A Week on the Rockpile

2009-02-17 14:27:46.000 – John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer

There is a weather link that exists within everything in our life. Our economy, comfort, safety, and health can all be tied to the natural forces that we call weather. Fortunately, even for us “non-meteorologists”, weather is pretty easy to understand…just open your eyes and look outside! I recall, as a child, visiting a tourist gift shop and seeing a “weather rock” (basically a rock on a string). If the rock was icy…it is cold, if it was warm…it is sunny, if it was swinging…it was windy…you get the idea. Fortunately, the Mount Washington Observatory doesn’t have to rely on a “weather rock”, although the boulders that make-up “the rockpile” are usually good indicators of the weather outside.

There is magic here on the summit. On the Appalachian Trail, which also travels over the summit, there is a phenomenon known as “trail magic” – wonderful and completely random acts of generosity and kindness. Like the Appalachian Trail, Mount Washington has its own brand of “mountain magic”. For example our newest friend from New York City, “Trail Mix”, celebrated his 50th birthday by making a successful solo summit of Mount Washington. Meeting Trail Mix was a real gift – a great example of mountain magic; generous and enthusiastic…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRAIL MIX from all of us here at the Obs!

Mount Washington is the perfect union of beauty – the sublime and the magnificent. The broken granite boulders always seem to cradle the clouds. It’s an actual location and a metaphoric location all at once. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote – “The good of going into the mountains is that life is reconsidered”. On Mount Washington, I truly feel alive. The hourly weather changes and extremes mirror my life. I am in debt to the geological forces that created Mount Washington.

Observer Footnote: Don’t forget that this coming Thursday, February 19th the Observatory will be presenting an exclusive slide show by National Geographic Photojournalist Jose Azel in the Grand Ballroom at the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel in Bartlett, NH. This fundraiser will be a fantastic opportunity to get to get the behind the scenes look at the article about Mount Washington in the most recent issue of National Geographic, called “Backyard Arctic”. For more information, or to order tickets (they are only $20!) click here.


John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer

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