This is the International Peace Garden, on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. The garden encompasses many acres on both sides of the border, most of it woodlands, only partially developed. But right in the center there is this formal garden. The international border runs down the middle, from right under my feet up to, and between, the towers in the distance.
This is an international boundary marker. There are markers like this at intervals all across the continent. This one is just behind the towers in the picture above. The border runs ahead through the middle of the “Chapel” — to the US and Canadian flags on either side of the podium are actually in their own county. We walked the length of the garden, making many international border crossings without stopping for customs.
We did have to stop at customs on the way out. The entrance to the garden is right at the border, between the US and Canadian customs booths. You can drive in without being stopped, but coming out, turning either way, you have to get approved. When congress passed the law requiring a passport to come back from Canada, North Dakota lobbied for – and got – an exception for garden visitors. Supposedly you can come back with any valid proof of citizenship. But I’ll bet they look at you pretty hard, in that case. (We brought our passports. They let us back in.)
(“You’re from Oregon?” he said. ” Long way to go to visit the gardens, isn’t it?”)
Plus a bonus picture. The last thing I expected to find 40 steps from the Canadian border: a cactus garden.
A general comment about North Dakota: The colors seemed exceptionally vivid. The fields of wheat were truly golden. The grass was deep green, and the water in the ponds was a bright blue, and there was field after field of gaudy yellow sunflowers. I’m sure it’s different in the winter, when everything is in vivid shades of snow and ice, but in the summer it was memorable.
– Guest blog by Alan Kruetzer