Octoberr 9, 2009
Steele gray skies this early morning, with temperatures in the high 50′s and calm winds. Rain was in the forecast, but not until later in the morning. Off Route 6 in Eastham, just up from the Orleans Rotary there is a sign on the eastern side of the road for Fort Hill.
At Fort Hill in 1653 it was order that a “brest worke” be built to protect against the “numerous wild beasts,” and the Ducth during the Dutch-English conflict. Whether it was built is not known. Gradually the area was converted to agriculture.
With the Cape Cod National Seashore and Nauset Marsh to the east, the trail leaves the parking lot heading north.
A five minute walk brings you to the Red Maple Swamp Trail.
The Red Maple Swamp Trail begins with a path among cedars, which turns to boardwalk once the wetland begins.
At places where the swamp is deep there are railings.
I came across this large branch that had fallen across the boardwalk. On this quiet morning I wasn’t the only one in the swamp. I came across some wet Opossum tracks that traveled briefly along the walkway. The swamp was filled with a damp decaying smell, typical of a swamp.
There was this twisted tree. It is actually all one tree.
The walk through the Red Maple Swamp was only about 20 minutes with a brief side trip down side walkway. The Red Swamp Trail ends at Hemenway Landing.
Leaving the empty landing, I backtracked the 50 feet to the trail and walked up the hill toward Indian Rock.
The grooves in the rock are where Native Americans sharpened their tools.
The view from Indian Rock is toward the northeast and Coast Guard Beach and the Cape Cod National Seashore. Behind Indian Rock the trail enters the woods toward Skiff Hill.
The trail continues along the marsh and skirts Skiff Hill, an area high point, as it heads toward a large rock left behind thousands of years ago by the glacier.
At this rock the trail turns to the right and climbs up to the observation parking lot at the top of Fort Hill Road. It is possible to continue along the marsh. I stopped here for about five minutes for a quick snack.
I walked this portion of the trail near the marsh at low tide and it was wet and muddy. It would probably not be passable at half or high tide. The trail wanders along the edge of the marsh eventually coming to a deadend. This trail was lined with flowers and berries. Bees still worked some of the beach plum blossums.
The gulls put up quite a squak as I walked along this trail. maybe I unknowingly had passed by a nest. The smell of low tide was pungent in the salty air.
Once back at the trailhead parking lot, I took a walk back up Fort Hill Roadt to the Edward Penniman House.
Getting in the truck I drove to the observation parking lot at the top of the hill. The view here opens up as the Cape Cod National Seashore stretches across the horizon. Orleans is to the right, the dunes of Nauset Marsh at the water’s edge and the waters of Town Cove and the marsh in the foreground.
The trip took me about an hour and 15 minutes. The walking was easy, with the only dampness along the lower marsh. My boots and my pants below the knees were splashed with marsh mud. All well worth it for a quiet morning walk along Nauset Marsh.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.