One of the first things you learn when you move to Provincetown is to respect the tides. (Wait … did I mention I lived there full-time for three summers?) I learned that lesson the hard way in a scarring and traumatic life experience that involved sea gull attacks (never go near them when they are nesting!), getting lost in the brambles around the lighthouse on Long Point because I forgot to note what the path back looked like, and SWIMMING with my gear across a flooded portion of the breakwater, certain that a shark was about to attack. (And wishing I had listened to my mother, who told me to be careful.)
This particular little stretch of land has taught me some huge life lessons over the years. Every year I hike out to this spot to see what Mama Nature has in store for us. Most of the 20 years of coming here, I’ve been able to cross this stretch without too much trouble. The best years are the ones where I can just take off my flip flops and walk across, ankle deep. The worst are those like this …
These photos were taken at exactly low tide, I might add, so it will never be more shallow or less wide than this. That water is cold, it is deeper than you think, and the sand under it is soft. I promise you, if you attempt to cross, you will be knee deep in sand and up to your chest in water. (Information also learned the hard way.) One year a woman was trapped out here while the water rose around her and she had to be rescued by boat.
It may look like nothing but it is a huge barrier to the rest of the beach, my favorite beachcombing grounds, my tract of solitude (no one goes that far out), and the final scattering place for my Nana’s ashes. Last summer, I gave my Nana a nice view of Race Point Lighthouse and the location where hundreds of migrating birds land at the end of the summer. She loved birds. To visit her, I’m going to have to get creative. And brave.
The other options for reaching that section of the beach involve a hike to Hatches Harbor via the Fire Road (my last trek there had me lost and fearing a featured appearance on Dateline), renting a kayak for the long trip in shark-infested waters, or a long, long walk from Race Point Beach (where I did see an actual 5 foot shark one year. Short story, long: Shark washed up on beach. Looked dead. Fellow beachgoer touched it. Shark came back to life and swung around almost biting said beachgoer. Me running as fast as I could up the dune and refusing to come down to the beach. Ever again.)
So … the best option? We’ll see. I’m sure it will make a great post. Or a really good Dateline story.