Cape Cod Hike: Monomoy River Conservation Lands

After finishing our windy walk at the Coy’s Brook Wetlands, we made our way over to the Monomoy River (on the Harwich / Chatham border). It was still windy and cold, so this woodsy walk with glimpses of water views made for some good outdoor exercise given the weather. According to the Harwich Conservation Trust website this hike is 1.25 miles and the parking lot is off of Bay Rd. There were a handful of parking spots (not a ton). We were only one of two cars in the lot, so on a wintery day it’s easy to park.

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You can actually kayak along this part of the Monomoy River, but be sure to check the tide and time your visit right. My dad kayaked here and got cut up trying to exit his kayak along the newly renovated bridge area (by Route 28 on the map).

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Yay, the trail head!

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It’s woodsy walking out to the cliffside overlooking the river.

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This is the viewpoint out along the river. See the benches? On a warm day, pack a picnic!

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We did some birding as we followed the path along the cliffside.

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Eventually the water falls from view and it’s back to being a woodsy trek.

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You’ll hit an open area with power lines and you can see about the trail clearly continues along this opening..

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Following the power lines…

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And eventually you’ll follow the path to the right back into he woods where the hike loops back to the  parking lot. This was a great hike to link with the short Coy walk for a fuller workout. We also stopped in nearby Chatham at the fish pier to look for seals (and sharks.. I’m always looking for sharks).

If you’re looking for more exercise, or coffee/lunch, head into Main Street in Chatham and stroll around this super adorable street full of shops and food options.

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Cape Cod Hike: Coy’s Brook Woodlands

I’m getting a little backlogged in hikes to share with you, so I hope to post a couple this week. When I was in Cape Cod two weeks ago, it was blustery cold and SUPER windy. We did the Bells Neck Hike  on Saturday, and then ventured out on Sunday to two different hikes. The first was Coy’s Brook Woodlands. It was a woodsy walk, less than a mile, with water/marsh views for half of it.

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Click on the map above and it will take you to the Harwich Conservation Trust (who made the map) and you’ll see official details from the hike. Below are photos of this trek on a cold early March 2017 weekend.

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The trail begins off a small parking lot on Lathrop Ave in Harwich Cape Cod, MA. There’s not a ton of parking, but on this freezing day it was only us and a woman walking her 3 dogs.

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The trail very quickly loops down toward the marsh, so interesting views are seen for over 50% of this trail. The tress also helped cut down on the cold wind. This was a very easy trail. You can see from the path image above, it was relatively flat, wide, and not very long. We did this on the same day that we did another short hike, just to make it feel like more exercise.

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Marsh views.

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You can see above, the trail has some bumps but it’s not very hilly and at under a mile, it didn’t take long at all.

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For birders needing to sit and wait for their winged friends, there is a bench along the water. The loop back to the car was woodsy, but before you know it you’re passing a water tower and the back of a private home, and it spits you out in the parking lot. Beware dog (hopefully) poop! I managed to get it on my hiking boots and it was a mess to get off my shoe. Classic Bethany.

Hike: Bells Neck Conservation Lands

This past weekend (March 4th to be exact) my parents and I ventured out into the freezing cold winds to get some exercise out in Cape Cod. After a week of 60 degree temps, we were SO COLD doing this walk (as you can see from our Michelin Man layers). I feel like the photos show how cold it was, but don’t convey just how windy it was. We are lucky none of us were blown into the West Reservoir of Bells Neck. I’m sure Ill do this walk again in the summer and share the differences!

We started by parking at the lot on the right of the map and then we worked our way around the water clockwise. I want to note that this was a pretty easy walk, 50 minute walk. From the parking “lot” (only room for a handful of spots) to the Fish Ladder, it was a pretty wide path, not much close brush and had pretty views throughout. The loop from the Fish Ladder back to the car, that north side is more woodsy, and a much tighter trail. In the summer I can see this being over grown and scratchy/itchy on bare legs (in shorts), which clearly wasn’t a problem today in our arctic layers.

Difficulty: EASY level #2 (1 being a paved path – 5 being an intense up hill hike)

Length: 2.75 miles according to the website, but I imagine it depends which route you go. It took us about 50 minutes, and we stopped for pictures and to look for birds.

Best Time to go: This will be busy (limited parking) + over grown in the height of summer (ticks!). Slightly off season is probably best. Spring/Fall. It’s also a great place to kayak!

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Map Provided by the Harwich Conservation Trust

For the original map + official details about the hike click HERE. Above is my version with the pink path showing you the route we took.

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Look at the level of layers required! I think we just had an especially rough day, wind wise.

The map up above has “B”s marking the benches along the loop. It’s probably more fun to sit when you aren’t being blown over into the water.

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The plants and branches were frozen to the water along the edges.

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This is the view of the Herring River on one side of the fish ladder.

