Three Mile Lake - November 13, 2010
Coordinator Ray Jensen, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

It was a wet weekend. At Threemile Lake there was so much water in the air, gills were practically required.

The first mile or so of the hike was spent in typical coastal woods, the spruce needles acting like a sieve filtering the water out of the mist and fog. All the water drip drip dripping onto the forest floor results in green mossy trails and a healthy undergrowth of salal, rhododendron, and ferns. Mushrooms were everywhere, sprouting in abundance from the soggy duff on the forest floor. 

The trail spit us out of the forest and onto one end of long and slender Threemile Lake. Because of the low lake level, a sandbar actually divides Threemile Lake into two One-And-A-Halfmile Lakes. There is no trail alongside the lake so we bushwhacked along the shore by climbing over logs, by scuttling crablike under fallen trees, and by wading through wet knee-high grass. It was raining and the lake hissed constantly under a gray sky as we worked our way along the narrow lake. 

All things come to an end and eventually we ran out of lake to walk alongside of; a steep sand dune rose near the lake's outlet stream. It was two steps up and one step sliding back down as we all struggled to get up the dune. Our legs, wet from the grassy wade, were now caked with wet sand that invariably worked its way into our pants legs, gloves, shoes, and other hard to reach places. The top of the dune served as the lake's overlook and we enjoyed a great view of Threemile Lake receding into the misty distance.

We ate lunch at a wooded campsite while the trees dropped water on our heads. The rain abated somewhat as we ate but never really went away. After lunch we hiked through the sand dunes to a lonely beach and some of us continued northward to the mouth of Tahkenitch Creek. Over the years, the mouth of Tahkenitch Creek has migrated south and what used to be a two mile hike was now about three quarters of a mile or so.

While at Tahkenitch Creek a large wave surged all the way to where we were standing, filling the creek basin with churning and roiling water. Hastily picking up our gear just a step ahead of the onrushing water, we prudently hightailed it southwards on the beach. Most of us tended to walk in the wet sand near the waterline as it was more firm and thereby easier to walk on. Occasionally a large wave or two would send us scurrying landward as the foamy sea lapped at our heels. The roar of the restless sea was a constant.

We completed our loop by hiking for a bit on the forested Sparrow Peak Rd. Ray had parked his truck closer to the beach as there was not enough room for all the vehicles at the small trailhead parking area. He gave me a ride to my car where I endured scornful derision from Bill and John, with John even adressing me by the sobriquet of "Fluffy".....Ouch.

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Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club
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