Tahkenitch Dunes - March 25, 2017
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

I seem to be a lucky hike leader lately. It was raining in Roseburg and on the drive to the coast but once at the coast, the clouds dissipated and voila! It was a sunny day on the beach.

The original plan was to hike to Tahkenitch Creek and wade across to the Oregon Dunes area. But alas, Tahkenitch was rain-swollen and moving too deep and fast to wade across safely. So the plan was amended to an 8’ish mile loop through the dunes and past Threemile Lake. 10 hikers made the right turn and 3 hikers inadvertently made the left turn at the first fork. Any anxiety a hiking leader with missing hikers may have felt was assuaged when we ran into the three hikers doing our hike in reverse order, so all was well.

This has been an uncommonly wet winter and much to our surprise and chagrin, a full-fledged creek has formed about 0.5 miles from the beach. Because the soil is all sand, the creek has carved a veritable Grand Canyon of the Tahkenitch right across the trail. So, we got to practice our bushwhacking skills as we left the trail and scrambled down to Tahkenitch Creek.

We then got to practice our sprinting skills due to a very large sneaker wave. Rachel was ahead of us so I frantically pointed at the wave coming to smite her from the rear. Unclear on the concept, Rachel smiled sweetly and waved. She got wet.

We enjoyed a lazy lunch on the beach and the sun felt wonderful upon our pale Oregon skin. Everybody was game for more miles so we took the dune trail to Threemile Lake and then it was up and over the mountain and through the lush coastal woods before we returned to our cars at Tahkenitch Campground.

Almost as soon as we started home, the rain resumed. Like I said, I seem to be a lucky hike leader, lately.

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