Keep an Eye on Active Drift Logs

In timber country, any sandy beach with a backshore collects drift logs. Fallen forest trees end up in the rivers, down which they wash to sea. And there are other paths to the shore. Swaths of seaside forest slump onto the beach in landslides; and from the precipices, forest trees live out precarious lives, only to topple into the sea below. Can you think of other ways a forest tree might become a drift log?

Over time big wood, whatever isn’t lost to the depths, gets pushed by the highest tides and biggest swell onto the backshore. There it rests, above the zone of normal wave wash. Along with milled timbers, drums, buoys and other debris, drift logs make up the wrack line.  That’s what you see in the photo below, from July 23, 2016.


On February 10, 2017, the same vantage saw an authoritative high tide accompanied by 25-35 kt southwest winds, gusts to 45 kt, and combined seas 16-20′. Conditions like these will mobilize the seaward-most wrack, as seen in the photo below. Active drift logs can knock you over, break your bones, or worse.


I’ll illustrate the knocking over part of my argument with the self-incriminating three-second sequence, below.

The February 10, 2017 wrack line was a lively place. To see more of it’s scenes click here and scroll down to February 10.



    1. No, I didn’t get hurt. Thanks for asking. It was a rookie mistake and embarrassing, but there was no one around to see it. I soaked my iPhone and a camera, but they don’t seem the worse for it.

  1. There’s so much movement and wonderful soft colours in that second picture, I love the foam as it rolls in! I used to live in British Columbia out in the sticks and always loved wandering on the beaches by the lake, and gathering driftwood. Happy days 🙂

    1. Thank you for taking the time to say so. I was just looking over your skyscapes and monochromes. You’ve got an eye for it, so I take your words as quite a compliment.

  2. You may have been knocked down (love the photos of same — a true photographer keeps on shooting no matter what) but you didn’t lose your sense of humour!

    1. Thanks. I’ve only taken a couple accidental soakings in the surf. At the time, I felt embarrassed, even though there was no one around to see it.

      1. I haven’t been knocked down by surf (just don’t get enough “ocean time”) but I’ve “turtled” on a hill, trying to photograph flowers and took several minutes to right myself. Luckily no witnesses either. 🙂

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