Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bearberry Hill, Cape Cod

Take a walk with me up Bearberry Hill near Truro on Cape Cod. True to its name, the hill is in fact just covered with Bearberry, an attractive low shrub that I planted at Eklund Garden a couple years ago. It's not doing all that great at Eklund, but it sure likes the sand dunes on the Cape.

There's a lookout platform at the top of the hill and a spectacular view in all directions. We decided to follow one of the little paths through the hot sand out to the ocean...

...but when we got to the highest dune, we discovered a sheer sand cliff of maybe 100 feet. Too steep to go down, but the waves were soooo inviting.

Looking back from the top of the dunes towards the pines below, we could see vast clouds of pine pollen blowing in the wind. Ugh.

There was lots of interesting vegetation along the dunes. Here was some tiny Beach Heather in bloom. There was also lots of Bayberry, the shrub they once used to make candles, and lots of poison ivy.

A second viewing platform overlooked one of the many kettle ponds on the Cape that were once used to grow cranberries.

This isn't cranberry, though. Cranberries grow in the places that are too wet to walk for the most part, and this was growing along the sandy trail. This is Bearberry.

And here's some Dusty Miller. Yup, the same stuff that grows in gardens. It escaped and now grows wild on the dunes.

Walking on the dunes was hot, even though it was supposedly only about 70 degrees. It felt more like 85. We headed for another beach access point much further down the trail, and this time found a beautiful quiet beach.


If you look close, you can see a seal in the photo above.

The sand cliffs were interesting, composed of various layers that were eroding from the wind, sand pouring over the edges like sugar from jar.

This pod of gravel and one bigger rock looks like it got washed up in a really big storm. A Nor'Easter, I bet.

We then headed into the forest and the bog house, where this Box Turtle was found hiding in the pine needles. He wisely refused to stick his head out.

The old boghouse and bog were just about the end of the line for us. Instead of retracing our steps on the hot dunes, we followed a fire road past the house right out to nearby North Pamet Road. Fortunately little short cut, as we had no more water left to drink. Those dunes are hot when the sun is out! After the hike, we got to pick over 100 dog ticks off of the dog.


The Royal Fish said...

This hike is at the top of our list to do when we get to the Cape this summer. Thanks for the preview!

Pinakin said...

A really informative blog. Cute pics too.

Andrew Hay said...

Thanks for the hiking tip. I'm from Eastham and didn't know of this hike. One correction--that photo with the rock in the bluff. Not deposited by a Nor'easter but deposited there along with the whole sea scarp itself about fifteen thousand years ago when the Lauurentide glacier made the Cape in the first place. Gladly chat with you more about the Cape's geological origins. Great photos that show the interesting glacial outwash.