July 6, 2010

4th Connecticut Lake, Great Northwoods, New Hampshire

The border between the United States and Canada in New Hampshire is the ridgeline that separates the watersheds feeding north into the St. Lawrence and south to the Long Island Sound. As you drive down from Quebec, you drive up to this saddle, at over 2,000 feet elevation and some 20 miles from the nearest town to a U.S. Border Patrol Station. After checking in with them, we parked and began our hike along the border to 4th Connecticut Lake.

Linda and Hilina prepared for the rain on the "border vista"

This lake marks the headwaters of the Connecticut River. It is owned by the Nature Conservancy. In order to reach the lake, you literally hike on the border. Along this stretch, the border is marked by 20 foot wide clearing of all trees called a "border vista". This clearing occurs anywhere where there is a forest from Maine all the way to Washington.

There are markers in the middle of this "border vista" showing the boundary.

The trail then drops into a beautiful old-growth forest of balsam fir and red spruce and then down to the small lake that marks the headwaters. These are the largest trees we saw in New England, but still not that big by Pacific Northwest standards. The lake that marks the headwaters is actually the result of a beaver dam that backed up what was probably a smaller marsh and creek at one time.

The trail does a full loop around the lake and along the marshy edges before returning to the border and back to the border station. It was raining off and on that day, so we had to be prepared to get wet...and we were. I was hoping there might be a moose grazing in the wetlands, but alas it was not to be.

Here you can see the remains of the boardwalk along the muddy trail

Here you can see the crossing of the Connecticut River as it leaves the lake.
Not exactly the same width as it is down in Connecticut!

Here you can see the hike back down to the Border Patrol Station below.
This border vista goes up and over the ridges for as far as you can see.

No comments: