Giant Steps

There is a place in Maine where giant stairs carved out of the rocky shore lead down to the sea. We were on a mission to see how our steps compared to those of giants.

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We set out through Brunswick along Route 24. After driving past Bowdoin College and Cooks Corner, the mainland shifted into our rearview mirror as we crossed the bridge to Great Island. The town of Harpswell came and went, as did another bridge and another island, Orrs Island. Soon, though, a unique bridge constructed out of layered granite slabs told us we had arrived at our destination: Bailey Island.

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We turned off the main road and into the church parking lot where the Giant Stairs Trail begins. The half mile gravel trail started with a slight climb overlooking a rocky shore. The lure of tidal pools soon pulled us off-trail, and we delighted in finding tiny crabs amid scores of mussels in the pools left by the receding tide. The rocky surface also proved ideal for climbing, sliding, and jumping.

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With much proding, we convinced the Younger Fives to return to the trail and continue a few hundred more feet to the Stairs themselves. Sure enough, we came to a break in the rock face that descended to the churning ocean below in a series of giant stone steps. While the first few steps going down were human in scale, past that we as mere mortals did not dare to venture. Some sights, we realized, are just best experienced at a safe distance.

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