Cape Cod National Seashore and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station

7/21/14 Monday in Rochester, MA (Gateway To Cape Cod-TT/OW)

It rained all night long but we still went to the end of Cape Cod today, taking a couple hours to get there. You have 1 two lane road covering a long narrow peninsula (actually the Cape Cod Canal has made it an island as John likes to point out), so it’s similar to the Keys – you have to be patient.

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It’s a pleasant, tree lined trip so that was good.  This shot is from the beginning.  It did become a two lane road soon.

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When we reached the Visitor Center at Salt Pond, we asked about trails and recommendations. Here are the trails and places we enjoyed:

Nauset Marsh Trail

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Marconi Station Site, sits at the elbow of “the Bared and Bended Arm of Massachusetts” as Thoreau put it. Here is where Guglielmo Marconi first sent a successful Transatlantic signal to England in 1903. Over time remains from the wireless station have been lost as the shoreline has eroded. We could see where asphalt was broken and gone bye bye to the ocean. They used to have a shelter and concrete pad here but that’s gone too. They’ll put something up near the parking are in the future. The ranger at the visitor center jokingly said you could see to Europe. Maybe on a clear day.

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Highland Lighthouse

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Beech Forest Trail

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I took this last photo attempting to catch a bird shot.  I think it turned out nicely despite the missing bird!

Province Lands Visitor Center and the last surviving US Life Saving Station Building (Old Harbor), built in 1898. Two groups, the Life Saving group and the Revenue group combined in 1915 to form the Coast Guard. The wood in the last image is from a ship wreck-you can see the pegs that kept the pieces of the ship together.

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Inside the Life Saving Station: Kitchen, Storm Clothes and Mess Rooms where they’d gather after touring the beach in the cold stormy winds to find warmth and comfort.

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These are part of their tools. The thinner rope is wound so it will come off quickly,easily and it’s shot from the mini canon. Once it has reached the distressed ship, it’s tied to the mast, then they can pull it along so the thick rope (attached to the thinner rope) will follow onto the ship. Now they can send a basket over for a man to climb in, then be pullyed over to shore. They used that metal structure to the right of the building to practice this skill. The boat is called a surfboat – they’d walk it into the sea and row to a distressed ship.

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Nearby was a cute fox who was happy where he was, knowing we were roped off from his territory.

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We also saw more beach roses, as everyone calls them, but discovered they are actually considered a salt spray rose. This was a deeper pink than I’d seen before. Gorgeous.

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Off to Race Point Beach. The sand was so deep and fun to scrunch your bare feet in… The sand moves unless vegetation stabilizes it. They have piping plovers and other birds nesting on the beach area, so a lot of the beach is fenced off and dogs aren’t allowed. John always likes to see how cold the water is so here he is waiting for it. His determination: very cold, like the Pacific Ocean. I was amazed how many people were there on such a cold dreary day.

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Another stop was Provincetown, way at the end of the Cape. It was packed with people and cars. No place to park so John drove to the full parking lot and turned around. I snapped what photos I could as we left. This is not a place for cars-not only short on parking spaces but narrow one way streets everywhere. The tall tower is the Pilgrim Monument that marks where they landed. They stayed here 36 days before sailing on to Plymouth. They were lucky they didn’t crash on the sand bars like so many did then.

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Now the long trip home, during commuter traffic time. Oh well, good practice in patience, especially at the roundabout before the bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. They call these a “Rotary” here….

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Back at Miss Zanizibar we spent our time before supper discussing our day with our next door neighbors Carole and Dave. Quiet evening.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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