Bandon Beach to New River County Park - February 7, 2009
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

What a difference a week makes. Last week I was debating going to shorts when I scouted the hike to the New River from Bandon Beach. This last Saturday my debate consisted of do I put on my 5th layer of waterproof clothing or stay with the 4 wet layers.

We began from Devils Kitchen and immediately we were confronted with a wet ford of Crooked Creek. About half of the troops headed upstream to search for a log crossing. The showed up about 15 minutes later where the brave wet-crossers waited; they said the found a dry crossing but their lower pants legs were suspiciously soaked.

When we got to China Creek and another wet ford, there was no search for a dry crossing this time. Some made a mad dash, some daintily tiptoed, one took off shoes entirely, and one wrapped her feet in plastic bags. 

From China Creek, we left the rocks and people behind and walked a lonely three miles to the New River under dark and brooding clouds. We did overtake a couple who had acquired a collection of floats along the way but we soon left them behind.

The New River was a seething brown roiling cauldron....last week. This weekend the river was noticeably smaller and more well-mannered. The tide was way out and there were extensive sand flats at the river's mouth. We ate lunch here and had fun with a toy soldier we found, as well as some styrofoam "baseballs" I walked briefly up Twomile Creek where I could observe its mad head-on collision with the much larger New River. Amazingly, the couple we had overtaken crossed the waist-deep New River and continued on with their search for beach debris.

So far, it had been a nice hike, not too Richardy. But that changed once we headed back to Bandon. The wind picked up and we had to walk leaned over into the wind. It was like walking uphill in a way. For a while, we had rain/heavy drizzle coming in flat and cold directly into our faces, handicapping the spectacle wearers. I was going deaf from the whirring of my poncho hood an inch away from my ear. Fortunately, the rain let up some if not the wind by the hike's end. When we reached China Creek, the wind was literally blowing the water right out of the creek bed and across the beach. 

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