Saturday, May 30, 2015

Baker Beach Dunes

After a camp meal, grandsons Daweson, Issiah, and your merry blogster went for an after-dinner walk around pristine Baker Beach Dunes. On the dunes, we ran into a hiking couple doing the same thing from the nearby car campground. During the exchange of pleasantries, my two young charges puffed out their chests and with a great deal of pride Daweson blurted out "We're hiking!"

"No," corrected his younger sibling "we're backpacking!"

On their first Richard Backpack
The two boys had been wanting to backpack in the worst way and I finally relented and set up a short 5'ish mile route from Baker Beach to Sutton Creek.  However, when I'm in charge it's a Richard Hike and why should this weekend be any different just because I have 9 and 12 year old companions in tow? The route basically followed the western edge of the dunes but as we left the dunes behind and entered the woods, the trail tread soon disappeared under a foot of standing water.

I'm not even sure why they brought shoes
Boys being boys, as soon as we hit the sands of the dunes, footwear came off and they hiked barefoot with shoes in hand. As we entered the wet-footed portion of the trail, the squishy sensation of mud oozing up between the toes was not much of a deterrent but the further we went along the trail the deeper the water became. Finally when the water level nearly reached my waist, it was time for a Plan B as hiking in the deep end of the pool is not allowed.

Splish splash!
We retreated back to the dunes and crossed the wide expanse of smooth sand. Baker Beach Dunes are not as large as popular Dellenback Dunes but they are less visited than Dellenback and are generally unsullied by human footprints. There is just something about gently undulating swells of pristine sand touched only by coastal breezes. Of course, the aesthetic qualities of the dunes were somewhat lost on the boys who tend to look upon the dunes as one big cat-turdless sandbox to play in. Packs and all, they were soon sliding and rolling down the dunes, the concept of actually walking across the sands being totally lost on them.

Our home for the night
We set up camp on the eastern edge of the dunes with a great overlook of an unnamed lake. Right away the boys lamented the fact they had no swimming trunks so I told them to skinny-dip.  "Skinny dip, what's that?" they chorused and before I could finish explaining the concept, their empty clothes fluttered to the ground and two naked boys were swimming in the lake. It was kind of like hiking with Lane and Dale.

A darn fine sunset
After setting up tents, they boys hit the dunes again and for some odd reason, they just had to frolic on the sand in their shorts. It didn't matter there were hours and hours left in they day, all that time had to be used for the sole purpose of play. I too played in my own little way, using the time to harvest pictures of the minimally clothed boys capering in the dunes. The photos will be saved for later use, such as when they graduate from high school. This went on until the sun went down and speaking of which, it was mostly a darn fine sunset too, even though a bank of clouds took away the last-light-of-day denouement. 

Morning view from our campsite
We were up and at 'em bright and early the next day and I think the boys did not find taking camp down to be all that much fun, especially when Grandpa barked out commands like the meanest drill sergeant ever. Extra-especially when all that sand was within sight of our camp, just waiting to be played on. 

At play in the world's biggest sandbox
On the way out, the boys wanted to tear across the dunes but I forbade them from doing so, telling them we had an obligation to at least leave this portion pristine and untouched for the next hikers to enjoy. It was then that Issiah said something that told me I had done the right thing. "Grandpa," he said "are there bugs that bite and their venom is such that your hair falls out?"

"Not that I know of", I replied

He pondered my answer for a bit "Oh, I thought that might have happened to you!"

Awesome and in the face
Okay, that was not "the moment" but this was: as he was forcefully expressing his opposition to leave-no-trace dune hiking, he stopped and gazed out across the dunes from our overlook. He noticed the grassy foredunes across the sandy expanse; he saw the ocean shimmering in the morning sun; the ponds serenely reposing in the low spots; the wind-made ripples on the sands; he recited to me all the things he was suddenly seeing and the boy certainly has a keen eye for detail. After telling me all the things he liked about the view he capped it off with "I feel like I'm staring awesome in the face." And if that's not awesome and in the face, then I don't know what is.

Baker Beach Dunes in the late afternoon
For more pictures of this weekender, please visit the Flickr album.


  1. Sounds like a great time for all! I would imagine the boys finally got to use your shovel?! Skinny dipping.....we will have to be careful next time we hike with you!