Notes on the Geography of The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter
Snow sticks from Thanksgiving to May--or did until the mild winters of late. That's a long time to live with white.
The solidly frozen St. John River, with the U.S. on the left and Canada on the right.
The border was once tense. That's why there's this old blockhouse at Fort Kent, where the Fish River joins the St. John. Guns could point from here across the St. John.
Upstream on the Fish River in March.
Farther upstream: Soldier Pond. You wouldn't have thought you were in a formerly militarized zone, would you?
Winter driving is good here, partly because the ice stays dry and partly because the plow operators know what they're doing.
Outsiders do screw up--in this case park on a hill of glare ice, walk away, then watch as their tires lose their grip and the car slides ever so slowly downhill, rotates 180 degrees like a hippo on ice, and whumps into a snowbank. No need to carry a shovel: people around here help each other..
Rivers in snow, roads in snow: time for an iconic house in the snow. That's a potato barn out back: storage for a lot more than you can eat even over a long winter.
What can it be? It's the loading door for a potato house. Once (before mechanical picking) barrels were manhandled through here and the spuds dumped into bins.
A newer-model potato house. The railway is the Bangor and Aroostook, and there is a siding that serves the side door on the potato house. Still, nobody uses the railway for potatoes these days. They go by truck. Why? Mostly because nobody survives here growing tablestock. They survive by growing seed potatoes, shipped by truck directly to farms down south.
The same potato house with its older neighbors.
Who uses the railway? Logs do, in this case 4-foot lengths on their way to a pulpmill.
Time for fun: a snowmobile highway.
You think such roads simply appear? No way: they have to be groomed.
The snowmobile equivalent of a microbrewery.
Here's the entrance to an elaborate network of cross-country ski trails. The paths are hard enough that you can just walk.
Rivers, roads, houses, barns.... Time for a cemetery in the snow. People who die in the winter are buried in the spring, after the ground thaws.
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