A hike, lightning, and a meteor

2008-07-27 06:30:12.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

Well, we’re back in the fog now, but let’s not focus too much on that. The last two days have been quite pleasant, with the summits in the clear and quite sunny. Friday I woke up bright and early at noon to go out for a hike. I decided to head over to Jefferson, as I had only hiked that peak from the north and wanted to see what the section of trail between Clay and Jefferson was like. Packing a day pack, I realized once again how much smaller gear has become. I was able to fit a down pullover, hat, water, food, rain gear, headlamp, bivy bag, and sleeping pad all into a 20L pack. If I had a 40 degree down bag, I think I could have fit that too. The hike there and back again was great. I met a fellow, Rolph, who happened to have lived for a number of years in the NEK and now lives in NH, so we talked and hiked for a good while together. We shared quite a bit in common, working with stone, knowing many of the same places, and both having taken dendrology at UVM. I hope to meet him again someday.

I arrived back home just in time to go to work, so I walked up the stairs to the observation deck. I repeated this many times throughout the night, always glad when another hour went by without going into the fog. At the 3 o’clock ob I was greeted by 4 hikers from Tufts University in Boston. We talked for a bit, and I met them a bit over an hour later for sunrise. Just prior to sunrise I was slinging my friend the psychrometer and saw a wicked sweet meteor. It fell in a vertical line to the east, and displayed a brilliant bluish-green tail. Eventually the leading end exploded, something I had never witnessed a meteor doing before, and it all disappeared. A few folks up here asked me why I didn’t wake them up to see it. I guess I’m just too slow.

Last night’s major event was a thunderstorm. It lasted for nearly two hours, during which many bolts were quite close and the thunder quite loud. For a short time we even cleared out of the fog and were able to see bolts jump from cloud to cloud. We were hoping for a strike on the cog tracks, but that will have to wait for another time. Considering there is the chance for thunderstorms all through the next 36 hours, we mightn’t have to wait terribly long.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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