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.

 

Exploring Cape Cod: Great Island Trail

The next day was about ten degree’s warmer, which in winter degrees, made being outside bearable. We decided to make a day of it and head out to Wellfleet, MA. HERE is the link to where you can park to do this hike. THIS link leads to an archaic yet helpful brochure with a map of the hike. We figured we did probably an 8 mile loop in total.

The hike is a mix of marsh, wooded trails, and beach. It also has several places to pick up the walk, so if you want more time walking the beach you can just jump back onto the trail when you’re ready (without having to back track).

Once we had our fill of beach walking (sand walking can be tiresome) we headed up into the hills.

After a wooded hike, the trail spit us out on the other side of the peninsula. We walked this side of the beach for a while. What beautiful cliffs sit ahead of us.

Unfortunately, we reached a point in the hike where we needed to cross a river that was just a tad too wide to jump across and way to deep to cut across. But we were there for a walk, so we just cut back along the dry edge of the marsh, adding distance to our hike.

One thing that was unavoidable, and a bit frightening, were all the dead birds we ran across while in the marsh. We were examining animal tracks, but it was still to hard to tell how they passed on. It was disturbing, the giant quantity of dead birds. Prepare yourself for this if you are going to do this loop. Also be careful if you’re bringing pets along. Whatever killed these birds must be pretty powerful.

Our timing was perfect, as we finished the hike just as the sun was setting. I imagine there are some scary animals in that woods, so be sure to allow yourself time to complete this during daylight hours. Also be sure to check tidal information, as I’m sure at high tide much of the marsh fills in.

The sunset was the perfect payoff to a great hike.