On Sandy Necks and Primordial Ooze

Sandy Neck, Cape CodShifting sands create an ever-changing artistry. The constant wind sculpts peaks and valleys while smoothing out any edges. This is a place called Sandy Neck. On a map, it looks more like a tiny finger jutting out into the ocean. Over time, this barrier beach has developed into 4,700 acres of dunes, maritime forests, and marshes.

Sandy Neck, Cape CodStrangely enough, the beach at Sandy Neck is a rocky one. It’s usually packed with sunbathers in the summer, so I like to hide from the crowds and investigate the 13-mile trail behind the dunes. A small parking lot at the entrance can be used for the trail.

Mash at Sandy Neck, Cape CodAt first, the trail winds between towering sand and marshes. It branches off every once in a while to bring tired feet and pounding hearts back to the beach for some easier walking. Those trails also bring hikers up higher for views of the dunescape and ocean.

Sandy Neck dune trail

Dune trail at Sandy NeckSandy Neck, Cape CodFarther ahead on the main trail, a few scattered and lost cottages call up images of possible shotguns pointing through broken windows. Someday if I’m brave enough, I might walk the whole trail.

muddy, sandy dogSparks isn’t afraid of the cottages. She’ll trot right up, wag her tail, and practically knock on the door. By that time, she looks scarier than the cottages because she loves to splash around in the primordial ooze found in the marsh. This is the smelliest mud my dog has ever found. The overall smell is a combination of rotten eggs, fish, and dog breath. I’m planning on giving her lots of baths this summer.

What are your plans for the summer?

44 thoughts on “On Sandy Necks and Primordial Ooze

  1. Yikes. I can imagine the smell coming off Sparks. Good luck with all those baths you’ll be giving her…but with a trail that scenic, it sounds worth it.

    • At least she’s never gotten sprayed by a skunk, but that marsh mud is almost as bad. It’s fun to watch her roll around and jump off those dunes so I guess it’s worth it. 🙂 Hope you have fun on your trails out there without encountering any bears!

    • I’ll try to make them as entertaining as possible then! 🙂 Hope you have a great summer with lots of warmth and sunshine.

  2. That looks soooo beautiful!

    My plans for the summer are soon going to include some kind of Scottish equivalent to a rain dance, begging for any kind of summer at all. It is 5 degrees Celsius today and there are snow gates closed on two northern mainland roads. Ridiculous!

    Other than that – we are going to Orkney for a week in August, which we’re all looking forward to – it’s an amazing place. We went for a week a few years ago and didn’t scratch the surface of all the things we wanted to do.

    • It’s been cold here too but no snow (yet) so far this month! I’ll look forward to hearing about your trip and seeing the photos. Maybe I’ll do a sun dance here, then once the sun comes out it should travel over there and give you some heat too. At least the dancing should keep us warm! 🙂

  3. Wow, what a beautiful place to hike! I’d love to be there and do that too. And your dog is hilarious! Kids and dogs have a knack for finding the grossest places to be.

    Our summer will be busy between a little vacation, a few summer camps and the rest will be a staycation. I have to go to court this summer so I’m definitely not looking forward to that and everything it entails. Definitely not my kind of relaxing summer. :-/

    • It’s funny how they find those places! They do give us lots to laugh at. Sorry you have to go to court – hopefully it’ll be as quick and painless as possible and that you’ll be able to get to Coronado beach for some relaxation too. Plus, then I’ll get to benefit from the pictures.

      • I’m glad to hear that and I can’t wait to see more of those photos! I hope you get lots of relaxing and enjoying in this summer.

  4. Such beautiful images Sheila! I too look forward to spending some time at the Cape…and also in Vermont on Lake Champlain. Hope this summer brings lots of good weather for us all!

    • Thank you – hoping for that good weather too! 🙂 When I looked up the weather for this weekend it just said “ugh” believe it or not. I’ll be on the lookout for you and your camera around here.

  5. This place looks absolutely beautiful! Isn’t it amazing how dogs love bad smells. My dogs will roll in dead cane toads (particularly after I wash them). They must think it makes them smell attractive! 😀

    • Hahah – yes especially after we wash them! It’s crazy how excited they’ll get after rolling in something really smelly. It probably is like perfume to them, but you’d think it would send their more sensitive sense of smell into some kind of a shock. 🙂

    • I hope you’ll get to visit! Summer hasn’t really hit yet here and it looks like it’s just going to keep raining for a while. Hopefully the sun will come out at some point!

  6. Nothing better than a Salty Dawg – ha! Great Captures – love the beach! Summer plans for me is traveling, camping, wine and beer events, getting outdoors, becoming one with nature, etc. – endless possibilities. Happy Weekend:)

    • Hahah – yes those salty dogs are a lot of fun! Sounds like perfect summer plans – I might have to do a few of those myself. Happy weekend!

