A dune folly and a hard road – OCT Day 15

  • Oregon Dunes KOA to Sunset Bay State Park
  • Mileage – 17.5
  • Accumulated elevation gain – 1120 ft
  • Pain status – doing fine

Day 15 started with the best weather we’ve had. What a lovely day! 

I feel that every post starts with a road closure, lack of boat, weather delay or some other reason why we have to change our planned route. Today is no different. 

The guidebook says: 

From the KOA, head south on 101. Turn right onto Hauser Depot Rd. Turn left onto Sandy Way. Go 0.7 miles. Turn Left. Head toward the beach. Go 5.8 miles to Horsfall Beach Road. 

So, that is what we did. Waking on Hauser Depot Road. Look at that beautiful blue sky! 

Where we are supposed to head to the beach: 

The dune hiking was very hard going. The sand was so deep. There were ATVs everywhere. It was almost as scary as the highway except ATVs are noisier so you can hear them coming and try to get out of the way.  There was just so much sand! And as always, there was deep water to attempt to bypass. 

After 2 miles of this sand slogging, we flagged down an ATV and asked if we were close to the beach. Answer: there is no way to the beach. The path was flooded and hasn’t been used in years. That wasn’t what we wanted to hear. 

We turned around to head back. Spirits were pretty low at the prospect of two more useless miles through the super-slow sand. But it was still a beautiful day and I was happy for that! 

A second ATV rider confirmed that there was no way to the beach. Our quest had been a folly.  

My shoes do great at keeping out sand on the beaches but this sand was too deep. After 18 miles on the beach I had only a tiny bit of sand. After 1.5 miles, I’d collected this much: ​​​​


We returned to Hauser Depot Road with over 5 miles logged and no distance gained. We called a taxi to give us a fast forward to 7 Devils Brewery in Coos Bay for lunch. Waiting for the taxi at an ATV staging area:

While waiting for the taxi another hiker came past. His name was James and he was from England. He had been doing the PCT but the trail is snowed out, so he switched over to the OCT to continue north. Same story as the couple from yesterday. James:

Lunch at 7 Devils. It was very yummy!

After a quick stop at Bi-Mart to stock up on food, we had 11 miles of road walking to Sunset Bay State Park. Google maps had a quicker route that would save us 30 minutes. It took us through the residential and rural areas of Coos Bay. 

The shortcut road was pretty, and pretty darn scary. There was no shoulder and though traffic was light, the cars were going really fast. When a car came (“Car!”) we had to jump into the weeds and hope for the best. 

While we walked, the clouds were coming in fast. You could see them overhead, racing by. It gave you a bit of vertigo as they were moving way faster than we were. 

Shoe maintenance: 

As we ended our scary trip down evil Libby Lane and into Charleston, our bright sunny day turned cold and cloudy. With 3 more miles to go, a cold gray cloud descended on us and just sat there. 😦

Charley Tuna in Charleston:

We passed an oyster processing place. That’s a lot of shells! 

There is a small neighborhood as you approach Sunset Bay State Park. A woman walking a Newfoundland joined us in our walk. Her name was Karen and the Newfie was Fozzy. She was very nice and offered to drive us the 3 miles we had to backtrack back to Charleston in the morning. Yay! Trail Angel!!  I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of Fozzy. I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly.

Sunset Bay is supposedly really beautiful. In the middle of our cloud, you couldn’t see much. I think there are two more big rocks out there beyond the foggy mist. 

The campground was very nice and the park area had lots going on. I would definitely like to return here and see it properly! 

The firewood cart came by and we decided it was too late and too much hassle for a fire. After he was gone, though, I changed my mind and wanted a fire. I tried to chase him down but he was gone. It was almost 9:00 pm so we thought it was his last drive by. But we were wrong! He came by again about 15 minutes later. We were talking amongst ourselves that if he would start it for us, we’d buy the wood. He stopped and offered us the wood for free! He said that since we hiked all the way up there and he saw us limping in, we should consider it a gift from the park! He even gave us a fire-starter puck, too. As I was unwrapping the wood, a guy from a nearby campsite who overheard everything we’d been saying brought over a smoldering log and started our fire for us! Trail magic!! 


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