2010-09-25 23:12:00.000 – Brad Bradstreet, Summit Volunteer
Let me start at the beginning, I climbed Mt Washington for the first timewhen I was 13 years old. The old hotel was at the summit with huge chainsacross the roof and bolted to the rocks to hold the building down in highwinds. Oh, that made a big impression on me and I have been coming back eversince. At this point, I have hiked to the summit over 50 times and each timeis like the first no matter what the weather happened to be.
Over time I fell in love with all things Mt Washington – the weather – thebarren treeless peaks – the cairn lined trails. And I found out about the MtWashington Observatory and got more and more active in learning about whatthey do and how I could help. Membership was a natural thing and whatsurprised me is how members get to interact with the staff, get tours of thefacilities and hear about what is going on. Other non-profit organizationsshould learn from the Observatory on how to do this well. Helping with theannual Seek The Peak fundraising event has been satisfying and exciting tosee the number of people now participating. We all benefit from theseefforts.
Two years ago my son and I were able to go to the summit for a day inFebruary. That was a thrill to top everything. I loved it and thoughtnothing could beat that day. Now I am on the summit with a friend for theweek volunteering. Charlie Hawkins is the cook and I clean up after him and aroundthe living quarters. This is the best! Sure Charlie seems to generate a lotof dirty pots and pans. And the bathtub drain was plugged and quite a mess.But, getting these things done so the Observers don’t have to deal with themreally does help. Charlie has pulled through with some great meals and weboth have had plenty of time to see the sights. Standing on the ObservationDeck three hours after sunset in 30 MPH winds with the full moon glowingbehind the clouds was an eerie sight. The camera tripod had to be held downto get a long exposure picture. Standing facing a 50 MPH wind trying to geta steady video of the view was a challenge. 50 to 70 MPH winds take yourbreath away – literally. We have seen a great sunrise and then later thesame day a wonderful sunset. Looking down into the valleys we can see majorchanges each day as the fall colors stand out a bit more. By the end of theday we are tired – just from trying to stay standing. And hungry. TheObservers are a hungry bunch. We are supposed to have leftovers for lunchthe next day. But, they eat just about everything in sight – even the thingsmade just to produce leftovers for the next day.
We are halfway through our volunteer week and this does top all the otherthings I have done on Mt Washington. It is a great way to give back to theorganization, see what really happens up here, and get to know the Observersand interns on duty. Let’s see if the wind will get below 30 MPH at leastonce during the second half of our week.
Brad Bradstreet, Summit Volunteer