Dennis Vienneau Comment
2009-07-07 16:38:40.000 – Dennis Vienneau, Summit Volunteer
My week on the summit as the weather observatory’s volunteer is quickly concluding. As noted by other comments posted this week, we’ve been plagued by persistent fog and lousy views. I had picked this week to volunteer, despite knowing that the summit is in the clouds 60% of the time, but I had my fingers crossed, hoping to view 4th of July fireworks in the valleys around Mt. Washington. There was no chance of that occurring on Saturday night; we were socked in with clouds and rain. On Sunday night, we noticed on one of the web cams that only the summit was capped with a cloud. Mike, Hedda, Dustin (from State Park) and I hiked down below the cloud level hoping to view fireworks that might have been postponed due to Saturday’s foul weather. We did manage to see a short display of fireworks off in the distance. The best feature of the night’s hike was the bright, nearly full moon peaking in and out of the clouds providing our sole source of light as we made our way back to summit.
Yesterday was the one decent day that we have had during this shift week to attempt to explore any of the summit’s trails. Hedda (one of the interns) had mentioned earlier in the week a desire to explore the Alpine Gardens and I asked if I could tag along. While hiking, we managed to see and photograph some great views as well as a variety of small flowers typical of the alpine tundra zone. Our circuit included parts of Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail, Lion’s Head Trail, Alpine Garden Trail, Huntington Ravine Trail and Nelson Craig Trail . Our hike started of with mostly blue sky and and ended up with a mostly cloud filled sky along with a few dark threatening clouds closing in. Those clouds eventually yielded to passing showers and gave us a fantastic rainbow late in the afternoon.
My duties as a volunteer on the summit have included general housekeeping duties, entering archived weather data on web-based B16 forms, and cooking for the Observatory staff. One of my passions is cooking and have I’ve enjoyed the challenge figuring out how to successfully cook and bake at altitude while dealing with an old cantankerous stove. The cranky oven takes upwards of an hour to heat up and generally runs 25* hotter than what the dial is set at. So far, I think I’ve managed to conquer the stove as complaints from the staff have been non-existent. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my volunteer week and look forward to my next volunteer opportunity.
Dennis Vienneau, Summit Volunteer