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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.  

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The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 1

The solidly frozen St. John River, with the U.S. on the left and Canada on the right.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 2

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.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 3

Upstream on the Fish River in March.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 4

Farther upstream: Soldier Pond. You wouldn't have thought you were in a formerly militarized zone, would you?

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 5

Winter driving is good here, partly because the ice stays dry and partly because the plow operators know what they're doing.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 6

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..

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 7

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.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 8

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.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 9

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 Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 10

The same potato house with its older neighbors.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 11

Who uses the railway?  Logs do, in this case 4-foot lengths on their way to a pulpmill.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 12

Time for fun: a snowmobile highway.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 13

You think such roads simply appear?  No way: they have to be groomed.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 14

The snowmobile equivalent of a microbrewery.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 15

Here's the entrance to an elaborate network of cross-country ski trails. The paths are hard enough that you can just walk.

The Eastern United States: Fort Kent Winter picture 16

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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