It was our last day in Provincetown and our last opportunity to hike the sand dunes, but there was one obstacle: it was raining. And unlike the nice Thai rain we had become accustomed to, that is soft and warm, this rain was cold and spiky. So the big question inevitably arose whether we would let nature’s precipitation for the day alter our plans and we (bravely) decided that it would not.
So we climbed in the car and headed on the 6A highway to take us to the trail head for the Provincetown Sand Dunes, which thankfully had spaces for three cars to park. During the high season of summer, this might have been a problem but in early October, we were the only ones there.
The beginning of the hike felt surreal because it was everything one would expect from a forest hike but the ground was made of sand. It felt like a dichotomy between two worlds, the desert and the forest.
We had been warned that climbing the first dune was the hardest part so not to be discouraged. We certainly felt the pain as we struggled up what seemed like a mountain of sand. But when we reached the top, the gorgeous view helped us forget about the wet sand that was stuck to our shoes and the bottom of our pants. We could see rolling sand hills in every direction. Little did we know that the view from the next dune would even be more impressive, with the added view of the ocean.
So from then on our goal was to hike to the ocean. We passed through several small sand dunes with beautiful yellow flowers, blueberry bushes and even large mushrooms growing right out of the sand. With each high point we were able to once again see our destination.
We passed little houses called “dune shacks” that were historically used by some very famous artists, writers and those looking for solitude. It was not difficult to see why this location might help those seeking artistic inspiration. Famous authors such as Jack Kerouac, e. e. cummings and acclaimed painters, including one of my favorites, Jackson Pollack, produced their craft in such dune shacks.
The cold water began penetrating our outer layer, sliding down the back of our necks and turning our hands to what felt like ice. But we journeyed on, more determined than ever!
We got closer and before I knew it Mindy was running to the shore saying, “I see a seal!” And so there we were, having arrived cold, wet and sandy, looking out at the vast blue ocean with the largest sea gulls we had ever seen and not one, but two large seals swimming in the water. Each time they came up for air, they looked over at us, perhaps out of their own curiosity.
Our walk back took us a different route – ok, fine, we got a bit lost. But, as they say, there are many roads leading to the same place and we indeed enjoyed a few before meeting up with the familiar trail we had taken to the ocean. About half an hour later we were back at the car, where we enjoyed the heat. Our first experience with “cold” weather since our 2.5 year stint in Southeast Asia was totally worth it!