Aliens, Snow, and Food = Good Times!

2013-03-04 23:12:58.000 – Dave MacKenzie,  Summit Volunteer

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So here I am on top of the ‘Rock Pile’ (sometimes known as Mt. Washington). Being indoors a bit this week, several thoughts have been brought out as to the origins of this ‘rock pile’…Is this the un-completed work of the Aliens that came so many years ago, to build the Pyramids, but this pile got the low-bid Contractor, who couldn’t figure out how to stack them into the proper shape, as was done in Egypt? And so this guy just threw them in a pile and gave up?…Oh what wonders can pass through your mind as the week goes on!

As for this week, things started a bit dicey, as a large storm was set to hit the mountain on the day of Shift Change (Wednesday). As the storm approached, the crew debated coming up ahead of the storm Tuesday night. However, an earlier shift change Wednesday was settled on. Good thing too as the mountain weather that day was worsening by the minute. When we finally arrived, we made a very quick exchange of equipment and personnel. As the day progressed, the worsening weather lived up to what I was looking forward to; 80+mph winds, snow and fog. It gave the summit and some of the surrounding valleys all it had, with large snowfall amounts accumulating by Thursday morning.

Thursday morning, the weather calmed and the sun came out to show its smiling face (but only for a short time) and we were able to take in some views of all the new snow. However, for the rest of the week, every time I looked at the instruments, I thought I was in the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’ Every day and night continued to be the same; same temperature, same wind speeds, same visibility, etc. This repetitive pattern has gone on for four days; kind of mild for summit standards (according to the observers).

Although ‘dull’ outside, the fun still went on in the kitchen, with cooking preparations for the weeks Hiking Trips and a Day Trip that visited the Observatory. Our first group arrived on Thursday, and had a great climb up the west side of the mountain. When they arrived, we made sure to have warm drinks and snacks ready along with my famous, ‘Dave’s Enchiladas’, for a great Mexican dinner; hearty and filling for all. Over the weekend, the second group, a smaller EMS climbing school trip, arrived successfully. Again, we had food and hot drinks at the ready. After both trips we had some leftovers, which incidentally, rarely survive more than a day or two, as they are consumed by the hungry crews throughout the day and night. With the observer working 24 hours a day, there is always someone who is hungry.

And so we approach the end of our weeks stay, and I hope to be back next winter to experience the weather on the ‘Rock Pile’. Being from Southern California, where the weather has been sunny and 85 degrees this week, I find that I actually prefer to be up here, where I can experience some winter weather excitement. It has been another great year with Ryan, Rebecca, Roger and the intern, Mike, along with my cooking assistant, Joe. If you’re a member and want a fun time, as well as the experience of mountain weather, I highly recommend signing up for a volunteer week. It is a great experience, and a great opportunity to make several new friends.

Observer Footnote: Are you or someone you know interested in an intern position at the Mount Washington Observatory on the summit of Mount Washington, NH? If so, the time to apply is running out – our summer internship application deadline is at midnight Tuesday, March 5th (and late applications will not be considered). For more information, about qualifications and how to apply online, head HERE. And finally, good luck to all our potential candidates!

 

Dave MacKenzie,  Summit Volunteer

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