Oregon Dunes Loop (Oregon Coast) 16-Jun-2020

Our first day at the coast was predicted to be a wet one, but weather radar suggested that there would be a break in the precipitation action for a couple of hours. So we figured we could fit this 4.6 mile loop in between rain squalls. We almost did. But the rain only lasted for a half hour or so and our time on the beach was blessed with artistically cloudy, but rain-free, skies.

The trailhead for this hike is the Oregon Dunes Day-Use Area (ample parking and a toilet) just south of Florence, Oregon. This site had been closed until just the week before we arrived. From the parking area, we made a short descent on a paved, then dirt, trail that launched us out onto the sand.

Leaving the trailhead
On to the sand

After a brief walk on the sand, we passed through the forest on the foredune, then across the thick grasses on the beach berm, and then out onto the beach itself. It’s snowy plover nesting season so the beach dune and dry sand are off limits – so we just stayed on the trail until it took us out onto the wet sand.

Through the foredune forest
Across the beach berm
Beach trailhead #113
On the Beach

The walk south along the beach is a mile and a half long and the weather held-off for the whole walk. We spent a lot of time looking at shells, at gasping gooseneck barnacles attached to logs that had been pushed high on the beach by a recent storm, and at snowy plovers scampering along the sand. We also, sadly, spent time picking up as much plastic trash – lots of Japanese water bottles – as we could carry. We had to leave behind a hard hat and an aromatic package of bait herring. 😛

The beach at Oregon Dunes
Rain squalls heading east toward Cape Perpetua
Strolling south along the beach
Dead crab
Dead razor clam
More rain squalls to the north
Fair skies to the west (at least for the moment)
Incoming tide
Tree
Yet another squall rolls in
Almost to the end of the beach walk

The trail starts up again at beach trailhead #114, crosses through the beach berm, and comes close to Tahkenitch Creek. We would have liked to have spent some time exploring the creek but this is where that rain squall with our name on it finally caught up with us. It provided an intense, but mercifully brief, wetting.

Dune grasses
Tahkenitch Creek in the rain
The LovedOne savors the weather
And then the rain moved on
Seed heads of the American Glehnia (American Silvertop)
Some clearing (with a trail marker post on the left)

After a sandy walk north through the dunes, we climbed back into the forest and then up some more sand to the viewing platform at the south end of the parking area. The rain came back just as we reached the truck and stayed with us on and off for the rest of the day and into the night. But by morning it was gone and the remainder of our time at the coast was under sunny skies (except for the occasional fog bank). 🙂

Back into the forest
A colorful mycoheterotroph that we can’t identify
Leaving the dunes
Our track along the Oregon Dunes Loop
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