Wherever I go, my favorite time of year is the off-season. It may be the shoulder season when the tension is thick with anticipation. Or it may be a time of year when a place seems to go to sleep. The 60 mile peninsula of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a sleepy place in late January. And I love it.
Since moving back to Massachusetts, I have re-kindled my connection to the ocean. The vast outer beaches of Cape Cod National Seashore provide a seemingly infinite theater for tapping into the ocean’s spirit. What I find as fascinating as the ocean itself is the varied ecosystems. Within a mile you can traverse from marine, estuarine, fresh water and terrestial habitats. Start from the beach, hike up a series of dunes, through a pond system, into a Pitch Pine forest, to a swamp with very rare, localized plants.
One of the globally threatened ecosystems native only to a 100 mile strip on the US Atlantic coast is the Atlantic White Cedar swamp. A trip to the largest remaining cedar swamp at Marconi Station near Wellfleet, was truly a magical experience.
We started exploring the quiet and cold shoreline late afternoon.
The historical significance of Marconi Station beach is that from here in 1903 Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless cross Atlantic message from President Roosevelt to King Edward VII of England: “most cordial greetings and good wishes”. (LOL technology has come a long way baby).
Dune erosion has made getting to the beach treacherous (at least with 20 lbs of camera gear).
A few miles down from here a group of intrepid surfers set up a belay rope to get to the beach!
From here we walked from the dunes into the pine forest:
Note to self; come back here in May when the heathers are in bloom.
The Pitch Pine and Bear Oak trees were frosted with snow from the recent storms.
After a mile we got to a boardwalk which circled the Cedar Swamp. It was a spiritual journey and I felt unable to take a photo which would tell the whole story.
detail of Atlantic Cedar bark:
I’ll Be Back.