A Cape Cod Notebook

Here’s a Cape Cod factoid that you can use at parties during the holiday season: “What is the only town on Cape Cod that has a pedestrian sidewalk running continuously from one end of the town to the other? Think about that for a moment or two. Got an answer?

Alexey Sergeev / https://www.asergeev.com/pictures/k/r-364-02.htm

Sometimes the history of a place speaks to us in indirect, or hidden ways. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk up Lombard Hollow, one of half a dozen or so glacial valleys that run roughly parallel from east to west along the Wellfleet-Truro line. I don’t remember walking up this hollow before in December. It is a different place now, so open and bare, like a room with the walls removed. Its contours seem alive, active. As you walk up the nearly flat, fairly straight road, the ridges on either side loom high and level.

Library of Congress

One night last week, about 3:30 a.m., I was woken out of a deep sleep by a sound – a sound at once familiar, infuriating, and implacable. I knew instantly what it was, and what I would have to do, and I was already sorry.

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.

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