A Great “Spring Break”
2015-02-19 15:21:02.000 – Charlie and Jeanine Kinney, Summit Volunteers
Here we are mid-February and just closing the candy box on another holiday. The wind outside sounds like it wants to rearrange the living quarters and the bulb on the thermometer turned blue. Monday night I dreamt I could hear “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.” Friday we were scheduled to have a Day Trip followed by a Climbing Trip and both were canceled due to the conditions. Disappointing for us but more so for the participants. The crew had to readjust as well as two workers here had a mid-shift change and had to wait an extra day. The sign does say, after all, “Home of the World’s worst weather.” I saw a headline recently indicating the State of NH issued an arrest warrant for “Punxsutawney Phil” and another that read, “What will we do with all this snow?”
I lived on a hill, in the southern end of the state during the early/mid-fifties, in an area of open land once used for farming. The main road was built in a depression in the side of the hill, and with stone walls, was 6′ or more below grade. On more than one occasion I watched two of the biggest trucks I’d seen making multiple attempts to move snow enough to reopen travel on the road. Years later, I remember local contractors using bulldozers (tracked earth moving machines) to move snow away from the side of the road. I have a picture of my sister and a cousin standing at the open front door staring at a wall of white covering the doorway. Experts suggest our memories distort over time but not in this case.
Having made several trips here, we have come to appreciate, though maybe not understand, the science involved and the passion the observers show for monitoring and recording the weather. True, this may or may not be a record year but it is awe-inspiring never the less. This week the wind has reached 141 mph and the chart showed a minus 35-degree reading, good time to make ice cream, and making us have one of the coldest wind chills (reporting) on earth for a period of time.
The reality is though, Easter is just around the corner and a Paperwhite or maybe a Crocus will be peeking through the edge of a depleted snow bank. The annual return of the robins and finches will signal we’ve made it again. Contrary to other parts of the world that deal with severe weather, the best part to me is we never have to carry truckloads of mud back up the hill or try to find the family album in the next county. Similarly, I cannot remember when a lava flow endangered our house or the Bass boat became a rescue vehicle. The only residual is a little twinge in my lower back from shoveling all winter, which I’ll sort out pushing the lawnmower. You can have your week in the Caribbean or your cruise through the Panama Canal but I’ll still take our week on the mountain. Thanks to the crew, our Snowcat operator Slim, and the group in the valley for giving us the opportunity for the greatest “Spring Break” ever. The Kinneys
P.S. The extreme weather also heightens the awareness of our fragility. I always stop to remember Lizzie Bourne who died here long ago. This week another person was lost here, near Mt. Adams, and our hearts and prayers go out to her loved ones.
Charlie and Jeanine Kinney, Summit Volunteers