A Week on the Summit

2015-03-11 16:42:31.000 – Kendra Furman, Summit Volunteer


I grew up skiing the mountains surrounding Mount Washington looking up in wonder at what appeared to be a castle in the clouds, never thinking I’d be spending a week up here. After having such an amazing week volunteering at MWOBS this past summer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to volunteer again, this time for a winter week. I was lucky enough to arrange a week off from the Hospital where I work, left Rhode Island at 2:30am last Wednesday and drove north for what could be considered a rather unconventional Spring Break. While co-workers and classmates were headed south to vacation under palm-trees and sip fruity drinks, I was driving 4.5hrs north in a snow storm to spend a week on the summit of Mt. Washington!
MWO tower covered in rimeA beautiful day with MWO tower covered in rime
Arriving at the base I met Dennis, the other volunteer I would be working with this week. After introductions and a short chat, the rest of the crew began arriving and we loaded our bags into the Snowcat in preparation for the trip up the auto road. The trip up the auto-road took a bit longer than expected due to a few snow drifts that needed to be dealt with. Although I could hear in my mind a quote from Monty Python’s Black Knight, “You shall not pass, none may pass!”, Slim our expert Snowcat driver slayed the snow drifts and got us to the summit.
I must say the newly renovated bunk rooms are a treat! Each bunk now has its own electric socket including USB ports and a reading light. The storage is improved and the climb into the top bunk is not as precarious as it was in the old rooms. Nice!
We cooked meals for not only the summit staff but some educational trips and an overnight hiking group. It’s a great pleasure to cook meals for these great folks during their adventure. We got to meet some really fun and interesting people, as well as learn a lot from the group of hikers who stayed overnight.
SunriseA great view of sunrise
Good ‘ol Marty is still supervising the day to day operations, generally being rather serious or sleeping on the sofa. Marty did go outside for a bit one day for some “much needed fresh air”. You can read about his outing on his blog post from 3/9/15. He did wind himself around my ankles several times through the week, I shall consider that a sign of his acceptance. I am honored.
The weather this week was amazing of course. Watching the sun slowly rise from the east peeking over the horizon, clouds rolling in the ravines, and watching the new day’s sky light up in the most beautiful palette of colors was truly a gift that I am most blessed to experience. I watched sunsets with a view over the N. Presidentials, alpenglow illuminating the range with rugged bare granite peeking out of the snow and ice. I spent some time late one night on the observation deck watching what looked to be every star in the sky, the Milky Way and even a few meteors flashing across the night sky. If my tears wouldn’t have frozen, I might have cried a tear of joy! 
Alpenglow at sunriseBeautiful alpenglow


Kendra Furman, Summit Volunteer

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