Smoke from all the wildfires burning in our region finally broke our resolve and we cashed in hotel coupons we’d been saving for a special occasion (like breathing) and headed for the Oregon Coast for a few (too few) days of cool and breathable air (plus seafood). We used Bonnie Henderson’s Day Hiking Oregon Coast (2nd Edition, 2015) as our guide and, for our second hike (her #67), picked an out-and-back hike to the beach on the John Dellenback Dunes Trail (USFS #1339) in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
We started from the John Dellenback Dunes Trailhead (whose entrance is separate from that of the nearby Eel Creek Campground), circled the campground to the north through a small patch of forest, then crossed two miles of dunes to the beach. There is no fixed “trail” across this stretch of sand; we just stayed near – and to the south of – the poles marking the general path. The last half-mile or so was through a dense tunnel of coastal vegetation and marsh (crossed by a wooden boardwalk) and then we popped out on the beach. Unlike yesterday, today the fog didn’t lift when we reached the beach. But the ocean breezes were cool and breathable and that was more than enough.
After some deep breathes, we headed back, this time circling the campground to the south. This stretch of beach is also closed to motorized vehicles and has very limited road access, so the only person we saw was a ranger on patrol. A very nice, Beau Geste-style hike (5.7 miles round-trip; 500 feet of elevation) across the dunes.
We then drove south to Coos Bay, had lunch at the 7 Devils Brewing Co., and afterwards spent part of the afternoon at Shore Acres State Park, the former estate of timber baron Louis J. Simpson. The state acquired the property in 1942 for use as a public park, but preserved Simpson’s extensive formal gardens. We wandered around enjoying the flowers, the views, and the clean ocean air. We’re not sure how this day could have gotten any better…BACK TO HOME PAGE