Friday, September 11, 2009

"umpqua dunes"

Gigantic Oregon coast dunes stretch from the town of North Bend to Florence, a stretch of 45 miles. Unfortunately, the dunes are threatened by invasive plant species. These dunes are the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America, and are the tallest sand I've seen since I visited Great Sand Dunes National Park, in Colorado. This hike (5 miles out-and-back) is my favorite in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Easy to get to and traversing ecological diversity, it's a "Don't Miss". The parking area is at John Dellenback Trailhead (fee area) off of Rt. 101. That would be 11 miles south of Reedsport, Or. From your vehicle, start to the right at the signboard and cross the bridge, ignoring a left turn. It is about a half mile hike to open dunes. At this point, pop out of the forest and shrubs and take the escalator (hee hee) to the top of the huge dune (to the left). After climbing to the top, you will see the tall trail posts marking the trail toward the Pacific Ocean. They do not have to be followed exactly, but are a good guide. The tree island in view will be traversed on the right side. A half mile past the tree island, the posts turn 90 degrees right before a shore forest, then a path left into the forest goes to the shore (at the 4th. post after turning right). It will be about 2 miles each way to the ocean from the top of the initial huge dune. You may take a little different route back to the vehicle if you like, but keep the posts in mind. You can get lost here, believe it or not. If I didn't get you there, try William Sullivan's book (ISBN 978-09677830-2X).

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