There is a group of swans and ducks that live in the pond for the winter, and you can easily see them from the highway.
Anyway, so I left off last time crossing over the little bridge, leaving Salt Pond behind. The trail curves and you head up into the woods on a path with questionable wooden stairs scattered throughout in various stages of decay and angle. The picture I have is of the good ones. Some of them have eroded away. Some of them were just built into the ground and are basically glorified jumps. I love it, but this is not a trail for a wheelchair or someone who walks with a cane. It is wonderful to bring 4 to 12 year olds, because they can't resist the running and jumping and it tires them out wonderfully. It also provides the opportunity for skinned knees and filthiness, but those are good things in my opinion.
The next section through the woods is really my favorite part of the walk. It's quiet, and far enough from the highway that you can't hear it anymore. The trees in that section are particularly interesting. Most of the woods in the area are scrub pine, locust trees, lots of cedars, with some oak and cherry. There are tons of vines throughout this part of the walk that have made extremely interesting designs as they weave through the trees.
One tree gains particular attention. Probably due to the way it grew into a natural seat, people were drawn to it. And they drew on it. Who knows who was the first person to carve their initials and their lovers' with a heart through them into the bark. This was way back before facebook when people had to revert to a knife and tree to share their relationship status with the world. I've always loved this tree. I love to sit on it and run my fingers over the carvings. I've always thought of it as the Love Tree, though I don't think it has an official name. It sits to the right of the path, with a little mini-path leading to it. If you aren't paying attention (looking down at your feet and listening to Pandora on your phone), you might miss it. Even if you were only a little distracted, you might not notice it as anything more than a weirdly shaped tree. If you are going to go for a walk in nature, leave the devices and technology behind so that you don't miss the beauty of the natural world around you.
I'm going to end on this note today, though we are still just shy of halfway through the walk. Just past the Love Tree is an amazing view of Nauset Beach, but you'll just have to read the next blog to see it. Another option is to read Catching Bodel, because Bodel and Zach go for this exact walk on Valentines Day (shameless self-promotion). I promise I won't make you wait long for the next blog entry, and it will be the final part of this walk. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and my quirky little commentary.