Oregon Dunes - March 14, 2015
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

There are days when the weather is so bad, one should just stay home, like the day the Friends of the Umpqua went hiking on the Oregon Dunes. The weather report had called for a 98% chance of rain falling in the volume rate of 1/10th of an inch per hour. Seven of us parsed the forecast with rose-tinted glasses seized on the light rain and the 2% chance of good weather and headed out to the coast for an easy hike on the Oregon Dunes.

Oops, oops, oops! When we got there the rain was pouring at the rate of 1/10th of an inch per 1/10th of a second, driven by a brisk wind sweeping the dunes. We had walked 1/10th of a foot before our clothes were completely drenched, the rain overwhelmed our seemingly water repellent rain gear. Once we hit the open and unprotected dunes, all conversations stopped, each hiker trudged along intently immersed in his/her own little wet world of watery misery.

After visiting Tahkenitch Creek the trail delivered us to the beach after a mere 1.5 miles of hiking. Obviously, the 9 mile loop to the mouth of Tahkenitch Creek was not going to happen so I suggested walking for a mile or so on the beach to make a nice round 5 mile trip. Nobody answered me, all I got were glazed looks so we headed up the beach, leaning into the wind and rain. After a quarter mile, I turned around and apart from Consuelo, all my charges were still where I had left them, sporting the same glazed look I had left them with. And Consuelo asked if we could go back and I was glad she did.

On the way back, the rain eased up just a bit, and we took a well-defined trail fork to the left that lead who knew where. Turned out it went to a prohibited area set aside for the snowy plovers to breed. Not wanting to cross the rope and cause the extinction of the rare and endangered bird, we then proceeded to bushwhack through the thick coastal scrub. The hike kept getting better and better!

Eventually, we happened onto the trail returning us back to the car and I think everyone was too cold, too wet, to lynch their deserving leader. Just to make sure spirits were properly lifted, we went into Florence where we ate a well-deserved meal.

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