Retracing Thoreau's 30-Mile Hike Through Cape Cod
In the mid-1800s, writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau hiked the outer rim of Cape Cod on a journey of observation and discovery.
Nearly 170 years later, KEEN Ambassador Meg Haywood Sullivan, an environmentalist, photographer and native New Englander, journeyed back to the place that raised her to follow in his footsteps. Together with friend and filmmaker Nicole Gormley, she retraced his 30-mile hike from Nausett Beach to Race Point, met local characters along the way, and shared her discoveries in the short film above.
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“Thoreau represents a slice of the past that has helped shape our modern perspective of the natural world around us,” Meg says. “I’ve always admired his perspective and keen eye, the way he captures the vibrancy and order of the world around him. It’s a lesson in finding stillness to reflect and just BE in our fast-paced modern world.”
A man may stand there and put all America behind him.
- Henry David Thoreau
Like Thoreau, Meg was inspired to put her own streams of consciousness down on paper (or in this case, her Notes app on her iPhone) while she was walking on the beach. “I find most of my inspiration when I am moving. When I am on the road, exploring the unknown, and disconnecting myself from the noise of our everyday life. That’s where my poetry flows from.”
Death and life duke it out for the best hand
the kiss - or clash - of two elements at war
or in lust
with each other
Of sea and sun and mung and coyote track,
warm breath of a grey seal in the mist
Like two halves of a shell pried open,
The New Englander,
moth to a flame.
Rhythmic cadence of the sea-washed breakers my only companion
save a pair of plovers
to the clumsy hiker before them
prevailing wind upon my back
tide comes. tide goes
Mist-veiled mirage of the Great Unknown.
With a degree in Environmental Studies and nearly a decade of experience as an outdoor photographer, KEEN Ambassador Meg Haywood Sullivan is constantly working on projects that inspire the public to care about the planet, while activating a whole new generation of environmentalists, stewards, and voters. She is an ambassador for the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the protection of our oceans, and Conservation International, as well as a member of the legendary Explorers Club. You can follow along on Meg's adventures on Instagram at @meg-haywoodsullivan.