#AtoZChallenge | P is for Puffins and an extra does of cuteness.

What’s black and white and flies? My favorite seabird, the Atlantic puffin. They’re a cuter version of penguins. No offense to penguins everywhere. You’re pretty cute too.

Maine is one of the nesting grounds for Atlantic puffins and the only place in the states that you can see them. A visit with the puffins had been on my bucket list for many years.

We settled on a trip to Machais Seal Island, where you can get up close and personal with the puffins. Fun fact: this little speck of an island is also the only disputed land between Canada and the United States. Who wouldn’t want to claim ownership of a tiny island covered in puffins?

This trip takes serious planning. You can’t go on a whim. The nesting season is short, running from May to August, and only a couple of boat companies make the trip to the Island. One runs out of the US and the other from Canada. You have to get your tickets in January when the weather is cold, raw and snow filled while hoping the date you pick is warm, clear and beautiful. It’s a risk. Tickets sell out almost immediately.

We booked our tour through Bold Coast Charter Company out of Cutler Maine. The post on their website indicates they’ve already sold out for their summer 2020 tours. I can’t stress enough that you have to book early.

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#AtoZChallenge | I is for Islands and a perfect summer day on Monhegan.

There is something magical about a perfect summer day. It stays in our memory with such a force that we can easily return to it and relive the moments to brighten more dreary ones. Our trip to Monhegan Island was one of those days.

After a foggy boat ride out of New Harbor, we reached Monhegan Island where the sky was bright and clear. We immediately set off on the 4.4 mile Cliff Trail, which circles the outer edge of the island and opens onto one amazing ocean view after another. It is the embodiment of the rugged Maine coastline. Below is a slide show of images from our trip:

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#AtoZChallenge | Y is for Yarmouth and an Island Hike at Littlejohn Island Preserve

There are over 4,600 islands off the Maine coast. Some are more remote than others. In winter, all are a little quieter.

Some islands are actually accessible by road including two off the coast of Yarmouth: Cousins and Littlejohn Islands. Littlejohn Island has a preserve that includes a hiking trail with scenic views of Casco Bay.

We actually hiked the trail a few days into spring so the snow cover was spotty but the wind chill was intense making it feel like we were still in winter. We hiked late on a Sunday afternoon which probably impacted the cooler temperatures.

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Hiking Swan Island for Father’s Day

Free is a happy word. I’m always up for finding a bargain so I was excited to learn that Maine Resident’s Day, offering free admission at many Maine State Parks and Historic Sites, was scheduled for Father’s Day. We decided to take advantage of the free admission and try a new destination. While Swan Island is generally excluded from the free admission, I noticed on their website that they too were offering free access on Father’s Day. Admission is normally $8 per person, but on this sunny Father’s Day it was discounted 100%.

In planning our hike, I learned that for this particular trip, apostrophes are important because there are actually two destinations where you could end up if you google Swan Island and they’re located fairly far from one another.

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#atozchallenge | H is for Hiking Mackworth Island, Falmouth

According to Newton’s first law of motion, a body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion. This law tells me I need to get moving. Actually, I’m not sure what it really tells me as physics was my worst subject in High School. But, the way I choose to interpret it is that if I want to keep on doing the things I love as I age, I have to keep moving my body. I’m good with that.

I love to walk and living in Maine gives me lots of beautiful opportunities. For awhile, I was walking almost every day, but unfortunately an injury slowed me down, and then inevitably winter makes it more difficult with the snow and ice although the cold is not a problem. It’s actually pretty exhilarating to walk in the winter as long as the roads aren’t icy.

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