adventure, Camping, connections, finding my way, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, road trip, unintended consequences

Life lessons…

Route 6A on Cape Cod is a Sunday drive sort of road.  It meanders, and if you are in a hurry it’s probably not your road of choice.  And when your GPS in your phone stops talking with the GPS in the car it’s not such a bad road to be on either.  Eventually you’ll see something familiar and find your way again.

I was running errands and wanting to take some pictures, but the reality of the Cape in summer is that you have to pay for parking wherever you go during the day.  Getting out early for the sunrise or after 5 for the sunset is fine, no fees for a quick stop.  But when I saw a sign for Sandy Neck Beach I took the turn, even though it was approaching noon.  The fee for the day was $20, but at the little gatehouse I explained that I just wanted to take some pictures, so the gal let me park next to her car and said that she had no problem if I wanted to walk in on the trail.  I thought that sounded like a great idea, and I headed down the path with dunes to my left and marshes to my right.sandynecktrailsandyneck1It was a half mile trail, according to the sign, and I anticipated being on the beach in no time flat.  The trail was covered in beach rocks, always so silky smooth but big enough to make walking a bit uncomfortable.  At least for a person in flip-flops.  Yes, my choice of footwear was an issue yet again.  And then the rocks were done and the trail was easy, until I came to the sand.  Now I was sinking into soft sand and I decided the rocks weren’t that bad, and with every twist of the trail I expected to see the ocean.  But all I saw was more sandy trail, and the sand was burning hot.  That’s when it dawned on me that I probably should have thought this through more.  I hadn’t thought of that beach ritual of a short dash through the hot sand to get to the water, it had been a long time since I’d been to the beach.  And now I was faced with nothing but a trail of hot sand and the promise of the ocean around the next bend.   I stepped on the clumps of grass next to the path when they were there, and stopped in the shade of a shrub when I could, but that hot sand was all I saw.  The ocean could be just ahead, I thought, and I knew that turning around meant more burning sand.  And then a guy came up behind me carrying his dog.  I had just taken the left fork in the path and asked if the beach was ahead, and he said yes.  He got to the top of an incline and put the dog down, telling him, “Almost there, buddy.”  I got to that incline and saw nothing but more trail, and more sand.  I wondered if I was really doing damage to the skin on the bottoms of my feet, and was quite mad at myself by the time I did see the ocean.  I don’t know which was the more welcome sight, the ocean or the port-a-potties right there as the trail met the beach.sandyneckbeachThe RVs on the beach were a surprise, and you can barely see the little truck in the center.  It was rigged with an awning, and I asked the very nice mother and son if I could stop in their shade for a second.  Maybe I looked worse than I actually felt, aside from my feet, because they leaped into action and gave me a water bottle and wanted me to sit, but I was dying to put my feet in the water.  My plan was to walk up the beach to where I could access the parking lot and walk back on the pavement, and they pointed out the flag on the concession stand and said to head there.sandyneck2sandyneckbeach2I’m glad that I did take a couple of pictures because I hadn’t walked far at all when the young man caught up with me and told me that he had flagged down a natural resources truck and they were stopping to pick me up.  Of course part of me wanted to object, I didn’t need help, I thought, but a ride all the way back to the car was just too tempting.  So I swallowed my pride and accepted the ride.  As hot as that sand was it didn’t do actual damage, I’m happy to say.  But my pride at blundering into that situation, that has taken a bit of a beating.  My faith in the people you meet along the way is still in tact though…

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