The corner of Minnesota that’s there by mistake


Porter Fox

Northwest Angle is a wedge of the US marooned in a lake and reached via Canada – remote and raw, with pleasures hard-won

The horizon was a shifting channel of light. Cornfields grew between stands of cottonwood trees, and harvesters cruised down the double-yellow line spewing golden dust. Signs advertised gifts from Minnesota’s northland: moccasins, wild rice, dreamcatchers, canoes. The radio station I’d been listening to had played an entire Bruce Springsteen live concert: Rutherford, New Jersey, 1984.

I was heading to the Northwest Angle – the northernmost point of the continental US – to research a book about the country’s northern border. The Angle is a blip on the boundary – an isolated pocket in Minnesota set 100 miles north of the line of the main border. It is the northland of the northland – surrounded by Lake of the Woods on three sides and Canada on the other. To get there by road, you have to drive through Manitoba.

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