By Bill Iacuessa
The 14th annual Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) walk was held on Saturday, September 11. Due to COVID the walk was cancelled twice, so it was 3 years in the planning but well worth the wait. Denny O’Connell, President of WCT, welcomed the walkers at the Long Pond parking lot. Bill Iacuessa, organizer of the event, oriented the group to the unpaved roads and trails of the walk which are almost exclusively in the Cape Cod National Seashore. The highlights included Spectacle Pond, Kinnacum Pond and Gross Hill. As usual there were stops and speakers along the way.
Before heading off, Bill passed out photos of the ice house that existed along Long Pond in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Arriving at Spectacle Pond, John Portnoy, a scientist at the National Seashore for many years, spoke about the geology of Wellfleet ponds and Spectacle Pond in particular. Mary Rogers entertained the group about the quirky ways the names of streets and unpaved roads in town are changed.
At Kinnacum Pond, David Wright explained the rich life of Dr. David Belding, who built the cottage on the pond. The cottage is on private land and not normally accessible to the general public. Dr. Belding was a shellfish biologist and medical doctor. His work ushered in a century of purposeful aquaculture in Wellfleet, resulting in today’s robust and sustainable system of grants, licensing, propagation and management.
Along Isabell Way, near Gross Hill, Dwight Estey spoke about the lives of the famous Gross sisters, as they came to be known. Copies of the daguerreotype of the sisters, made in 1851, were passed around. When taken, the eldest was 85 and the youngest 57. It would be the only time that the sisters were all together.
The final section of the walk, along a narrow trail, passed by a grove of Tupelos which are known for their beautiful fall foliage. This grove is on high ground, an unusual site for this tree, which loves a moist, low-lying environment. The trail also passed by an abandoned foundation whose story is now lost. It was a perfect day weather wise and over 75 walkers enjoyed the trails and presentations.