Just Hike Heaven – The Knob in Woodshole, MA.

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If my last documented hike was purgatory…this was definitely heaven.

The Knob is arguably one of the best hidden gems in all of New England, let alone down the cape.  I hike to the Knob at least once a year (sometimes twice, or even three times). I grew up spending my summers in Falmouth. There is salt water in my soul and it seeps out of my pores.

One of the luxuries of living in New England is being able to hike and go to the beach in the same day. The Knob allows you to do it in a single trip. It’s entry is located in the mouth of Quissett Harbor, tucked behind rural streets of Woodshole, MA.

I’d been looking forward to this hike all week. To call it a week of political unrest would be a severe understatement. Stressors on small and massive scales were only kept at bay with the knowledge that I would soon be by the sea, and everything would be okay.

As I made my way up the path, I was reminded of the magic of having the earthy-crunchy beauty of the woods on my right and the serenity of the ocean on my left. It is a cosmic combination of my two favorite worlds, and each time it leaves me in a state of peaceful wonder.

The smell of salt ocean water mixes with the smell of dead leaves and earth, creating such an intoxicating aromatic cocktail that I felt it even in my knees. It forced me to slow down. The closer you get to the Knob, the louder the sound of the ocean gets, finding you through the trees.

I stepped out from the woods and into this: img_4448

It’s like crossing through a portal; like falling down the rabbit hole or finding Narnia in the closet. You’re instantly transported from one world to another, and before you lies a path to this unusual peninsula. Instead of going straight to the Knob, I decided to take the staircase of rocks down to the empty beach.

Part of me longed for summer and my bathing suit so I could plunge into the ocean. I walked right up to the shoreline and looked down at my hiking boots, imagining my freshly manicured toes.

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After a quiet few moments among the rocks, I decided to head towards the Knob. A winding dirt path connects you between land and sea, and as you ascend to the top, it feels as if you’re walking on water.

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The wind whipped at my face so hard that my eyes were watering, and there were two teenaged girls at the top that wouldn’t stop giggling and bouncing around…but it still wasn’t enough to degrade the beauty of the view.

I never feel truly alone when I’m down the cape, especially when I am by the ocean.  There is so much love and positive energy from my loved ones, alive and deceased, that surrounds me the second I drive over the Bourne Bridge. The best parts of myself and my life exist there, and taking a moment of solitude to be fully present in that energy truly did feel like heaven. It is heaven.

I took my time walking back along the beach, trying to remain as present as possible. Anxious thoughts and unwelcome people were trying to push their way into my brain, but I fought against them in order to protect my most sacred space. I climbed on top of a large rock right along the shoreline and sat cross-legged with my back straight. I placed both hands on my knees and began focusing on my breathing. I allowed the rise and fall of my chest to sync with the waves and anchored myself. I recognized my thoughts as just noise, my regrets of the past and worries of the future as just passing through. Back to breathing. Just the waves.

When I opened my eyes (after maybe only 5-10 minutes), I felt like I had just woken up from a long nap.  I felt fresh, and I was so thankful to open my eyes to the ocean and the Knob. The sunshine felt warmer and my mind was clear. With that, I said goodbye to the sea as I always do, and headed back towards the trail. I felt the satisfaction I was looking for. The trees welcomed me back to the other side of the portal:

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I always feel a little sad when I have to leave the cape, and this time was no different.  I knew the world I was going back to was uneasy and a little lost, but I felt like this hike gave me the perspective to face it. I was even able to ignore the dreaded and useless “I miss you” text (there is nothing more frustrating) and move on with my day. That’s progress.

Final thoughts: Heaven exists, and you can go there anytime you want. Just don’t let useless mental noise-garbarge ruin it for you. Also, people that tell you they miss you but make zero effort to change or see you are selfish and manipulative–cast them out to sea. 

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