Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Second hike of 2010-Great Island

"When first viewed by western explorers, Great Island was an island-a high mound of outwash debris left some 18,000 years ago by melting glaciers, then surrounded by the rising sea. Herring River once emptied into Cape Cod Bay north of Great Island, and Great Beach Hill stood as a separate island." - the Great Island Trail Guide.

Last Sunday, even though there was the threat of rain and snow, I made the drive to Wellfleet to once again try to find the Great Island trail. I had tried once before and failed, because I went down the wrong road. This time I brought my new GPS and found it in no time.  It was rather warm, in the 40's and I wasn't quite sure how to dress. Would it be cooler by the water as is usually the case?  I wore track pants, waterproof boots, a tshirt, pullover fleece, and my new Columbia winter jacket. I also wore a clima-cool hat and gloves, because, well...you just never know.

The trail was covered with snow and ice in parts, with patches of earth poking through here and there. Other sections of it were clear. I walked down the trail that lead to the beach, and with dismay realized that most of this walk was going to be in soft sand. Well, I thought, it will be good for my legs, right?

I walked along the trail, which wound around Nauset Marsh. The water was pretty high at the time, so I really had to make sure I stayed to the edge of the trail. My boots were waterproof but I didn't particularly want to test them. As I walked, I realized I was terribly overdressed. It turned out I didn't need the winter jacket, the fleece pullover would probably have been sufficient.  I didn't need the hat either. I took the gloves off about halfway into the walk.
There were quite a few people out that day. It was, after all, warmer than it had been in weeks, so I suppose people wanted to take advantage of it and get outside for some fresh air and excersise.  A 30-ish looking couple were walking toward me and I laughed as their black lab decided to take off on his own and jump in the marsh.  The man looked a little annoyed and yelled to the dog, but the dog was just having too much fun frolicking in the water. He jumped and barked and played and seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.  I laughed and said "now that is one happy dog" to the woman as they passed and she laughed with me. Everyone was just so happy to be outdoors in the middle of January, since we were practically snowed-in during previous weeks.

I took the path that went through the dunes, over to the bay. There, I walked along the beach and just enjoyed being in nature.

As I walked along the beach, I came to a small lean-to.  I'm not sure who built it, or who owns it, but it made me smile. I thought, "I would love to have a little thing like that to sit and rest and enjoy the beach."
 I always joke about running away and living in a hut somewhere out in the wilderness, and here was this little lean-to on the beach. Perfect.

The sky began to darken and the wind was picking up, so I decided to turn back and get back on the trail.

I realized that the weather was going to shorten yet another hike, so I reversed direction and headed back the way I'd come.  Maybe next time I'd get further along the trail. This trail has so much to offer--wildlife, beauty, nature, peace and serenity. During those times when I feel like I want to move away from Massachusetts and start an adventure somewhere else, walks like this one remind me of the beauty that surrounds me. I would surely miss Cape Cod if I left it.

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