A Wonderful Volunteer Week on the Summit

2015-05-20 18:51:23.000 – Steve Crossman, Summit Volunteer


Another shift as an Observatory volunteer is sadly coming to a close. We started the shift with a tenuous ride up the ice covered road with the wind howling. Winter wasn’t quite ready to release its grip on the mountain. Once up top we did the shift change and then got about our daily chores. The prior shift’s volunteer had left a large piece of ham so the getting the first night’s supper on the table was especially easy. The rest of the week’s meals presented some substitution challenges, as it was just prior to freezer restocking, but it worked out. Ever make enchiladas with a meat mixture of stew meat/breakfast patties/Italian hot sausage? I brought a few food items along in my luggage and they helped get me through the week.

As this was a shift with only 3 other people I had time to enjoy some of the perks being a volunteer has to offer, including getting out for a few long hikes on the Crawford and Tuckerman trails and going out on the deck to see some amazing sunrises and sunsets. This was the sunrise on May 18.


I was also able to do some people watching and took photos for a few guests when asked. A large group of Observatory members plus the Governor of NH visited the summit via the Cog Railway as part of the annual meeting. A few stopped down to say hello and chat.

Every shift I’ve been on, at shift change Kaitlyn, co-director of Summit Operations, asks me how the week went and I jokingly say “best week ever”. But in reality it usually has been. Each time up here I get to know the Observers a bit more, and there are new things to see and learn, new cooking challenges, new interns to meet, and of course the ever changing weather. All these new things build upon the experiences from the prior shifts. As a bonus, although this is my vacation from work, I always head back there with a better grasp of how critical reliability, teamwork, work ethic, and comradery is to the success of any given operation. Life and work at the Observatory is quite different than most other workplaces, but the lessons one can learn here to take back to your own workplace are invaluable.

So whether you are looking to get away from it all, to do something different for vacation, to enjoy the mountain, or even to get a lesson in team building I’d highly recommend  it and become a member. The benefits are many, including the opportunity to do a shift as a volunteer.


Steve Crossman, Summit Volunteer

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