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Above is the view of the West Reservoir. So peaceful. Given the cold temps, I think we only passed one person on this trail (and another person along the bike path). So still.

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Above and below are shots of the fish ladder, currently unoccupied by herring fish but soon will have fish jumping along the ladder.

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After the fish ladder we continued on to make this a loop along the water. This route takes you by privately owned cranberry bogs. Such a fun punch of color in a wintery landscape. Keep an eye out for “trail” tags marked on the trees showing you were to jump back into the woods along the path.

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These two images above show you that the wide path snakes along the edge of the property untimely meeting up with the bike path.

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Here’s the entrance to the bike path, which also has a map of the area posted for reference. When you reach the bike path take a right and continue on the path until you see a clearly marked path back toward the water, also on the right.

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This is the view along the path- pretty!

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Above is my Dad in giant layers trying to hide behind a tiny map. Can you spot Waldo? This is the path heading off from the bike path. You can see, it’s easy to spot.

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This part of the path gets a little narrower, and you can see that poison ivy+ticks might make this part tricky in the summer.

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We did an added little loop on a peninsula that juts out into he water, and then made out way back to the car.

I was with my birding parents, so they were constantly on the lookout for birds and we did end up seeing a massive blue heron. It was good at hiding among the tall grass by the water, so I don’t have a photo of it worth sharing. Keep a lookout for them when you’re exploring the area.

As windy and as cold as it was, we were really happy to get out of the house and get some exercise along a woodsy path (that cuts down on the wind!) and with pretty views of the water. I’ll for sure be doing this walk again during a different season and show the contrasting images.

 

My Quick Voyage East

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Over Memorial Day weekend I was lucky enough to make a quick trip home to see my parents on the East Coast. Unfortunately I found myself in a tough spot with an unruly (aka super drunk) passenger sitting behind me. As much as I wanted to get to the East Coast as  fast as possible, I’m grateful that the pilot decided it was unsafe in the plane and we made an emergency landing where this passenger was arrested. I was one of two victims in this situations, and it truly was my first time feeling like a victim. It’s not fun. Even thinking about it now is upsetting and I’m doing my best to block it out. It’s never good feeling violated and trapped in the sky. But, that is behind me and my weekend continued once I finally made it out to Cape Cod. 

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This whole ordeal cost me most of Friday (out of a 3 day trip) giving me late Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to be with my family. I did my best to put the days events out of my mind and really enjoy my trip. It started with a delicious belated birthday dinner for me at Marshside in Dennis, MA. Followed by a homemade cake made by my mother with love, and a night of boardgames!  

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On Saturday, I awoke to partly cloudy skies, but it didn’t ruin the day! My mom and I made a visit to the beach and in the afternoon my dad and I took a nice ride on the bike path. 

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It was so pretty, even with the gray sky. 

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The bike ride was followed by a big family meal out with my Aunt Chris, Uncle Doug and cousins Julie and David. It’s been so long since we’ve been all together and it was such a fun time. 

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Sunday morning was rainy, which delayed our kayaking plans, but it allowed for awesome reading nook time! There’s nothing like doing the crossword, sipping coffee and watching nature outside the window. It’s how I want to start all of my days. 

My good friend Henry (you might remember from HERE) made a long trip out to Cape Cod to share lunch with me and my parents. What a fun reunion. I think it even had to do with the clouds lifting, which made for excellent afternoon kayaking weather.

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We headed to Bell’s Neck/West Reservoir where my Dad and I kayaked around the lake while my mom did a loop on the walking path. 

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Dork. 

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I’m not a birder. At all. But you have to appreciate that while kayaking around you’re seeing rare looking birds flying/perched all around you. My dad is a birder, so he was in heaven.

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“THIS ONE’S SO RARE!” 

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After doing a loop, we decided it was time to head home to get ready for my last meal on the Cape. My parents love to do dinner on the beach, since one of the local beaches doesn’t close until very late (midnight?). They suggested we get fresh fish from Seafood Sam’s to-go and take it with us picnic style. 

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Sorry for the bad image, but isn’t this set-up awesome?! Oysters, scallops, and onion rings with a view of the ocean and lit by candle (well electric candle anyway). What a treat! Once the sun set, people started shooting fireworks off down the beach, so we even got a show. The clouds subsided and once the stars came out it was perfect for star gazing and we even had reclining beach chairs. Images couldn’t capture how calm, beautiful and relaxed the whole night was. I wish I could bottle that up, It made me think of how little I see stars, which is so sad.

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Monday morning it was time to get up early and begin my trek home. After my bus arrived at Logan airport and hour+ behind schedule, I found out my plane was also very delayed. The one positive is that I got to see Fred Armisen also heading to NYC after spending the weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for Seth Meyer’s wedding. After a lot of prayer and running, I ended up making my layover despite all the delays.