Last weekend I planned my first overnight trip to the Northeast Kingdom. My goal was to reach the northeastern most corner of the state and to visit the outermost towns. It was an added bonus to find a marker confirming my destination.
I’ve known since starting this project that I would have to plan several overnight trips throughout the year in order to cover the more distant towns. I’m fortunate to live pretty much in the center of the state, but even still, Canaan Vermont is a three hour trip. And in general I’ve found the more rural areas require more time to explore and photograph, so an out and back in one day is a lot of driving. I had reserved a room in Island Pond and had planned to explore Canaan, Norton, Averill and Lemington on Saturday, then Brighton first thing Sunday morning and as many others as was possible on Sunday before heading back.
Getting a late start on Saturday makes the day seem extra long as I drive over 125 miles to reach Canaan. I’m not sure what I was expecting to find; that’s part of the intrigue of this project, but arriving in Canaan I find the town back lit by the brilliant mid-afternoon March sun, so I continue driving northeast in search of the border. I don’t know why searching for obscure border markers has become such a fascination, I guess it’s one of several side notes I’ve discovered along this journey. I have mixed emotions at this point because while I hate photographing in full sun, I’m thankful for the blue sky and sunshine. The dirty snow of late winter can make any landscape seem shabby and depressing. I forget about the challenge I face and decide to just enjoy the afternoon. The forecast for Sunday promises some clouds which will hopefully filter the sun and make for a better day of photographing.
Beecher Falls is a point on the map which looks like the farthest where there’s any hint of civilization, though later I find that those points in the Northeast Kingdom are not necessarily indicative of any form of human life. I drive through the village following River Road until I reach the New Hampshire state line; a little anticlimactic since all I find is a sign that says "State Line Pittsburg New Hampshire". I decide it’s time to go back to Canaan and deal with the bright sun and dark shadows, so I drive a few hundred feet and find a pull-off area where I turn around. I take the opportunity to consult my map and plan the rest of my afternoon.
As I’m getting ready to pull back onto the road, there it is. I notice a large granite tombstone type marker off the road at the edge of the woods. I get out of the car to investigate. The engraving reads: SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES BORDER COMMISSION 1934 NORTHEAST CORNER OF VERMONT IS A POINT AT LOW WATER MARK ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE CONNECTICUT RIVER IN LAT 45°.00' 49.20" LONG. 71°27 57.48" N 89° 40'E. 314 FEET FROM THE CENTER OF THIS MARKER
While the day’s photos may not be great, at least I’ve accomplished something today.