Saturday, September 01, 2012

Still Touring the Beaches

Dunes at Sandy Neck
Sandy Neck Beach
Around here we are still touring the beaches of Cape Cod. There are so many that we probably will not visit them all this year. Shana had wanted to visit Sandy Neck Beach in the town of Barnstable, so away we went last weekend to explore the beach. You approach Sandy Neck through the dunes, which are lovely. At the eastern edge there is seems to be RV access to the beach, which must be a wonderful way to camp. A day pass costs $20.00, which seems to be about what they are charging for beach parking around the Cape. Of course late in the afternoon you can go for free, and walk in access is free. The beach itself is easy to access and very flat. That's the good news. The bad news is that typical for beaches on the bay side of the Cape, there is a lot more rocks than sand. Down near the water it is kind of sandy, but I was not using one of our beach chairs and I found the large rocks somewhat (!) uncomfortable. The amenities at this beach were good - snack bar, Flushorama, and shower. Because Sandy Neck is on the Bay side there are not large waves, and the current ban on swimming off the Atlantic facing beaches (because of large numbers of shark sightings) is not in effect.
Beach Access at White Crest

This week I had Friday free and since the weather was good I went for a ride. I took the Cape Cod Rail Trail as I often do, and to the 70 miles I usually ride I added a leg of the Claire Saltonstall Bikeway in the middle to bring my total mileage to 80 miles. The Bikeway is a string of roads and trails that you can follow from Boston to Provincetown using bike trails and roads which are not too busy. The leg that goes on from the Wellfleet end of the CCRT goes along the Atlantic shore of Cape Cod with beautiful ocean views but very little traffic. What is does have is hills. I used to ride a lot of hills for training but recently I have done nearly all my riding on flat trails. It's amazing how quick you get out of practice! As soon as I headed up the first hill I started breathing hard and had to remind myself not to panic and to let the bike do the work. I actually did walk up a short stretch on the way back because I had mishandled my gears and ended up losing too much momentum. It was good to have some manageable hills on a road where I can ride without dodging all kinds of traffic. I stopped at White Crest Beach on the way to see if that would be one we wanted to visit. Although the view was breathtaking I don't think we will be spending a lot of time there. It's a significant drive and services are minimal - a bathhouse and a parking lot (Day pass $15.00). This is not necessarily a barrier to visiting - the Mashpee Town Beach has one Porta Potty and that's all, but the lack of services there is offset by the fact that the beach is flat and easy to access - right off the parking lot. Also the Mashpee Town Beach  and South Cape State Park are quite close to home so a quick visit to the beach before going to work in the afternoon  is an easy thing. At White Crest  you access the beach over huge dunes and this beach is really far below the parking lot - a treacherously steep descent down the huge dunes with a correspondingly steep ascent back to your car. In soft sand it's hard to exaggerate how strenuous that is. Some of the Atlantic beaches have stairs down to the beach which is much easier access.  The road, however, is a nice bike ride - great surface, hilly but not murderously so, with stunning views everywhere you look.

No comments: