Cycles of Life

2012-06-06 22:18:53.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

A fox with her breakfast.

During our drive up the Mt Washington Auto Road this morning, around the two mile mark, we came across a familiar face, one of the summit foxes. Although familiar to us, most would second guess what they were seeing, because, as you see, in the summer, they are not nearly as regal, ‘pretty’, or familiar since they shed their red coats in exchange for more of a yellow and browned hued coat. Although duller than and not as photogenic as they might be in winter, they are still very neat to see in my opinion; with this one carrying an even neater surprise. This little gal (at least I am assuming it was female from its characteristics) was lightly jogging along the road, periodically looking back to see where we were in relation to her. As she was looking back, our operator, Slim Bryant, noted that she had caught something. As we slowly approached, sure enough, she had caught herself a delectable breakfast that would consist of a squirrel. As we passed, we shot some pictures of her and her soon to be meal. Although fun and exciting at the time, now that I think about it, I wonder how I would feel if someone was photographing me while I was trying to eat breakfast; not pleased I’m sure.

As we climbed further, the surrounding summits were poking through as pockets of clouds and blue skies interchanged with each other. The road, that days prior was a soupy mess, was starting to firm up enough for the Mt Washington Auto Road crew to start working on opening it up again. As we returned to pavement, the icy conditions we were fearing the day prior had all but melted, leaving us a quick path to the summit on just a wet road. Shift change went quickly as the crews exchanged what they needed then parted ways for their on shift duties and off shift activities. Outside, the summit continued to see a mix of sun, clouds, and showers, first as snow then as rain, as temperatures continually to ever so slowly edge to more normalized readings for early June. Around the summit, the few inches of snow that once coated everything slowly gave way to the greening sedge and the familiar rocky scene of summer. And a once vigilant man of snow became smaller and frailer, reflecting on his eventful life that splashed him across the internet and the news in his short life span that only started just three days prior. As it is, time changes everything, especially if you’re made of snow. And as we continue to warm, by the weekend, this ‘man’ that once stood tall and proud will be reduced to nothing but a puddle and becoming part of our collective memory. But that’s just a taste of the cycle of life that make up the ecology of Mount Washington; whether it’s a fox eating it’s breakfast or the heat eating away a snowman. It makes you wonder what tomorrow will bring…


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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