Tahkenitch Dunes Loop - June 22, 2013
Coordinator John Malone, narration by Jane Flewelling
On June 22, twelve hikers gathered at the usual meeting place and headed for the coast. At the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area stop they saw groups of elk cows, each being watched over by an alert bull elk. Always a great treat. Soon they hurried on to fulfill their desire for their “beach-connection hike”. The air was perfect, cool, balmy and clear.
As they set out up the mildly sloped trail, they were immediately reminded by the piled-up sand on the edges of the trail of the nature of the ever-reaching, shifting sand dunes. They were in a semi-open forest interspersed by rhodies with fading pink blossoms. At one point, between trees, they glimpsed Elbow Lake.
Then the trail winds down, around and up to a pleasant summit (400 feet.) . It had room for a possible campsite, some open spaces sheltered by big trees, with a view of the beach. Those who were first to arrive sat down to relax and compare notes while waiting for the others to catch up. Gradually all the hikers reassembled . Eager to move on, they trotted down the sandy trail to an overlook of Three Mile Lake. The view was awesome, with vivid colors, lapis lazuli and azure -blue shimmering enhancingly. But the beach beckoned and their steps quickened as they made their way across dunes and through second growth woods to bound out onto the beach.
Soon they sat down on two logs to relax and enjoy their lunches watching the crashing waves and enjoying the salty air and each other’s company. Of course, some took off their boots to wade in the water and look for unique pebbles and shells. And yes, around 12 o’clock, the red Coast Guard helicopter flew by.
Then to complete the loop, they headed north up the beach toward Tahkenitch Creek in casual groups. At the estuary, a lone eagle made a couple of passes, tilting and turning a few times to locate his lunch but with no luck, it disappeared further upstream.
It was one big step to get to the trailhead to return inland towards the foredunes and the big main dunes. When winded by the winding sandy upward trek, one could turn around and enjoy the view of the ocean. Once up on top, it’s just a casual walk through the trees to the car. It is a satisfying 6.5 mile hike.
What a great day!
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club