Winter Walks: Squam Pond
Winter Walks: Squam Pond
On Saturday, I got back to my early regular morning walks after being held hostage in my house by the nasty island cold that everybody seems to have had before it invaded my body in early January.
Being quite vulnerable to pneumonia and having almost died from it in 2002, I wasn’t taking any chances getting sicker than just that cold. So, this morning felt right for a saunter because my body told me so and it was cool.
I broke back into my winter stride where I love to walk year-round, Squam Road and the general vicinity of Squam and Wauwinet. I count my walks out there as perfect when I don’t see single car on this dirt road. January and February generally delivers any given day if it’s just around sunrise.
I love the peace and quiet out there. With no major construction projects along the road this winter and only three year-round residents, breaking waves, cawing crows and chickadees compete only with the wind to break the silence. And then there’s my friend, Susan Landmann who lives near the Quidnet end of Squam Road who, if I get out there early enough, I’ll encounter on Squam Road. Every morning, Susan walks the five-mile loop of Quidnet, Polpis, Wauwinet and Squam roads to be outside and stay in shape. I usually run into her or catch up to her somewhere between Crow’s Nest Way and the public way leading down to Squam Pond. I’ll also usually see my friend, Ann and her dog, Sienna, down on the beach because she lives right across from the first public way.
There’s always Canada geese, mallard ducks and occasionally, various species of sea ducks including long-tailed, eider and scoters in Squam Pond depending on the weather just over the dunes in the ocean. You’ll be getting down to the beach on a public way, one of two, off of Squam Road and you’ll discover a deserted beach on Nantucket’s east shore, my favorite side of the island by far because the water is the coldest during the summer, the beach is uncrowded and during the winter, the stillness of this part of the island is sublime.
This is not a complicated hike, but I’ll “walk” you through it anyway. Get down to the northeast end of Wauwinet Road and park in the little parking area at the red-trimmed Wauwinet gatehouse. Facing the gatehouse, find the path on the right side of the parking lot, following it past a tennis court and out to north end of Crow’s Nest Way.
From here, walk south keeping the ocean on your left and when you reach the intersection of Crow’s Nest Way and Squam Road, take a left. You’ll walk for about 20 minutes and then near the bottom of a gradual descent of the road, keep your eyes open for a path on the left marked with a granite post that reads “Public Way”. Go left and walk down to the beach.
Easy, right? Getting back is too. Just walk back the way you came. Or, if you want more time on the road, continue walking Squam Road all the way to Sesachacha Pond. But you don’t have to go that far to make somewhat of a loop out of this walk.
About 200 feet before the intersection of Squam, Quidnet and Sesachacha roads, find the second public way similarly marked next to a mailbox with #6 on it. Go left here and follow this path down to the beach. Walk down the set of stairs to the beach and go left. It’s about a mile back to Squam Pond on the beach. Walk close to the dunes and you’ll spot the pond’s ancient channel (now full of water) that once led to the ocean when it was opened and, shortly after, the first public way.
One last thing, Should you find the need for guidance in exploring Nantucket outside the realm of this series, I operate a guided hiking service year-round called Nantucket Walkabout. Check out the website and the Hike Calendar for what days and times I'll be leading hikes, and then book your hike(s) through the Hike Calendar