There is a road that runs out of Sunderland, Vermont. It’s not much more than a one-lane dirt road in places. It goes into the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest. It is one of those roads that once your are on it, the unexpressed rules of engagement are in effect. I grew up with these tacit laws and I’ve seen them everywhere that are roads that are take and less traveled such County Rd 37 in Eckley, Colorado. It kind of goes like this. As you are driving down the dirt road and a car comes towards you, you always acknowledge the presence of the other car by driving with your hand on top of the steering wheel and doing one of four things. You say “Howdy stranger, I know you don’t belong here. Thanks for yielding some road for me and not putting me in the ditch.” by raising one finger. You say, “Howdy stranger, thanks for yielding some road for me. Welcome.” by raising two fingers. Three fingers raised means, “Hi.” A full four fingers raised means that you are recognized as a full fledge lodge member. You never take your hand off the wheel because not only is that just plain dangerous to not have a hand on the wheel (because your other arm is hanging out the window) but that would just be plain weird.
In my teens, I used to like to drive along Kelly Stand Road. When I was out exploring the area on my recent road trip to Saratoga Springs, I stumbled upon it. Since I had some time to spend doing such things as taking roads to nowhere, I elected take a drive up to see if I recognized anything from 45 years ago. About halfway along the road is a park with a brass placard proclaiming that Daniel Webster gave an address on that spot.
At the entrance of the road I found this sign. What’s up with this? I was about to find out.
There is a brook that runs along the road. It is one of those fabled babbling brooks that one envisions. But the brook seemed to be a little unnatural. I’ve seen many brooks in my life, this looked to be a bit channeled.
It was still a relaxing drive. Easy for my Honda Accord, no problems. Along the brook one finds pleasant cabins such as this one which had a newly constructed cable footbridge that spanned the brook from one side to the other (as one would expect if the bridge to do). The oddity was that the footbridge looked hardly more than a year or two old and the concrete anchors on each side appeared to be fresh.
I walked out on the bridge, which was very bouncy as I walked along. Surely one must get used to motion and how it plays with you sense of where to place your feet for the next step, which turned out to be about six inches different than normal. Looking upstream from the bridge, the stream looks normal enough.
And down stream, the streambed looked a little odd. This is not how a streambed should look.
Then it occurred to me what I was looking at. The trees in on the left side of the gully are actually on a newly formed island with the streambed running to the far left of the frame. The road had been repaired in sections. This obviously was the work of Irene.
Further up the road, was a large digger reconstructing the the washed out road where it was severed. Not only was it closed to local traffic, two years later the road is still closed period, especially to leaf-peeping flatlanders such as myself. The kind that you would only give the one-fingered “Howdy stranger. I see you have Mass-hole license plates. Thanks for not running me into the ditch.” salutation.
So much for traveling up memory lane. I’m glad I found that this special place is still pretty much undeveloped as national forest should be.