Category Archives: Cape Cod National Seashore

Still an Island

A stretch of sand clasps Great Island to the mainland now.  But, before the currents of Cape Cod Bay swept the sandbar into place Great Island truly was an island, the residue of melting glaciers.

If Cape Cod were the muscled arm of a flexing bodybuilder, Wellfleet, Massachusetts would be the forearm.  Chilly Atlantic waters crash heavily on the open ocean side inevitably tugging down statuesque bluffs in the ongoing rearrangement of sand by Sea.  The inner side of this forearm is Great Island.

We hiked the Great Island Trail after a weekend of celebration: a fiftieth birthday and the subsequent reunion of favorite family and friends. Great times. I had run the roads of Wellfleet the morning before and was primed to walk its adjacent shores and marshes before driving back toward Boston.

We followed the Great Island Trail through a pitch pine forest, by salt marshes and along sandy shores adorned with flowing sea grasses.  Color was nuanced across a spectrum of gold, brown and russet red, pierced by the brilliant blues of sky and sea.

And as we wandered through its desolate beauty and tranquil seclusion, Great Island still felt every bit the island it once was.

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Chilly Challenge

This time, the adventure belonged to another. I was but an observer standing silently to the side, impressed but uninspired to follow.

Walking in Wellfleet, Massachusetts on pristinely beautiful Cape Cod one October, I happened upon one of the area’s many kettle ponds. These freshwater basins —Thoreau’s Walden Pond is one of the better known examples— are virtually self-contained ecosystems dependent upon precipitation for their continued existence. Formed by melted glacial ice, they receive no waterflow from a river or stream. Their clear fresh raindrop waters sparkle blue within settings of verdant evergreen forests. Striking. Captivating. Inviting.

But still…  the air temperature was struggling toward 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I was bundled and zipped into a winter coat. And as I admired the vivid crisp color of this particular pond, I saw a splash. I watched for the fish to leap again. Instead I spotted the steady stroke of a swimmer making his/her way through frigid waters. No wet suit. Warmed only by the standard insulation with which our bodies are equipped.

As one with an aversion to cold water -who always does the toe dip temperature test before diving into a lake or pool, I was awed by the swimmer’s fortitude. I watched as he/she reached shore’s edge and then began the long swim back. Methodical. Unwavering. Uncomfortably chilled by my few stationary minutes spent watching, I pulled my zipper just a little higher to my neck and finally turned away. Walking briskly across pine needles to warm myself again…

Cape Cod Things To Do on raveable

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Floating on Fall

Cape Cod in October.  Wellfleet, Massachusetts kicked back and relaxed a little last weekend. The crowds had left with the summer temperatures, but the sun still sparkled brightly on the Atlantic.

Straw colored grasses waved at a sapphire sea. The salt marshes of the Cape Cod National Seashore displayed some of the same rosy and ruddy reds of the scrub oak forests, but as an unexpected sort of gala carpeting rather than merely the draping foliage of dangling autumn leaves.

Perfection comes in varied modes, flavors and sizes.  For me, Cape Cod in October is an excellent fit.

 

More album photos at Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook and on Google+

 

Updated from October 15, 2010.

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