...and that some very recent storm swell has shovelled all sizes of wood except the giant logs, and all sizes of beach stones except big buried rocks, up and even over the top of the berm in many places, filling the woods behind the beach with cobble and shingle and the newly accumulated driftwood which has come back since the giant-wave storm in November.
Since I am supposed only to work the beach and not what lies behind it, and usually proceed without penetrating far into the drift except by eye whilst leaning over logs, this caused me serious bafflement. Is it beach or not beach, this new cobble wilderness under the trees? Had there been any dead birds before the storm to record on the data sheets, they'd now be washed back and under all that thrown rock.
Some of the freshest drift apparently came after the waves swept things into the woods. A cedar so newly washed away that the root wad still had soil embedded in it, and the broken roots and branch stubs smelled of fresh wood. And improbably neon red alders.
On the Ellen Creek beach segment, no live birds either, not a one. Later, along Rialto Jetty, one eagle, a few gulls, some ravens heard but not seen on the other side of the jetty. Oh, and many happy people.
Along the roads, many fishermen; vehicles with trailers at every access they could use to get into the Sol Duc River. I asked at the public access near Three Rivers, what they were fishing for. "Steelhead, when they're biting," a young man answered. "This is the world Mecca for steelhead." He hadn't caught anything, but they had a nice boat ride, he said. Hmmm, I thought, steelhead. You don't suppose they are jumping yet, a further 45 miles upstream, do you? It was early, so on the way home I detoured up the Soc Duc Road to Salmon Cascade. And by golly saw one jumping fish, just one. Are they going to keep it up from now until April?