Dellenback Dunes - January 9, 2010
Coordinator Lois Soulia, narration by Lois Soulia and pictures by Richard O'Neill

On January 9, 2010 on a cloudy day with rain threatening, eleven hikers set off for the Dellenback Dunes ten miles south of Reedsport. Arriving at the trail head, all hikers set off following the short trail to the dunes, then climbing the first really big dune which sits at an oblique angle to the winds and storms. These are the biggest dunes in Oregon. The weather cooperated, no wind or rain.

The group straggled out over the dunes, then descending the dunes, followed the blue-stripped posts to the trail to the beach through the deflation plane with its inpenetratable  pine and scrub forest. Note the word “ inpenetratable.”

That trail had many rather deep puddles and Lois and Jane decided to follow a flagged off- shoot trail to try and avoid some of the puddles while the rest of the group  followed the main trail to the beach. Others  joined  Lois and Jane, including the O’Neills and  Rheo. The group made its way following the flags until the off-shoot trail  petered out. The smart ones turned around and made their way back to the soggy trail which  led to the  beach. The O’Neills, Rheo and Lois continued on, following phantom trails until they were surrounded  by  brush, downed trees and  bogs of varying depths.  Rheo made her separate  way out to the beach, while Lois and the O’Neills  continued deeper into the jungle. Richard said “we are  lost” while Lois was in denial  and kept trying routes which didn’t work. Dollie and Lois kept a positive attitude, Dollie saying “at least we don’t have to contend with alligators”  and Lois was thankful for a lack of leaches she also said that she was glad she was not alone. Richard said that that could be arranged. Finally, Richard  used  the radio to contact others. Rheo  kept calling so the lost ones could follow her voice, and they made their delayed way to the beach where they were greeted with pitying looks at their dishevelled state and wet socks. 

After the reunion and lunch, the whole group made its way south along the beach, about 2.5 miles, until they came almost to the mouth of Tenmile  Creek and at that point they made their way through the bogs to re-climb the dunes  and then back to the trail head.  No one had dry feet.

All agreed it had been a wonderful day with more miles covered than planned, about eight miles. Some of the members made a New Year’s resolution  to always follow the established trail – at least on the coast.


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