Nighthawk/Chopaka Border Crossing, Washington

Though it has a new US Port of Entry building, with just a few cars passing through every day, the Nighthawk/Chopaka crossing is the least busy of all of the crossings in Washington state. West of Nighthawk is the most remote part of the entire boundary of the lower 48 states. It crosses through the Cascade Mountains with peaks close to 9,000 feet high. The next official border crossing point to the west is 125 miles down the line. The 49th Parallel is the international boundary from the Pacific Ocean to Minnesota. Across the top of Washington State it goes through the most remote as well as the most developed portions of the border. American surveyors began work on the 49th Parallel in 1857, starting at the western edge of the state, and heading east to the Continental Divide, taking five years to complete the survey. The reports of the survey were lost in federal bureaucracy, and have never been fully recovered. A new survey was ordered and completed in 1907, resulting in the first cut-line along the 49th, and iron or brass markers installed every mile along the way, until the line meets its end at the Pacific Ocean.