Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tahkenitch Lake Backpacking Adventure!

Anson wasn't afraid of the dark woods, thankfully.

My wife, son, and I went just south of Florence this weekend for our first backpacking trip as a family. As you might remember we tried backyard camping a few months ago with great success so it seemed we should be able to manage a more adventurous outing now that the little man is four months old. We were very lucky in many ways this weekend and fulfilled our goal of getting out in nature, seeing something new, and having some time alone to reconnect with one another.

We got a late start (what else is new?) to our trip and arrived at Tahkenitch Campground & Trailhead around 7:30p.m. We knew we had about an hour and a half of daylight left so we got moving quickly and were on our way to Threemile Lake which was, you guessed it, three miles from the trailhead.

We didn't know what the trail would have in store for us becuase we'd never been there, but were pleasantly surprised that there weren't many hills or difficult sections. We didn't know if we'd find a flat spot for our tent, but were delighted to find a great forested area next to the dunes that was very flat and protected from the wind.

About two miles from our destination the light had diminished so much that hiking through the thickly-covered forest required a headlamp. The dogs, as well as Claire and I, were ambitious about hiking regardless of the time of day so we made good time getting to Threemile Lake, having taken just about 1.5 hours.

We pitched the tent and cooked our dinner before I went out with the doggers to explore our campsite. We were on a tall bluff about 50-75 feet above sea level and therefore had a commanding view of the coast and dunes to the south. The night sky yielded a full moon, the Perseids meteor shower, and the occasional wisp of clouds moving across the horizon. After putting the young one to sleep, we enjoyed a relaxing light show, trying to find meteors racing across the sky.

What a campsite!

After a good nights' sleep (with a four month old that is a very relative term!), we awoke to the now-familiar sound of crashing waves. A light breeze and the low sun kept us cool as we began our hike, meandering through the sand on our way to the ocean. 

The dogs enjoyed a quick dip in Threemile Lake as we made our way to the shoreline. We were smart and only put waterproof items in their dog packs, knowing how much they like to swim.

Wet dogs=happy dogs
Threemile Lake

 Once we arrived at the beach I was pleasantly surprised to find many animals, although most of them ravaged by seabirds, washed up along the shore. We saw numerous crabs, starfish, and jellyfish.

Seashell carnage

As we walked further along we looked for our trail back to the car to complete our six mile loop. We came across people hiking on the beach, backpackers like us, heading home from their own adventures. The whole time we were backpacking we saw only 13 people. It was refreshing to be in such solitude along the coast.

A great Oregon memory

We were approaching noon about the time we left the seaside, and the sun was high in the mostly cloudless sky. The breeze was virtually non-existent and made for a hot walk back the last 1.5 miles to the car. We were happy to have found the shady trail again and get off the sand, which made for hot and difficult hiking.

Shade from the surprisingly hot sun

All in all, we know that we are very lucky for many reasons, not the least of which is to live in such a wonderful place like Oregon. Anson is lucky to have been born here, and we are lucky to be able to take him on such beautiful hiking adventures.


Until next time...


  1. Thanks for the trip report! Our plans just changed for the weekend and we are considering the dunes.

  2. You're welcome! If you go I would love to hear how it went for you.