Every entrepreneur needs a break from the grind of startup life, and for me that means heading to one of my favorite places in the world: Cape Cod. There is something special about crossing the Sagamore Bridge and rolling your windows down to smell the clean salt air. Today I'd like to take you off the grid again on a hike in the Outer Cape. So put on your walking shoes, grab a water, and let's go see some of the most scenic views on Cape Cod.
The Pamet Area is a network of trails in the Pamet River Valley in Truro. The trailhead is located off Route 6 on North Pamet Road, directly across from the entrance to a school. The first leg of the hike will take you to the top of Bearberry Hill for a dramatic view of Ballston Beach and the river valley. From the summit you can see the marsh behind the beach that feeds the Pamet River, flowing across the entire length of the Cape and emptying into the bay. This site has been the scene of some powerful nor’easter storms, which have overrun the beach and flooded all the way to the highway. From here you can make your way down to several of trails that can take you to the beach, a cranberry bog house, through the forest, and up along the high bluffs by the seashore. While the trails cover only about four miles, you will have an opportunity to see rolling hills, high bluffs, kettle ponds, thick forests and pristine beaches.
Truro is the most rural town on Cape Cod, located in the Outer Cape and straddling the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Cape Cod Bay to the west. The area is so remote that when my family rented our first house here, we were shocked to find we had to drive over 20 minutes to the nearest Dunkin Donuts (hint: no one in New England drives 20+ minutes to a Dunkin). But what Truro lacks in a downtown with shops and restaurants, it more than makes up for with some of the most beautiful views on Cape Cod.
The Pamet Area River Valley was carved during the last Ice Age when the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered Cape Cod and the Islands with ice over two miles high. The ice sheet reached its maximum southward advance about 23,000 years ago, and then rapidly retreated from the area over the next 5,000 years, leaving behind the landscape we see today. The areas of Cape Cod Bay and Vineyard Sound were once giant glacial lakes which flowed down through rivers and springs to form outwash plains. The Pamet River Valley was formed from an outwash plain whose breadth and depth was likely caused by a catastrophic collapse of one of the glacial lakes. After the rushing water dug the river valley, the retreating ice sheets left the sediment that formed the shape of this area.
Bearberry Hill gives you a great aerial view of one of the many kettle ponds on the Cape, formed when a large chunk of ice fell off the retreating glacier during the Ice Age. You will find over 360 of these kettle ponds on Cape Cod. During the height of the ice age, the oceans were 450 feet lower than they are today, exposing the land under much of what is today water. The change in the shoreline has been dramatic over the last few thousands of years. For example, the famous fishing grounds of Stellwagen Bank, located over 6 miles north of Provincetown, was an island only 10,000 years ago.
My favorite part of this hike is to walk along a faint trail along the bluffs overlooking the seashore. To get there, follow the trail down from Bearberry Hill to the beach, and turn left before the beach to follow the bluffs. It makes for some of the most dramatic views of this hike. If you are interested in a longer hike, you can follow a inland trail all the way to Longnook Beach, passing an airplane VOR station along the way. Parking is located on the side of the street across from the trail head.
I hope you enjoy!