Saturday, November 3, 2012

Horsfall Beach

Only 2 more miles of this, dear

There are no falls on Horsfall Beach and there certainly is no Hors, I'm not sure how the name came about or what happened to the missing "e". What there is are miles and miles of sand, grassy dunes, and a bunch of marshes. The lonely beach enjoyed some fame and notoriety several years ago when the New Carissa decided to shipwreck herself on Horsfall Beach. And by the way, as a service to my married male hiking friends, I offer the following advice: don't take your wife hiking in the marshes.

Ha ha ha, they're hiking in the marsh!
The original plan was to visit the remote North Spit by driving down the North Spit Road as far as the road would take us, work our way to the beach and then hike to the end of the spit, looking at the city of Coos Bay across its namesake bay. However, we were lured to an early stop by a wayside whose map showed a trail across Henderson Marsh to the beach.

Wives have no sense of adventure

The short path lasted only about 30 yards before dumping us into the forest, grass, and shrubs next to a swamp full of water colored an unappetizing grayish green. As we kept going, the dense vegetation was pretty intent on forcing us into the water and Dollie was just as intent on not doing that very thing. I met her eyes, set underneath a prominent frown, and in that wordless way of communicating that married people have, we turned around and went back to the trailhead.

Just another blustery day in paradise
Plan B was then executed (instead of me) and we hopped in the car and drove over to Horsfall Beach. Normally, this is a noisy staging area for motorcycles and quads but since this was a blustery day with a threat of rain, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Of course, we were hiking in the wind with a threat of rain but that's what we do.

I'm board, can we go now?
Up and over a prominent grassy foredune and down to the beach we went. There wasn't much but sand, shells, and waves for miles and miles so there really isn't a lot to report. The occasional log on the beach was cause enough for me to kneel and take a picture as there was nothing else to take a picture of.

It's OK Maggie, you're licensed

After several miles, the clouds thickened and the skies darkened, it felt like rain was coming. We climbed to the top of the foredune and had a good look at Henderson Marsh, triggering flashbacks to the marital near-discord from earlier in the day. It was as good as any point to turn around, so back to the north we hiked.

In search of hard sand to walk on

We found that walking halfway up the foredunes was where the really fine sand accrued, making for a hard sand pack and easier walking. Occasionally, logs and driftwood forced us down onto the beach where the soft sand was not as much fun. Squads of pelicans flew by every few minutes, heading south for warmer climes. Not us, we were heading north, away from the storm coming in from the south and we just made it as the rain started just when we headed home in the car.

For more pictures of this hike, visit the photo album in Flickr.

Greetings, from the planet Mouse

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