Tahkenitch Dunes

March 11, 1995

This hike made up for a postponed one. The first time it was scheduled was in January. Four people signed up, but that was the week of heavy rain with flooding at the coast including the threat of highway closure near Mapleton. This time the week before saw very high winds at the coast along with rain. Evidently that was enough to discourage anyone from signing up. So I went by myself! (It didn’t help matters that both the Bulletin and the R-G did not accurately describe the hike.) I arrived at Tahkenitch C.G. (not to be confused with Tahkenitch Creek) at 10:30 a.m. There was no-one else there. Although there was a terrific downpour after leaving Florence, the sun was out. The trail goes through typical coastal forest and eventually ends atop a ridge from which one can see the ocean and the terrain leading to the beach — a wide, barren sandy strip followed by a strip of high bushes. Poles in the sand mark the way to the beach. After descending from the ridge and crossing the sandy strip, I was in the bushy area. The rain had collected in the depressions of the undulating landscape. I detoured around several miniature lakes, always returning the trail, until I came to a newly-formed “lake” that I wasn’t able to find a dry way around. I considered wading through but it looked too deep. Disappointed that I could hear the surf, but couldn’t attain the beach, I turned back only to see another solitary hiker approaching. When I gave him the bad news, he said: “Well, let’s go north on the open sandy stretch. I know the way.” It turned out he was from Reedsport and a frequent hiker in this area. Because his hiking partner was in Hawaii, he decided to do the hike himself. (I didn’t offer an explanation where my hiking partners were!) We enjoyed one another’s company until we reached the northern most part where the trail turns inland. I wanted to stop for lunch overlooking the ocean. He had already eaten and was ready to head back. After lunch I found my way back to my car without any trouble. Despite not walking on the beach, it was a good hike with only one brief period of rain while on the trail. Inasmuch as one can’t be a leader without followers, I sign myself — Just a hiker: Richard Heinzkill.

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