An undercast and some ruminations

2007-09-01 22:46:42.000 – Stacey Kawecki,  Observer

castle in the clouds

When I found out that I would be joining Mr. Clark for the day shift, which begins at 4:30 am, I didn’t know how I would manage. That’s really early, if you hadn’t noticed. Waking up for the first day was easy, second day a little harder. However, today I was awoken by Nin stepping on my face promptly at 4:30 am. He always knows when it’s 4:30, that’s his breakfast time. Any way, after grudgingly rolling out of bed, and grabbing my cup of tea, I proceeded to walk up to the weather room. To my surprise (not really) we were in the fog. However, at 5:00 am (still really early) we cleared out for about twenty minutes. As I saw some rays of early morning sunshine, I looked out of the window. To my surprise (really), we had a complete undercast undercast. This was the first undercast I experienced, and it was surprisingly surreal. Sleepiness may have played a part in my reaction at the time, but I felt like I was in the castle in the clouds. I felt like I had taken a jump into Gulliver’s Travels. As I stood outside taking pictures, I half expected to see a miniature horse cantering along the length of the observation deck.Twenty minutes after this surrealist moment, we plunged back into the clouds until the afternoon.

Before today, I hadn’t realized just how isolated we are up here. So far, I’ve only experienced summer time, when tours are a constant duty, the summit is crawling with people, and hikers are visible through our windows (provided no fog). The sense of peace and awe I felt this morning was merely a glimpse of seasons to come. Fall is nearly upon us, and my nose anxiously awaits the crisp smell of burning leaves, my ears can almost hear the sound of leaves rustling on the ground, and my eyes crave the colorful explosions that fall never fails to provide. Up here, it will be different though, I have no idea how the air will smell, or what my ears will hear. The only thing that is certain is that I’ll see a display of nature that my eyes have never before witnessed, the White Mountains’ fall foliage. Back in the day, before my time on the summit began, I, like most weather geeks, was browsing the Observatory’s website. I came across a picture, from October 4, 2004. This was my first sensation of falling in love with the summit. The picture literally took my breath away. If a picture could do that, I wondered how it would look in real life. I am more than excited to experience fall on the top of Mount Washington.

As my shift ended, we were treated to a pretty sunset. I ventured out into the cold, and took some more pictures. Today proved to be another beautiful day on the summit of Mount Washington.


Stacey Kawecki,  Observer

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