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- Greg Salow "The fact that such a mammoth piece of steel could be twisted like an accordion is a testament to the power of the sea."

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Monhegan Island
by Greg Salow, Portland, Maine, USA
Jan 7, 2000

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Upon boarding the boat at Port Clyde, I met Juliet. She was in her 40s and a group psychoanalyst by trade. Juliet said she liked to travel alone and meet new people. Juliet talked and I mostly listened. She said, "I think quiet people like you are more in touch with their inner being. Have you always been quiet?" Before I could respond she said, "I believe active listening is an important part of effective communication." As I nodded vigorously, I came to realize how psychoanalysts let off steam. They talk to strangers on ferry boats.. .

We sailed along the calm seas past small pine-dotted islands. The hour long ferry ride flew by. We landed on a dock located at the center of the oval shaped island. Upon arrival, Juliet and I split ways agreeing to catch up for dinner later to share our independent adventures of the day. I ambled up a windy dirt road to the Monhegan House Inn. This restored Yankee Inn maintains its original 1870s decor. My quaint room came complete with a small rustic bed built for Tom Thumb, not Paul Bunyan.

I stowed my things and headed out for a quick bite to eat before an afternoon of hiking. I stopped at a small cafe called Perriwinkles. Local fishermen with gap-toothed smiles sipped chowder . I could hear an elderly couple whining loudly to one another about the tuna. A friendly teenage boy with a crewcut was the cook and waiter. The thin, shaky plywood floor reminded me of something you’d see in an outhouse. I chose the safe grilled cheese sandwich option.

After lunch, I started along a moderately challenging trail that circles the island. At the southern end of the island, the first stop is Lobster Cove. The rocks are flat here, making it easy to get to the shore. Lobster Cove is also the burial ground of a spectacular shipwreck. Huge rusted metal chunks of the DT Sheridan are strewn along the shore .

This once mighty metal freight ship ran aground early in the century. The ship’s thirty foot hull sprawls gnarled on the shore. The fact that such a mammoth piece of steel could be twisted like an accordion is a testament to the power of the sea.

Hiking the eastern side of the island, one wanders through gentle fields filled with purple flowers . Inferno colored monarch butterflies flutter in the bright sunlight. Rugged spruce trees cover the terrain that becomes rocky and hilly. Before you know it, you arrive at a dramatic 160 foot cliff view overlooking the violent Atlantic Ocean . The surf propels fresh blankets of spray skyward as it slams against the rocks below. A band of seagulls soared and played in the ocean below. I dozed off for an afternoon siesta in the warm autumn sun.

The northern part of the island eventually levels out. The hike becomes dark, wooded, and very quiet, almost too quiet...

Birds, salmon, and a well-deserved sleep..

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