Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 27,2010
Railroad Tracks Near the Hannah Dustin Memorial

Once again I set off. I’d come across some old photos I’d taken at the Hannah Dustin Memorial Site four years ago and as my photography skills are improved and I now use digital, I wanted to take new pictures. The morning was foggy, just the way I like it. I didn’t want to go to Concord, then up 93/4, so I looked at Map Quest for an alternative route and that took me through Warner, up School Street to Pumpkin Hill Road and onto Warner Road, Rte 127 and finally Rte 4. It was nice to see different sights as I’d not been that way.
I made a pit stop at Dunkin Donuts in Boscawen and from there it wasn’t far to the memorial site. The fog had lifted by the time I reached the parking lot. Years back, Rte 4 had been built up to accommodate a better bridge crossing the Merrimac River. The older section was down an embankment. I was struck by the humidity as I got out of the truck. I grabbed the camera and started down the path between cow vetch, yellow hawkweed, and milkweed.. My senses were filled with a wonderful scent. There was an interesting row of cedar trees along the train tracks and a few yards further stood the monument.
I love that I can take lots of pictures and experiment with different angles. I looked up the track and down the track (though I really don’t know which way was which.) Sometimes I walked between the rails and when there was too much overgrowth, I walked a rock-filled path beside the tracks. My goal was the trestle bridge.
This is a beautiful area where the Contoocook River merges with the Merrimac. From the Contoocook came the sounds of rushing water as it tumbled over rocks, but the Merrimac side was very peaceful. Chipmunks and gray squirrels often ran in front of me along the rails or across them. Catbirds serenaded me and behind to the left, traffic on Rte 4 could be heard. A great blue heron searched the shoreline.
I took straight shots, angled shots, and sometimes I bent close to the ground. I studied the angles on the bridge and bolts on the rails. I took pictures of knot holes in the railroad ties and the pond lilies in the river below. A photograph of the old track switch crank was also taken.
The trestle bridge was bit scary to cross. I could see the waters far below between the planks. There wasn’t a railing and one slip or stumble could send me into the depths. I took my time and was extra careful of my footing.
Two tracks split off the main on the other side of the bridge. One disappeared into the overgrowth after a few yards and the other swung out to a blue building which, to me, didn’t look old. That and the fact there was trash around the grounds made me decide not to take pictures. The tracks however were fascinating. Here was another study in angles and curves.
Stories and questions ran through me and I envisioned providing text along with the pictures. I kept reminding myself that the picture must tell its own story. Still, I am always interested in more information.
By this point, I was hot and sticky. I tried to sit down on the rail to get a shot of an interesting tidbit on the ground and promptly fell over backwards. Oops. Good thing no one was around. I finished those pictures and stood up. It was time to head back.
I had taken some pictures of an old factory-type building across the way. I drove back a bit on Rte 4 until I found a road that went in that direction, then a side road that led directly past the old buildings. Perhaps this might have been part of the original Rte 4, but there were also remnants of train tracks going to the place. I stopped and took pictures of windows capturing reflections, caved in sections of the structures, doors, and smoke stacks. Part of this might have been an old tannery. Did I read something about that?
Looking back, I wish I had dared walk around the building to explore further the old rails.
I took side streets heading towards Concord and found myself on the front side of that blue building. Oh, nice. This side looked cleaner than the back side, so I took a picture before heading onward to my next adventure.

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