Smugglers’ Notch

VT Route 108, also known as “The Notch Road” (referring to the “Smugglers’ Notch” mountain pass) is a steep and twisty mountain pass road. So twisty that it is impossible to plow in the snowy Vermont winter, and therefor it is only open to traffic five months out of the year. Tractor trailers will frequently ignore the signs which strongly encourage them to find alternative routes and, as a result, get stuck in a tight turn blocking all traffic until they can be carefully towed out.

Smugglers’ Notch got its name from the smugglers who used the heavily-wooded mountain range and the caves along Vermont’s Long Trail to transport illegal goods across the Canadian border into the U.S. Starting in the early 1800’s, when the U.S. Congress placed an embargo on the import of British goods, and then again a hundred years later alcohol would be smuggled into the U.S. during the prohibition years through this pass. The area now is one of the more popular outdoor destinations in Vermont, locals and tourists come to hike the trails (several of which are quite steep) and explore the caves and mountain vistas, as well as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter when the notch is closed to traffic. It’s also a great road for motorcycling on.

If I can offer one piece of advice, however, it’s to bring a wider-angle lens when photographing the area – I discovered that even using a 28mm lens it was difficult to capture the “bigness” of the area in a single photograph (note the photo of myself on top of a rock, trying to get a good shot of a twist in the road).