Disturbances:
Vehicles:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
12 seals resting/nursing, Cove 6
Dead Birds:
Stranded:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Recently deceased starfish - 10 to 20 mussels - some alone, others in groups
Driftline:
New Development:
Modifications:
Only natural rearrangement by ocean waves
Natural Changes:
Landslides/major boulder falls
Saw a natural one occur on 6-1-07
Comments:
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 garden and hiked as far south as Cove 8 each time. It's really just impossible, or at least very inadvisable, to go past the south wall of Cove 8 (covered in a mass of anemones) unless the tide is ultra-low.Weather over all three days was variable, but mostly low surf, no rain, and pleasant most of the time. On each visit I encountered a dozen seals on the beaches of Coves 6 to 8 and took several pictures. I observed some pups apparently nursing while resting next to their mothers. I took extreme care to stay as far from them as possible, but on June 3, I almost tripped over a seal pup concealed behind a rock!In the coves where debris tends to wash up and remain, I found atypical numbers of dead starfish and mussels - the latter were sometimes individuals, sometimes in clumps. As I hiked through Cove 4, I observed a fairly large natural landslide descend over the debris of previous landslides, and I kept my distance until it had concluded.On each trip, I completed a portion of the litter pickup program I put together for myself. At this writing, there is a giant stack of trash on Black Sand Beach (Cove 1), upon which I placed logs to try to keep it secure above the mean high tide line against wind and sea. This pile includes a full-sized crab trap, two 50-gallon drums (one metal, one plastic), a dozen or so crab pot floats and buoys, a sizable mess of rope (both synthetic and natural), a length of thick metal cable, and a dozen or more heavy-duty nylon sacks filled with all sorts of garbage, including plastic bottles, piece of Styrofoam, and pieces of clothing. In Cove 4, perhaps half a mile to the south, I have secured 16 additional heavy-duty bags of garbage above the mean high tide line in a similar manner. I plan to bring those to Cove 1 during the next set of low tides, which will take time and effort, but I can get it done.Since my return, I have sent e-mails to (among others) the CoastWatch listserve, a Coast Guardsman stationed in Garibaldi, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, one of the state park employees whose jurisdiction includes Oswald West State Park, the Oregon State Marine Board, and SOLV. I have received favorable responses and advice, and it appears we will be able to remove the trash before the high tides of winter redistribute it along the coastline. I've put too much work into this project not to see it completed!Of the two routes I have used in the past, the trail running across the cliff face to within 50 feet of sea level is too dangerous to use until someone with proper gear and know-how replaces its ropes and anchors. The makeshift zigzag trail marked by some else's old ropes is not much better, but I am able to use my own ropes in that area and can negotiate it fairly easily. (A hardhat, tough gloves, and familiarity with rope and knots is a must.)Before the last daylight low tides of 2007 have passed, I intend to return to Coves 9 and 10, now that I know and remember how to negotiate them. At some point, I am sure it'll be impossible to go any further south, but the astounding rock formations and the simple possibility of discovering more amazing sights is just too strong a lure. I promise to take care and do my best to avoid becoming a meal for the local residents of the shore and sea!SUPPLEMENT:In connection with this trip to Mile 305, I found a new, better, and safer way to access Black Sand Beach. As noted in previous reports, there are two primary routes: one along the face of the cliff on the old quarry trail, and one which descends down to a boulder garden a bit further to the north along a cliff face.The quarry trail and its ropes have become unstable, and one of the ropes broke in my hand while I was testing it! Without the placement of more and better ropes and pitons by experts, this route is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.The trail down the cliff face to the boulder garden is a bit safer, but not by much. The ropes there are worn and can be used only at your own risk. I bring and use my own climbing ropes. But on reaching the first of the large rocks, if one turns left (south) and stays fairly close to the cliffside, it is possible to get over the boulders and onto the beach without getting too near the sea. I still recommend accessing this route only at low tides and in the best of weather, using a hardhat and other climbing gear, and it is by no means risk-free. But it beats playing hopscotch on the rocks near the ocean. They are covered with slippery marine life!On this visit, the tide did not permit me to leave Black Sand Beach in either direction, so I spent about an hour picking up and securing litter in bags. I managed to break the rusted, buried crab pot free, and if I can find a way of hoisting it up the cliff, I will get it off the beach. I left the bagged litter up above the high tide line for the time being.Due to some upcoming low tides, I think I will be able to get into the far coves again in 2007. I plan to take some large bags, collect litter, and move it northward as far as I can get it, and then perhaps make a special trip solely for the purpose of getting the trash up and out of the place. This might be a two-person job. If I can secure a rope of sufficient length, the best way to get the stuff up would be for one person to tie it on down below, a bag at a time, and have a second person on top to hoist it up, who would just need to be careful not to fall off the edge! It is a long fall, and the sudden stop at the end would be unpleasant.The soil and rocks are very irregular on the cliff face, and I left a fair amount of myself out there on this trip. I'll be wearing shin, knee, and elbow padding next time. But the discovery of this easier and (relatively) safer route means that I can get to these areas more often and stay longer on each visit, and in turn, that means I have a better shot at getting the trash out of there.
Summary:
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 garden and hiked as far south as Cove 8 each time. It's really just impossible, or at least very inadvisable, to go past the south wall of Cove 8 (covered in a mass of anemones) unless the tide is ultra-low.On each visit I encountered a dozen seals on the beaches of Coves 6 to 8 and took several pictures. I observed some pups apparently nursing while resting next to their mothers. I took extreme care to stay as far from them as possible, but on June 3, I almost tripped over a seal pup concealed behind a rock!Of the two routes I have used in the past, the trail running across the cliff face to within 50 feet of sea level is too dangerous to use until someone with proper gear and know-how replaces its ropes and anchors. The makeshift zigzag trail marked by some else's old ropes is not much better, but I am able to use my own ropes in that area and can negotiate it fairly easily. (A hardhat, tough gloves, and familiarity with rope and knots is a must.)
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.
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,...
April 20, 2007 - skyhar8000
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...
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.