My family has a historical tie to the Cape. My 13th Great-Grandfather on my father’s side is one of the founding fathers of the town of Eastham, which was founded in 1651 by a group of pilgrims who moved here from the original colony at Plymouth. Having this family tie to the earliest American colonists makes celebrating July 4th up here a special event for me.

We sent a lot of the past two days taking advantage of the National Park system at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Yesterday all four of us took a canoeing class offered by the park service, and we spent one and a half hours paddling around the Salt Pond in Eastham and part of the nearby salt marsh. Connor was offered the chance to ride along with the two rangers, so he had a real treat. We really enjoyed this ranger guided class, and have taken others in the past. If you visit the Cape, try to take advantage of at least one of their wonderful programs for children and families.

My Dad snapped this shot-Hubby, Thing 1, and I are in the front canoe.

My Dad snapped this shot-Hubby, Thing 1, and I are in the front canoe.

In the afternoon, we headed up to Wellfleet where the more intrepid National park explorer will find the Great Island trail leading out eventually to Jeremy Point, which is a sandbar accessible only at high tide (plan excursion carefully!) Hubby and I walked the whole trail a few years ago, and it was a great but long and tiring hike through marshes, dunes, wooded hills, beaches, and dunes. The dunes were the hardest, which is why I list them twice. Hiking through loose sand is exhausting!

This year we took the kids only a short part of the trail to an area along the bay we call Rock Beach.

Rocks, and lots of them. I challenge you to walk this stretch of beach and not slip a few special stones into your pocket.

Rocks, and lots of them. I challenge you to walk this stretch of beach and not slip a few special stones into your pocket.

Thing 1 is an avid rock collector, and this stretch of beach at low tide offers up thousands of the smallish pebbles that ice age glaciers used to build the bulk of the Cape. We have more than a few of these rocks in the garden at home.

Thing 2 just ran wild through the surf soaking his clothing.

I am happy that he is so comfortable in the water...but that's not swimwear. It's a brand new t-shirt soaked with salt water.

I am happy that he is so comfortable in the water...but that's not swimwear. It's a brand new t-shirt soaked with salt water.

A note of warning about Cape Cod Bay beaches-there are crabs, lots and lots of crabs, and they are good at hiding. Hubby took this picture of a pretty shell he found:

Look smack dab int he center at the shiny shell half buried in the sand-not the scallop, but the mother of pearly thing.

Look smack dab in the center at the shiny shell half buried in the sand-not the scallop, but the mother of pearly thing.

Hubby then tried to collect the shell by digging it up with his bare tootsies. This was risky.

The shiney shell was attached to a big crab.

The shiny shell was attached to a big crab.

Thing 2 made a similar mistake with a submerged rock at a different beach today, and the crab pinched his little finger hard enough to draw blood. This is why I always wear some sort of water shoe while out in the bay!

This morning we started our 4th fo July celebration early with donuts on the beach, where we watched the surfers and a seal.

My two Things enjoyed special 4th of July donuts today.

My two Things enjoyed special 4th of July donuts today.

We then decided to hike all the way from the Salt Pond Visitor Center to Coast Guard Beach. This was a much longer hike than expected, and took about two and a quarter hours round trip. Along the way we stopped at Doane Rock, which is one of the larger boulders deposited by the glaciers.

I wouldn't let the kids climb any higher. Going up wasn't my worry, it didn't look like there was an easy way back down.

I wouldn't let the kids climb any higher than just above my head. Going up wasn't my worry, it didn't look like there was an easy way back down.

Though this was a longer hike than we had expected, it was good family time. The walk is long but not difficult, and we spotted a turtle and a toad along the way. The end by Coast Guard Beach also offers a great view with a nice boardwalk bridge through the salt marsh.

This is about an hour and twenty minutes into the hike. The nice thing about photos is that you can't hear anyone whining "Mommy I'm tiiiiiiiirrrreeeeeedddddd!"

This is about an hour and twenty minutes into the hike. The nice thing about photos is that you can't hear anyone whining "Mommy I'm tiiiiiiiirrrreeeeeedddddd!"

We ended the day with a final trip back to Nauset Light Beach to watch the clouds and search the surf for seals. I am not ready to face going home tomorrow afternoon! At least we have one last adventure planned before we depart-we’re heading out on an early morning whale watch.

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