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September 14, 2007

Digging Johnson

The past couple of weeks have delivered the most beautiful days of the summer. Could it be any sunnier? Could the breezes be more delightful? When the Fletcher Allen Hospital called me with an afternoon fare to Johnson, the smile on my face was Julia Roberts-like.

Praise be to Allah, the universe deposited me in the Green Mountains when I young man, barely out of my teens. My first Vermont home was located in the village of Johnson, just up 100C, a stone's throw from the Power House covered bridge. Img_0189

Vermonters love their covered bridges. Like family members - and there's just over 100 still standing - each one has its own name. The Power House bridge is a classic beauty, spanning the Gihon River. In the spring, the run-off from the surrounding mountains creates some terrific white water, and the river sections north and south of the bridge lure the kayakers.

Here's a shot from the western side.Img_0194_3  Can you see my taxi hanging out on the pull-off on the left?

Downtown Johnson features a community - I don't know what to call it - drinking hole right on Route 15. Img_0186 To me, it feels like a shrine, with clear mountain water streaming through every moment of every day, year after year.

Img_0185 Img_0183

On the trip out to Johnson, I was held up in traffic along three stretches of Route 15 due to road construction squeezing the passage down to a single lane. So, for the return ride to B-town, I took an alternate route, the Pleasant Valley Road out of Jeffersonville. As I came upon a farm in Cambridge, I noticed stacks of picked pumpkins, giant and glorious, like basketballs on steroids.

On the crest of a hill appeared a collection of beauties on the vine. What stopped me in my tracks was their color, so brilliantly orange, nearly fluorescent in the late afternoon sunbeams.Img_0197  Maybe, I thought to myself, the gourds are more vibrant of color before they are harvested and begin their slow decline?Img_0198

One final note: after shooting the pumpkin pics, I began my march down from the ridge. Thirty yards from my taxi, a farm dog exploded from the barn across the road, yelping like a jackal and tearing towards me. I paused for a second, my eyeballs bulging like the actor, Marty Feldman, before bolting towards the cab. I beat the pooch by 2 seconds, leaping into the front seat and slamming the door. Photography is dangerous, people!

September 14, 2007 at 04:27 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink


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Johnson is indeed beautiful. I lived there for about 4-5 years, and just returned from a trip there this afternoon and read your blog.
Did you notice anything different about the Power House Bridge? It was rebuilt 5-6 years ago after it collapsed from a heavy snowfall.

My understanding is that the clear water from the spring runs through the former landfill, which kept me away from drinking the stuff. Perhaps that was just a rumor?

Posted by: David | Sep 15, 2007 4:11:27 PM

Yes, David, I was aware of the rebuild. I recall it was difficult finding the craftspeople with the pertinent skills. Apparently, the engineering of those old bridges was surprisingly complex.
As far as the water quality at the community spring, I noticed the town had posted a sign to, basically, drink at your own risk.

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Sep 15, 2007 4:25:41 PM

Hey Jernigan,

Back in the day, didja ever run into Cindy Lauper up there in Johnson? People say that she used to attend Jonhson State.


Posted by: Just Wanna Have Fun | Sep 17, 2007 1:15:34 PM

Yeah, GJWHF, I've heard that Cyndi attended Johnson State, but this was a little before I was in town. "Time After Time" is still one of my favorite tunes.

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Sep 19, 2007 1:16:22 AM

I grew up in Johnson! Hot damn! Used to live at Married Student Housing up at the college. Small world. So many memories crammed into that little one horse town.

Posted by: Eva | Sep 26, 2007 11:30:49 PM

Shoot, Eva - I never even met the horse!

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Sep 27, 2007 11:37:35 AM

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