Best Day(s) Ever, Part 3: Backpack Birthday Cake and the Number 127
2017-11-06 17:40:09.000 – Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist
Not to sound like a broken record, but my girlfriend Molly is kind of a big deal. People know her. She has many leather bound books and her apartment smells of rich mahogany (With a hint of cat… We have two cats). One of my most memorable days working on the Rockpile was my birthday July 16, 2016. It was Seek the Peak! Molly had raised money for the Observatory and would be summiting Mount Washington that day in honor of Seek the Peak, (and my birthday). I was a bit worried, because she had never hiked above treeline before, but I certainly trusted her to hike up here more than I trusted myself. It was a raw day on the summit with thick fog and drizzle coupled with “breezy” 25-35 mph winds and temperatures maxing out around 50 degrees. I went to bed early that morning so I could wake up by the time she got to the summit around noon. Upon waking up, I nervously checked my phone and saw when she had left the base that morning and figured she would be reaching the summit shortly. Almost as if we planned it this way, when I got up to the weather room I found her walking through the rotunda and DIRECTLY into my arms. Turned out that I could not squeeze too hard because she had an entire birthday cake cut up and sectioned into Tupperware, which was carefully upright inside of her pack. Yes… She hiked up Mount Washington on my birthday to spend the day with me AND she brought up my favorite cake. I could not even act as if I was not impressed. The rest of the day was awesome because I was able to show her how everything operated up here, and then before she went to bed later she accompanied me outside for a couple of my night observations. It was a very memorable day for me, and one that I will never forget!
Now I feel like I need to discuss a memorable day that was memorable for weather-related reasons, and not because of Molly and birthday cake. Mike was being a bully again and took my favorite and MOST memorable storm (Pi day blizzard) but countless others come into mind (Again – Mike is not actually a bully and this is not a cry for help. He is actually a pretty good guy!).
January 28 – January 29 I developed an immense appreciation and respect for the number 127. Separated by exactly 24 hours we received peak gusts of 127 mph, both of which occurred during my night shift. The following is an excerpt taken from a previous blog that I wrote after this stretch of powerful air movement:
While looking at the needle, we suddenly noticed the winds seemed to dampen, despite the noise being the same magnitude outside. This meant that our good pal, rime ice, had built up and was restricting the Pitot Tube from making accurate measurements. During these days of strong winds, we had been deicing the tower every 20-30 minutes to keep up with the rapid accrual of ice, so immediately I knew I had to head up top. I suited up along with Adam and Sharon to go up and battle the winds that were frequently gusting in excess of 120 mph.
Opening the door, my ears popped instantly and the noise was indescribable. I climbed up the ladder and hurled myself onto my back with each of my feet propped against one of the poles to keep me from sliding around. Once I attempted to stand up, the winds drove me into the railing and quickly I took a few swings at the poles holding the instruments and the ice came free. The process that followed of turning to face the winds and climb down the ladder was the most difficult part. Making that turn, you are essentially relying on your arm to catch onto the ladder and then you can make your way down. When we got back to the weather room, we checked the gusts and saw that the peak while I was on top was 125 mph!
Working on top of Mount Washington has given me a tremendous amount of amazing memories that will stick with me forever. I will be forever grateful for my time spent here on the summit of Mount Washington!
Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist