Bella Beach to Gleneden Beach

IMG_0160This was one of the very early beach walks that I photographed. Therefor, I’ve used some of the pictures for other posts. Hopefully, this won’t distract from this post too awfully much.

The Gleneden beach State Recreation Site is one of the nicest accesses for this part of the coast that I know of. Not crowded, convenient restrooms, tons of parking, easy to find, a grassy area with a view for picnics and whatnot, and an easy beach access considering how steeply the land drops to the beach.IMG_0162

On this particular trip down the beach things were not the status quo for the sand. Much of the sand that normally makes it’s home there had been washed out leaving behind bedrock, boulders, cobbles, and gravel bars. Based on the amount and size of the agates I found, I would guess that it doesn’t not happen very often. I also found a couple of bottles and an interesting piece of flotsam during my walk. IMG_0166


Private access abound on this section of beach.

The access at the other end is from the Bella Beach housing development. It’s not exactly a public access per say. But it’s off a public road and nobody will hassle you if you use it. I went back to this section of beach a couple of times with high hopes of finding more agates but the gravel bars were submerged in sand.

All and all I like this beach. I was a little apprehensive at the time about taking my dogs across the slippery boulders and bedrock. As it turns out my dogs are more than capable of scurrying nearly anywhere I can find footing.glen


The Siletz Spit AKA Salishan

If you find yourself making plans for a beach walk with me, and I ask you if you feel like a short walk or a lengthy one, you may want to ask for clarification. On this particular trek my good friend Dan may have gotten more than he had signed up for. Starting at the first public access point south of the mouth of the Siletz River we walked all the way up and back. We walked right around seven miles round trip.Picture7 1107

All things considered it was a lovely stretch of beach. We were all but alone on miles of coarse sand. The Siletz Spit was created by the drawback of water from a tsunami around 700 years ago. These days a lucky few own vacation homes out on this narrow strip of land, surrounded by water on three sides. The sand there is rather steep, letting the breakers come hurtling onto the beach in tremendous fashion but stopping them short.

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Other folk on the wrong side of the bay.

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Dan moved in closer for a good look at the Harbor Seals. I didn’t dare take my dogs any closer than I did. Sometimes the presence of packs of large carnivores makes me wary.

At the north end of the beach you reach the Siletz River.. or maybe the Siletz Bay… or I dunno… some other body of water? At any rate a rookery of seals (yup, rookery. I looked it up) calls it home. However the best part is looking across the water at all the other folk visiting Taft. You just know they are wondering “how did those guys get over there?”

Soon after we turned to start the journey back we found a small shrine of sorts. I’m not sure if it was a memorial or just a sort of community found art piece.Picture7 1120

As we walked along the bay side of the spit we decided to walk through Salishan to get back to the truck. Salishan is a gated community sitting on what in my opinion should be a state park. But instead it contains a golf coarse, vacation homes, and a gate to keep you out.glen2

From The D River State Park to Nelscott

We started this section of sand at the Nelscott beach access. Which, by the way, is darling. There are restrooms, parking for 3 or 4, foot washes, and a picnic table. All of these amenities are somewhat unremarkable except for the fact that the access is tiny and is usually nearly empty.2021

The beach here is cover in the customary collection of small creeks, as well as an uncustomary assortment of  rocks and logs. in one place a small creek and rock formation combine forces to become a lush green patch of slippery flora.  IMG_0669


An aluminum bottle the once held Fanta made it here all the way from Asia.

Much of this beach is, however, covered in coarse sand that builds up in layered dunes covering mounds of drift wood that are cut off in steep edges by the last high tide. On this trip there was an assortment of flotsam to be had as well as several small gravel bars baring agates. IMG_0667

By and large the beach was fairly empty. Most of the people seemed to be clustered at either end near the access points. Some were out sort of sunbathing others building sand castles and a small few were flying kites. The few that I did pass on their way from end to end must not have had any interest (or skill at finding) agates. Considering how small the gravel bars really were I did quite well. I even found my first black agate on this trip.

All and all I very much like this beach. It’s reasonably secluded considering its right in the middle of Lincoln City. It also has some interesting features that break up the endless flat sand. As always be attentive to the tides. This beach ends up with patches completely underwater at high tide.


The Hard Way: Volume Three

The first morning was a delight. The sun was up, the wind was low, the weather was mild. I have a habit of rising early when camping that was put to shame by my cousin Nick. Re-stoking of the fire, the shuffle of breakfast, and culmination of another trip up and down the beach were the order of the morning.


My brother Issac on a morning walk.

We had planned to take the canoes back to the Salmon River and do some exploring but decided to delay these plans until later in the day as we had to pick up my lovely wife and my cousin Misty at the boat launch along with my two dogs.


My wife, Trina waiting at the dock when we arrived.


Hauling the canoe up the beach.

 My dogs wasted no time making themselves at home and the rest of the day was filling with the preparation of camp food, several more trips up and down the beach, and lots of the gathering of firewood. The next morning we all slept in a bit in an attempt to wait out the wind that had picked up that morning. Once it had settled down a bit, we all emerged from our tents eager to have breakfast and break camp.


The employees of Camp Westwind give us unsolicited grief.

We were most of the way done with our preparations to leave when we were approached by four women wearing walky talkies. They informed us that they were from Camp Westwind and that we were trespassing. Now, to be fair, they weren’t attempting to take ownership of the entire beach, just everything above the vegetation line. Luckily my trip to the State Parks department had left me better informed than our would be hosts. After informing them that they were wrong at that I had my information from the “horses mouth”, they informed us that they would look into that but that they had already called the Sheriffs department and that a sheriff would be waiting for us at the boat launch. The moral of this story is that the employees at Camp Westwind are poorly informed and wield their ignorance with righteous indignation. When we arrived at the boat launch there was no sheriff in sight. However, just as we were finishing loading all of our gear and had decided on a lunch location, a sheriff did make an appearance at the boat launch. He drove his truck into the parking lot, looked me right in the eye, nodded his head, and drove away. It seems that he knew exactly what Camp Westwind was up to. DSC_0849

This was one of my favorite camping trips that I’ve ever taken. That said, everything is more difficult to achieve on a beach. Unless you are ok with putting in a ton of work for a camping trip that you might have to back out of at the last second, I would probably stick to a day trip to this wonderfully beach. The solitude isn’t perfect, but it’s the best in Lincoln County.

An Update for 2015

As (maybe) a few of you have noticed my blog has been somewhat inactive of late. I could give a plethora of reasons for this happening but honestly I doubt anyone much cares. Instead I will give you a little taste of what I have been up to and a promises that I will be posting again.

Beach Dogs IMG_0180

I’ve still been taking my dogs to the beach. Although, not quite with as much emphasis on covering all of the sand in Lincoln County. Instead I’ve been either taking them to a little enclosed beach where I can take them off leash with no fear of losing them, or to a special little secret agate beach via a new overland route I’ve devised. But with the minus tides of spring just around the corner, I want to get my blog up to date so I can finish with that sand.


A friend of mine took me on my first backpacking trip a few summers back. I had a great time despite being under-prepared, over-packed, and under-hydrated. So good of a time that I look forward to every backpacking season with bated breath and have much of my summer pre-planned the previous fall. I take Porter with me everywhere he is allowed, and he loves it.

Tai chi

About a year ago I took up Tai Chi and have very much enjoyed it. I am nearly done learning the form and have recently started learning the sword form as well.


As I am in a construction trade, I considered volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Upon a little more self reflection I decided that I didn’t have any great love for people (sorry folks) and that my efforts would be better spent helping out dogs and cats at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. I now walk dogs a couple of hours a week. (usually. sadly I sometimes get too busy)



Of coarse there are the other things. Weddings, hiking trips, weight loss, travels, restaurants, beard growing, graduations, date nights, gym memberships and all the rest of the variety that is life.

It seems that when you make plans based on the idea that you are bored and have time to accomplish said plans, life will find a way to mess up your boredom. I have a very full plate these days, but it’s never too late to finish something you’ve started. Although for the time being I will be making posts about beach sections that I have already walked with my dogs and photographed. I’ll let you know when I’m done and ready for a brand new section.

The Hard Way: Volume Two

The day had come. The canoes were loaded onto the trailer, the folks from out of town were on their way, the food was in the coolers, the gear was packed, and the sun was shining. The plan was for five of us and my brother Josh’s dog, Kingsley, to meet at the boat launch Friday afternoon. We would boat in and set up camp. Then, Saturday the other two members of the expedition would join us with my two dogs. Sunday we would all boat out and go home.

Here is a visual of the planned route

(1) Launched canoes.

(2) Traveled down the Salmon river.

(3) Landed the canoes on the beach.

(4) Carried the canoes to the campsite.

(5) Enjoyed the beach.

Now, as part of the prep for the trip I had encouraged everyone to pack as light as possible. The space in the canoes was limited so the idea was to only bring food you were going to eat, cloths you were going to wear, and gear that you intended to actually use. There was no room for “just in case”. The one exception being the first aid kit. However as we packed the gear into the canoes, it became clear that every one of us had fudged the rule a little; some more than others. (I brought tiki torches)  Luckily, we managed to fit most everything into the canoes. What wouldn’t fit we left in the vehicles to be gotten the next day when we went to pick up the late comers.

A life jacket for everyone.

The canoe trip down the Salmon River was a delight. The sun was shining, the water was calm, and we were eager to get to the beach. We stayed close to the far side of the river from the dock.  We wanted to be in shallow water in case we swamped one of the canoes.

My brother Isaac and I in what I was calling “Canoe Number One”

It only took us about twenty minutes to reach a place that we deemed landfall worthy. We pulled the canoes up onto the sand and started walking across the sand, scouting for a good place to set up camp. As the beach was pretty much barren of any distinguishing  landmarks, we opted to make use of the first real feature we came across. Which happened to be a semi-hut constructed against a large log.

Choosing a camp was a piece of cake. Lugging all our gear down the beach was a sandy nightmare. Not counting the canoes, each of us made about three trips back and forth with an armful of stuff. The work wasn’t much fun, but like crappy canned food, work is more palatable when you’re camping.

A look back the way we came.

The log even had a garage.

It wasn’t long before we had tents erected, firewood gathered, and beer bottles opened. We each put our tents away from camp in a different direction , as to maximize the solitude of the place.

The view from my tent door. I’ve camped worse places…

After setting up camp, we spent the rest of the day exploring the beach. Because of the nearly non-existent foot traffic on the beach there was a plethora of slightly uncommon beach-combing finds. We found lots of dried starfish, many whole sand dollars, and a tar ball.

Tar balls float in on the tide after collecting anything that touches. The tall stick was an addition by some beach walker.

We spent the remaining daylight setting up camp and exploring the beach. After the sun went down, we enjoyed a nice campfire and I made a nuisance of myself with my camera getting some long exposures.

If you look you can see my floating head.

My brother Josh and his girlfriend Brittany, felt the call of the sandman before the rest of us were ready for beddy-bye. My brother Isaac, my cousin Nick, and I, felt that a late night stroll down the beach was in order. So, bottle of Jamesons in hand, off we went. As it happened none of us anticipated anything noteworthy happening on our stroll  and we went camera-less. However, there was something noteworthy, but absence of a camera wasn’t actually a big deal as the event is nearly impossible to photograph anyway. You see, on the Oregon Coast (and likely elsewhere) there is a phosphorescent microbe of some kind that will momentarily light up blue when disturbed. Conditions have to be just right to find the stuff. There has to be a significantly low tide, a dark moonless night, and a fair amount of wet sand with small standing pools of water. For whatever reason, this beach, on that night, was the biggest concentration of the microbes any of us had ever seen. We spent the better part of two hours splashing around in the pools and stomping on the sand. I slept well that night.

Note: Pictures featuring me were taken by either Isaac or Brittany. Except the floating head.

The Hard Way: Volume One

As you may have notice I’ve been somewhat inactive on my blog. I want to assure you this is not a permanent state of affairs. It’s just that I’ve been busy the past summer and have had little time for the beach. Also ,the ridiculously bad summer weather, the dogs breaking their long leash and their two way leash attachment, and my camera dying, all helped to keep me off the sand. But I’m going to make it up to you. If you read my statement about beach number one in this post, it says “I’ll write a whole post about it later”. Well later is now.

To fully understand the awesomeness of this post I have to take you back to a time before this blog existed. You see, the idea for this blog was a secondary thought to my original plan to simply walk on every beach in Lincoln County. The goal later grew to include my dogs and my camera. Quite a few stretches of sand had passed under my feet and I was using Google Earth to make sure I didn’t miss any. When, lo and behold, I came across a beach on the very northern edge of Lincoln County. There was only one problem… there were no accesses. No roads that I could see, and no roads that Google Earth knew about. I even tossed around the idea of an overland approach. Just grabbing a compass and marching west, right through swamps, over cliffs, and across miles of brush. Besides the obvious reasons I abandoned the idea , all the land I would have needed to cross is privately owned. The strange thing is that despite there being no roads to the area, there seemed to by buildings.

Just to make sure I wasn’t missing something I used Google Maps and placed a marker on the beach. I then told Google maps to find a way there from my house. This didn’t bear any fruit but it did bring my attention to a point of interest marker very near the beach. The marker read “Westwind Stewardship Group”. Better still, the marker was a link.

What this eventually lead me to was a web site for a privately operated, rent-able, summer camp called Camp Westwind. With a little poking around on their web site, I found that among the rentals for large groups, they also offer a rental cabin for up to five people. At first this seemed like great news. I could save that beach for last, rent the cabin, and the wife and I, possibly with some friends, could walk my last leg of Lincoln County sand. The problem with this plan is that Camp Westwind has a strict “no dogs” policy. I started concocting a crazy plan that included renting the cabin, walking two miles out on what they called their “emergency access road”, getting the dogs, walking back in, walking the dogs on the beach, walking them back out, dropping them off, walking back in, and enjoying the rest of the weekend. I started to hate this plan the more I mulled it over. However, the mulling of the plan did bear fruit. It occurred to me that their “no dogs” policy couldn’t possibly be enforced on the beach as all Oregon beaches are state parks. Therefor, if I could get to the beach some other way I would be home free. The “other way” I had in mind… was a boat.

To make sure my new boat idea was seaworthy (yup, a boat pun) my brother Josh and I stopped by the State Parks office in Newport. The lady we talked to there was very helpful. She informed us that not only was it very legal for us to access the beach via boat and to take my dogs with us, but that the particular beach in question was one of the very few beaches in Oregon that you could legally camp on right on the sand, and that she herself goes yearly to camp there. However she also informed us that the Camp Westwind staff were under the mistaken impression that they owned the beach and regularly harassed campers. Needless to say, Josh and I were planning the camping trip before we even got back to the car.

It so happens that back in the late 70’s my dad and several of his brothers along with their wives were taking a group trip to Alaska. As part of the prep for this trip they stopped at the nearest REI, which at the time was in Seattle, for gear. Two of my uncles also each purchased themselves a 19′ square stern Grumman canoe. Two beautiful boats that went to Alaska and came back to the Oregon coast where they made countless trips down the Siletz River. I myself have hundreds of hours logged in the canoes, and am currently trying to find another one to buy.

Having limited room in the canoes didn’t stop us from inviting a gaggle of people on the trip. I won’t bore you with the invite list but in the end there were thee dogs and seven of us; two brothers, two cousins, one wife, one brothers girlfriend, and myself. I made the calls (well, sent out facebook messages. what is this, 1936?) set the date, and started “patiently” waiting.

South From Roads End

This was another one of those great days to be on an Oregon Beach. Which, as I think about it, isn’t a difficult thing for a day to achieve. Sun in the sky and a beer in my pack, are really the only two qualifications I have that can change.

