Mile 54 Report

February 24, 2010
by malachite

South of Cape Blanco, access road to Elk River
Wednesday 3:30 PM
50° F
Strong from the SW
Tide Level:
-2.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
2 people in pickups and 2 sheep grazing on low slope of bluf
Cars/Trucks parking:
Cars/Trucks on beach, allowed:
Cars/Trucks on beach, prohibited:
Activity Comments:
One person w/pickup had multiple buckets--no idea what the guy was collecting/gathering, a friend I spoke to later said he might've been doing illegal algae collection. Both pickups actually in mile 55, but I could see them & I actually walked mile 55 as well. I did see one more pickup drive up & down mile 54, when I was on mile 55, no idea what the driver was doing.
Notable Wildlife:
Two sheep were spotted grazing on the lower section of the beach bluff that exists behind a kind of foredune that runs along the northern half to 2/3s of the mile. Otherwise saw only gulls, and I think a group of about 9-10 pelicans flying very low along the edge of the water, at one point seemed to slow & plunge into the water, perhaps fishing?
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Ocean-based debris (from fishing boats, ship trash, etc.)·Styrofoam·Wood pieces
many plastic bits, only a few pieces of styrofoam
New Development:
Natural Changes:
many small slides towards south end of mile in exposed mud/claystone strata
Can't do much about erosion, natural process.
A windy walk on beautiful beach. The beach appearance was quite different from my last visit (May 2009)--this is not my mile, I'm just 1/2x/year visitor. The number of driftlogs on the beach seemed substantially less than the last time I was here. There was a cluster near the vehicle beach access, but the cluster petered out rapidly. Further south on the beach, there was some evidence of a former dune that was cut by this winter's weather--I could see some crossbedding as well as bits of wood or driftwood sticking out of the sand structure. Despite this indication of erosion, there seemed to be much more sand deposited on the beach than there was last May. Usually I walk one way of the mile near the bluffs to look for any particularly nice samples of blue schist that have ended up there--this time I saw few to no large cobble-sized or smaller well rounded rocks, blue schist or other. I have attached some photos of what I did see, including a not great photo of what the dark strata (looks like a kind of mud/claystone w/concentration of mafic minerals and/or anerobic environment of formation but too wet to use handlens & I didn't take a sample to look at later (if I could find a polarizing microscope (or any microscope) to use to try to identify the minerals. Once soaked in water, the strata deteriorates, yet the feel & look was not standard clay & there was a kind of sheen or shine (reason for suspecting mafic minerals). Interesting. The bluffs are cut enough that, if I was really seeing some layering w/in this strata, there was enough of it exposed to indicate the strata seemed to be tilting slightly east. Tide very low this afternoon. Interesting walk on rainy windy beach.
  • looking north along the beach, showing low tide beach.
    looking north along the beach, showing low tide beach.
    around 1/3 to 1/2 down the mile (going south)
    February 24, 2010
Other Mile 54 Reports (16)


April 16, 2021 - rtempesta
Elk River backed up by sand bank and not flowing into ocean. Access to this streach of beach just opened back up March 1st.


August 3, 2018 - rtempesta
February 23, 2018 - rtempesta
Wind started out from the SW, then rotated up to the NW. Also, there were 15 or so sheep feeding on the bluffs and cliffs. Quite a bit of erosion on the bluffs close to the Elk River. A large hole...
  • Mouth of Elk river.


May 17, 2014 - mvolson
Fifteen people were using the beach or surf, along with 6 dogs. Children played in the creek, most adults were walking or playing with dogs. A large group of gulls, along with several pelicans and a...


September 12, 2012 - mvolson
Mile 54 was clean and quiet. Fewer dead birds than in the past. One dead seal. No evidence of sawmill activity.


April 21, 2011 - malachite
Lovely day on the beach at Cape Blanco state park. I noted that (going from bottom to top) base dark, clayish layer, shell strata grading into sand then gravel strata looked as though they'd all...
  • Photo taken from just below parking closest to the beach at Cape Blanco.  Camera has time listed as about 8am, apparently it never corrected for DST.  Probably right around low tide.
  • Photo taken from almost same location as first uploaded photo but approximately 2 hours later.
  • "Black" clay strata w/channels formed by (probably) rain/runoff, & some very small slides.  South end of mile 54.


August 8, 2010 - mvolson
Mile 54 showed signs of heavy human use: vehicle tracks, driftwood construction, several campfire sites. Nevertheless, there was very little trash, and most of that looked as if it had washed...


May 30, 2009 - mvolson
No significant changes since last visit except for lots of vehicle tracks on dunes near base of bluff.
May 14, 2009 - malachite
Pleasant "evening on day after at a storm" beach walk. Vulture, possible eagle, cliff swallows and brown pelicans observed. Dead seal on beach. A solitary walk on a very beautiful beach.
March 21, 2009 - mvolson
A total of 18 people were on the beach, most seemingly beachcombing. Two played in the surf. Two of the 4 dogs were on leash. One vehicle parked on the beach near entry.A few seagulls and partial...


July 14, 2008 - mvolson
No significant changes since last report. The beach was extremely clean of all human-produced debris, even though there was evidence of considerable use in recent weeks--many driftwood structures,...
March 29, 2008 - mvolson
This beach is always quite clean. The extra debris this time was probably mostly from winter storms. It did look as though the northern dune area near the base of the bluff had taken a beating.
January 1, 2008 - mvolson
This report is to take the place of the December report. The beach was very clean, peaceful, and relatively unchanged from last quarter.


September 3, 2007 - mvolson
Although the beach had obviously been heavily used over the Labor Day weekend, there was virtually no human-generated trash. Everything looked fine except for the tire tracks in the dunes near the...
June 18, 2007 - mvolson
The beach was very clean and empty, except for the few people and one vehicle and a couple of dogs. There were many more tire prints than previously. Usually one would see more birds, at least sea...
March 14, 2007 - mvolson
This was my first look as a Coast Watcher at mile 54, so I am still trying to establish a baseline.