Sunday, September 4, 2011
We spent a week in Cape Cod exploring the shorelines, marshes and towns. A large part of the peninsula is protected as a National Seashore and you could literally walk for thirty miles long the beach.
The kids were sworn in as Junior Rangers at the NPS visitor's center. I love the National Park System. The rangers and volunteers do good work for the planet. We hiked down the beach over a mile to a known seal haul out and there were supposed to be over 500 seals on a sand bar and we saw only about 40 near the shore. A volunteer told us that someone comes down to study them every day and that this was the first day in two years that there weren't large numbers. We would have loved to have seen all 500 but I was so impressed that someone is there everyday recording what happens. We went on short marsh hikes through the parklands and other sanctuaries and I saw the biggest and most beautiful salt marshes I have every seen. It really makes me wonder how the East coast looked before colonization. It is breathtaking.
We visited Woods Hole, the most famous marine biology research town in the country. I would love to return there someday for a course. We went to all of the small exhibits about marine research and the aquarium, which was the first public aquarium for education in the country. The town is right on Nantucket Sound and is filled with marine scientists.
The highlight of the trip was the beach. We went to a different beach every day. My favorite was Coast Guard Beach in the National Seashore. I read Henry Beston's famous book The Outermost House about his observations of nature while living in a house perched on the edge of Coast Guard beach. The house has since washed into the sea , but as you walk where he walked back in 1926, the landscape is magical; his descriptions are perfect. I ran for a distance farther down the beach and along the dunes to soak it all in. There are some protected Dune Shacks farther north and you can apply for a permit to stay in them. I think that is going on my life bucket list.
The kids swam in the ocean, in the waves, for the first time. We live on Long Island Sound and while it is connected to the ocean, it is not the same. I love that the kids are experiencing the ocean and all of its life forms. We will go back to Cape Cod. Jupiter plans to get a surfboard before the next trip.