We were wondering if the Oregon dunes were bigger and steeper than we had experienced so far. Oregon Dunes Trail seemed like a good way to find out. We parked at the overlook and wandered down the nice easy trail to the beach. It was quite a bit more overgrown than we expected though. Why so much grass? We later learned that in the 1930s, European beach-grass was planted to stabilize the dunes. Unfortunately, it spread and covered a large chunk of the dunes and drastically changed the landscape. We noticed this as we walked along the beach and back toward the truck. So it ended up that the dunes in this particular area were about as big as we had seen previously, but the hike still took us through some interesting terrain.
If you want to learn more about the Oregon Dunes restoration project and how to help save them, you can visit saveoregondunes.org for more information.
We ventured into Old Town Florence on a cold and cloudy day. Our first mission was a hot drink to warm ourselves, so we followed signs for Sweet Magnolia Bakery and Cafe. They led us to an odd little building where we found not only coffee but chocolate croissants. We spent the next couple hours ducking into cool shops to check out the unique treasures and grab some more warmth.
One of the art galleries displayed beautiful hollow blown glass balls that were called ‘floats’. The shop keeper explained that starting in the early 1900s, they were made to be attached to Japanese fishing nets so the nets would float. In rare circumstances, they would detach from the net and float down to Pacific and land on the beaches of Oregon & Washington. Fishing nets are now floated with different materials, but local artisans still create the glass balls as decor items. Better still, the creators sometimes hide them on the beaches near Lincoln City for lucky treasure hunters to find. We thanked her for explaining the history and continued onto Mo’s Seafood for lunch.
For more information about the hidden glass floats, check out https://www.oregoncoast.org/glass-floats
Sweet Creek Falls Trail
When visitors brochures advertise a hike with waterfalls, it goes on our itinerary. Waterfalls are always worth a trip out to see. The day was another cold and wet one, so the parking and trails were virtually empty. We started with Sweet Creek Falls and enjoyed how the sun cracked through the clouds and glinted off the cascading water. We kept walking and found a series of small unlabelled waterfalls. Our favorite was a short multitiered fall that we were able to get quite close to. We sat and watched how the water moved down the river, over one small cliff and then another and then another. It ended up being a great walk in the woods and a good reason to get outside.