Robert Finch

Robert Finch is a nature writer living in Wellfleet. 'A Cape Cod Notebook' won the 2006 New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.

Robert Finch has lived on and written about Cape Cod for forty years. He is the author of six collections of essays, including "The Iambics of Newfoundland" (Counterpoint Press), and co-editor of "The Norton Book of Nature Writing." His new book, "The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk Along Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore," will be out in May.

His essays can be heard on WCAI every Tuesday at 8:30am and 5:45pm.

Claudette Gallant / goo.gl/RGhSnv

On a sunny and breezy day last month, Kathy and I walked out into the dunes to pick some wild cranberries that grow in the wet bogs there. I’m always newly surprised at the extent, the sweep of the dunes, the expanse of ridges and valleys they contain.

Joseph goo.gl/nTYjLJ / goo.gl/lrxVf4

 

Late one afternoon a few weeks ago, I took a walk along a Wellfleet beach facing Cape Cod Bay. At its start, this beach is backed by a low line of dunes, but after a few hundred feet, the dunes rise to become a low glacial bluff, a mix of sand and clay perhaps 20 feet high. 

Steve Heaslip / CapeCodTimes / https://goo.gl/TP2Wx5

Some of you may recall—or perhaps may have seen—the dramatic geological event that occurred last summer at the Cahoon Hollow parking lot in Wellfleet. On the morning of August 19, after receiving six to seven inches of rain the day before, a large portion of the parking lot collapsed, creating a steep gully or ravine about 25 feet wide and 40 feet long, opening down onto the beach.

Halloween Nostalgia

Oct 31, 2017

It’s become something of a cliché to hear members of my generation go on about how much Halloween has changed since we were kids. The main difference, we always seem to say, is how much freedom we were allowed on that one night of the year when mischief-making and self-disguise were not only approved but actually encouraged.

Kerri Schmidt www.kerrischmidt.com/ampersand/

I remember the first time Kathy and I spent a couple of days in Euphoria, one of the dune shacks in the Provincelands managed by the Peaked Hill Trust. It was the last weekend in October and we arrived just at sunset. All the way out the light grew more and more intense, igniting the dune crests. A gibbous moon hung in the southern sky. The wind was stiff out of the northwest and growing stiffer. We dug the key out of its hiding-place and went inside.

lighthouseantiques.net / goo.gl/VTEBxY

Last week, talking about the Clay Pounds, I mentioned that, despite their dramatic appearance and the significant part they played in the Cape’s maritime history, relatively few people visit the Clay Pounds today.  The problem is one of access. 

The Clay Pounds are one of the few geological features on Cape Cod’s Outer Beach that have endured long enough to have acquired a name. Located just north of Highland Light in north Truro, the Clay Pounds comprise a 40-foot thick band of nearly pure blue clay. Nowhere else on the Cape does anything approach these massive sedimentary deposits.

Wellfleet Historical Society / www.wellfleethistoricalsociety.org

Paradise Valley is a glacial hollow set on the Wellfleet-Truro line. During the late 19th century it was a thriving community of a dozen or more houses, but when Wellfleet’s Herring River dike was built around 1908, the valley was cut off from navigable waters. The community gradually atrophied and was eventually abandoned by the 1920s.

Robert Finch

Sixteen years ago this fall, a month after the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers, my wife Kathy and I bought an old house in Squid Tickle, Newfoundland – a tiny village on the northeast coast of that rocky island. Since then we’ve spent most summers there, far from the raucous noise, pressing crowds, and increasingly scary traffic of Cape Cod’s high season.

drain goo.gl/jxFMjU / goo.gl/lrxVf4

It’s been a nearly perfect week of early September weather, temperatures in the 70s, southwest and northwest breezes, clear or scattered clouds. Yesterday I stopped to have lunch at Gull Pond. It was warm and calm, and the only other people at the public beach were an elderly couple with metals detectors and those long flour-scoop sieves with holes slightly smaller than dimes.

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