Today’s selection is Ninkasi’s “Spring Reign”, nummy.

On this particular day, we hiked from the Roads End State Recreation Site to a little access that is the entirety of  NW 35th Ct. Which I failed to mention was the end of our hike northwards on a different  day.


The beach had several nice spots to look for agates, many small rocky “islands” just out in the breakers, and for being adjacent to the Chinook Winds Casino was relatively uncrowded. The best place I found for agates was just south of Roads End. Although with the shifting sands of summer, there is no way I can vouch for it’s continued existence.

Memorial Day Madness

Looking back it seems obvious. If you go to the beach on a sunny Memorial Day, you are going to have company. Lots and lots of company. Yet somehow I was in last-man-on-earth mode as I headed to the beach. I was… disappointed.

It didn’t help matters that the next stretch of sandy beach I was planning on traversing started at the D River State Park, one of the busiest beach accesses in Lincoln County on normal day. You might be interested to know that the D River is the shortest river in the world. As you might imagine it is a rather unimpressive sight to behold.2022

From the moment my feet hit the sand, people were all up in my business. It was like everyone from a thousand miles around came to the beach that day and were acting like they owned the place.

There is a little known place in Lincoln City where you can drive your car onto the beach. Every once in awhile there will be a car or two parked down there. On this day there was somewhere around two dozen. And all of the owners of these cars as well as the passengers were out on the small outcropping of rocks, terrorizing the local wildlife. Every sea anemone there must have been poked in the mouth a thousand times that day.

Besides being Memorial Day, it must have been national Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Beach-Off-Leash Day. I know I’ve gone on and on about keeping your dog on a leash while at the beach, but if you can get your dog to stay with you, I honestly don’t have a problem with it. However, if you are like one of the many people I ran into, and your dog pretty much does whatever he wants, perhaps one of the busiest beach days of the year isn’t the best day to take Fido to the beach off-leash for the first time.  As it happens my dogs are lovers not fighters, and are very human and dog friendly. What gets me is that people seem to take this as a given. My dogs are both young, athletic, fast, have very strong jaws, and are always together. If my dogs weren’t lovers and were instead fighters, they would tear your labradoodle asunder before you could say “Poopsie, come here”. I would like to reiterate that in reality, a three year old could push my dogs around.

Play time.

Okay, enough complaining. The weather was great, I found a nice gravel bar with a surprising number of agates considering it was literally fifty feet north of the D River, and the beach was closer to normal occupancy once you were a hundred feet away from an access. The entire beach is lined my houses, condos, and hotels. However, what this does to the ambiance is somewhat made up for by all the very nice public beach accesses.

Roads End

The beaches of Lincoln City are frequently punctuated by access points. There is one access point that is so far north they call it Roads End. Well, they call it Roads End State Recreation Site, to be entirely truthful. 

I’m not sure about the particulars, but the area known as Roads End isn’t exactly part of Lincoln City. The houses in the area are something like 75% vacation rentals, which is a shame in my opinion, as it could be a thriving beach loving community otherwise.

If you are coming to the Oregon Coast to hunt agates, this beach is a must. The agate beds were out far into the spring this year, and come back in the winter every year. However, if you don’t like company you might consider a different beach. Those, 75% vacation rentals are filled with vacationers who go to the beach 100% of the time it seems.

I saw eight other dogs on the beach that day. One was on it’s leash.

If you walk north until you run into the massive headland, you might think you’ve reached… well… the end of the road. But if you are there during low tide, are nimble, and are a little adventurous, you are in luck. There is a path of sorts that will take you around to a hidden beach. By “hidden” I mean you can’t see it without going around. I do not mean “hidden” as in nobody knows about it. Everybody and their vacationers know about it, but it’s still fun to “find” it. Not to mention that it is an awesome beach,  in a very literal sense of the word. The rock formations are pretty darned impressive, and make a great end to a hike.

A view of the hidden beach. (yes I’ve used the pic before… just breath… it’ll be ok)

Update : It seems during the summer enough sand builds up that you can easily walk around the headland. I saw a guy with a cane do it.