Dellenback Dunes - November 24, 2012
Coordinator John Malone, narration and pictures by Jennifer Coalwell

With a 90% chance of rain predicted, four brave souls--John, Edwin, Jennifer and Cheryl--left the courthouse just after 8:00 am on a soggy Saturday, November 24, 2012 to drive to Reedsport and then south to the Dellenback Dunes trailhead.  It was raining lightly, so we suited up in our rain gear and hit the trail about 9:45 am.  It's an easy trail for the first half mile and then we reached the sand dunes.

"Where are the camels?", Cheryl asked.  The climb up the first big dune got us warmed up (though it really wasn't cold) and from the top we had an expansive view of the dunes.

John's plan (as hike leader) was to head south toward a large "clump" of trees and then catch up with the trail through the forest to the beach.  Because of all the rain, the sand was packed hard, so the hiking in it was not difficult.  The trail through the vegetation was full of large puddles that got wider and deeper as we went along.

At first, we attempted to skirt around the edges to keep our feet dry.  Edwin had knee-high rubber boots, so he was fine.  Cheryl was smart enough to bring plastic bags to cover her boots.  John and Jennifer had good waterproof boots, but soon the water was more than ankle deep.  We finally gave up and decided to just plow right through the middle and continue our hike with wet feet.  Eventually, after our feet were soaked, a nice boardwalk appeared for the remainder of the trail.

When we got to the beach, John and Jennifer took their boots off, wrung out their socks and walked barefoot as we headed north along the shore.  John even walked up to his knees in the water for what he fondly calls "King Neptune's pedicure."  The sand certainly does exfoliate one's feet.

John wanted to turn east and hike toward a "tree island" that we would circle before returning to our starting point.  However, after climbing the sandy bluff and surveying the scene--lots of water to cross and dense vegetation to get through with no trail--we decided to walk (socks and boots on again) back down the beach and return to the dunes via the boardwalk/watery trail we were already familiar with and then set out across the sand to the "tree island."  It was much faster this time as we just plunged right in.

We reached the island at sat down in the sand to eat our lunch.  Then we circled all the way around it and headed back toward the first big dune and the trail to the parking lot.  It never rained hard the whole day, just a constant drizzle.

We were on our way home by 2:30 pm.  We stopped at Tomaselli's Bakery in Elkton for some pastries, hot chocolate and a look at their wood-fired pizza oven.  We were back at the courthouse about 4:30 pm.

Just goes to show that you can have a great hike even on a very wet day.


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