  7. Looks beautiful loved the pictures especially sparks! I am wrapped in a blanket reading all my wonderful emails and shivering. Summer is a distant memory a pining and yet I am enjoying the crackle of a warm fire and healthy lashings of a sunday roast spring to mind. Enjoy your summer.

    • Thank you! I can sympathize because it’s been cold so far this summer and sometimes still feels more like fall. I’ll try to take more summer photos that will hopefully help to warm you up through the winter! Sitting by the crackling fire sounds wonderful too.

  8. Beautiful post, Sheila, and I’m sure Sparks had a blast, but can’t imagine the smell when I read “rotten eggs!” We’re still working out our summer plans, but have to enjoy two graduations first, then we’ll be moving our daughter into her university in August sometime. Life has been so busy, we haven’t planned ahead like we normally do, but things will slow down soon, so we can! Love and hugs!

    • You’re lucky that you don’t know that rotten egg smell. 🙂 That sounds like a really busy summer! I hope you have lots of fun with family and graduations and all the upcoming changes. Hope you also get to zoom around on that bike every once in a while too. Love and hugs!

  9. Whew, I hope you’ve found a good dog shampoo for after those walks! But it looks like the hike is worth the extra effort. 🙂

    Summer will be spent mainly near home, and hopefully will host some quality writing time. This long holiday weekend will be nice for recharging after our wedding/vacation trip, and then my fingers are crossed my Muse and characters will be itching to get back to work.

    • Hahah – yes and first she usually has to be hosed down for a while outside! I’m hoping for that kind of a summer too. Whenever I think the novel is done, it turns out there’s more rewriting to do. Good luck with yours – I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines!

  10. The trail looks so welcoming.
    It certainly would be a pleasure to walk aimlessly on that trail with no care in the world.
    I can almost hear the silence and the wind, and the ocean in the distance 🙂

    • Too bad we can’t jump into those photos somehow. 🙂 It’s nice to imagine it all again though. I hope you get to visit your moodhu often to hear those ocean sounds too.

  11. Sheila, beautiful photos as always. One can almost smell the salt, hear the gulls and bare-feet in warm sand! Those are three of my basics!

    Of course you must be well aware that anything revolting, smelly, disgusting… is a magnet for children and animals. Enjoy your summer! 🙂 xx

    • I’m glad we have those basics in common. It is funny how they can find the smelliest things and then get so excited about it! I hope you have a wonderful summer out there and I’ll look forward to exploring France through your eyes. xoxo

  12. I love these photos – especially the one of Sparks, so cute! My dog, Baffi, isn’t too fond of the beach unfortunately (perhaps her terrier nature….) so she watches us from afar whenever we bathe and stays quite clear of the water (although she does enjoy boats for some reason).

    We will spend the summer enjoying our lovely garden and spend a week hiking in Scotland (as a break from the heat and sun we like to joke!).

    Enjoy these first days of summer!

    • Thanks so much – she is a very crazy dog! A dog that’s afraid of the water sounds good to me though too. 🙂 That sounds like a perfect summer – I hope you have a great time in Scotland!

  13. You are a wonderful writer! Where is Sandy Neck located? Sounds like such a fun place to visit, and I love that it is dog friendly 🙂

    • Thank you! That’s so nice to hear – especially during the craziness of revising and querying. Sandy Neck is in Barnstable on Cape Cod, MA – kind of near the shoulder area of the Cape Cod arm. It’s a great place for people and dogs to visit but watch out for that mud!

  14. Liked the picture and the trail it embodies.Great word expressions too.

    Interestingly much of the beach head looks like some of the coastal areas in Oman. Unfortunately there can be no sun-bathing in summer here with temperatures hitting 50 deg C.


    • Thank you for visiting from Oman! That’s true, that would be much too hot for sunbathing or for walking in the sand. My dog would probably just stay in the mud. 🙂 I hope you’ll stay cool and enjoy the beauty of the sand dunes.

  15. Those are beautiful pictures! Looks like an amazing place to walk the dog (only too bad she ends up smelling so bad – lol). My summer plans are taking the family to Lanzarote, we need a break in the sun. It is something hubby and I have wanted to do for a long time, we will be in a nice villa away from the touristy areas near the sea, so beach time for the kids every day! Very much looking forward to it, although the weather finally seems to be getting warmer here.

    • That sounds so wonderful that I might have to join you there! 🙂 A sun infusion is definitely needed after this past winter and a villa by the beach would be the perfect place to finish revising our novels (really just another reason to join you there)!

  16. beautiful landscape…and your dog, Sparks, aww, looks like she has lots of fun despite the smell. ☺ this summer i plan to stay cool as much as possible. ha ha.

  17. What a beautiful place to explore! What is it in a dog’s nose that draws them to the stinkiest stuff? And they are so delighted to roll and play in it. 😉

    • That is funny how the excitement level accelerates with the stinkiness! I love to watch the excitement but cleaning up after it isn’t always as fun. 🙂

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