August 13th, 2015. What a CLEAR night! Just before the meteor shower was supposed to hit, our night observer Ryan Knapp took this awesome long-exposure shot. I haven’t seen the Milky Way this clear since I was a little kid! We stayed out and watched the sky for hours, trying to take it all in.
And finally, August 16th, 2015. I couldn’t have asked for a better goodbye present from Mt. Washington than a SECOND Aurora Borealis night! While this storm wasn’t as big as the one in June, the colors were just as vibrant if not more, and spanned a wider range of the spectrum! My favorite color is orange, and that was the dominant horizon color for the entire event…like it knew that’s what I wanted lol. And on top of that, incredible blues, purples, greens and yellows! It was breathtaking!
Pretty impressive stuff right?! I really have had an incredible summer here. I have lived a thousand experiences and made thousands more memories, all of which I will hold near and dear. I thank Mt. Washington every day for sharing so much with me.
But above all else, I can never forget who it was to bring me here and give me my shot to live and work in such an amazing place! I want to thank all the people who work hard to make Mt. Washington what it is.
To the Valley Staff who work tirelessly to keep the Observatory going strong, I thank you all so very, very much. Since the moment I arrived in New Hampshire, all of you have been so welcoming, kind and helpful. I admit I was a bit intimidated coming and living here. But you all made me feel SO comfortable; like I have been working with you all for years. It was such a huge help in my transition, and I am forever grateful to you all. I’m glad we got to share such fun memories this summer, and I hope to see you all again in the future!
To the State Parks crew, you guys are some of the coolest, craziest and hardest working people I know. During the day, you guys go above and beyond to keep this place running, on top of making sure those who visit stay safe getting up and down. It’s quite the burden to bear. But then at night to be able to relax and have fun, and include our staff and myself in the process was really awesome. I will truly miss Senior Sundays with those delicious nachos and good music, and Theme Night Tuesday with all of our crazy costumes and stories. I truly respect and appreciate all that you guys do. And I’m so happy you included me into the group. Some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had.
To the Volunteers who came up with us this summer, it truly was a pleasure to meet you all! Bruce and Ayla, Marcia and Lindsey, Josie and Kiel, Dennis and Johanna, Mike and Sue, and Arline, thank you all so much! Volunteers are such a vital and wonderful part of the crew here at the summit. And each and every one of you brought awesomeness to the table. Incredible meals, great stories, and even better company. I hope you all enjoyed your time here as much as we enjoyed having you here. Really, thank you all so very much!
To the opposite Observatory Crew, I’m glad we found time to hang out together this summer! Granted, I wish we had more time. But that’s hard when we work opposite shifts from each other. Mike Carmon works so hard to keep the operations happening around here, and puts so much effort into the events that take place here. So much knowledge and experience, on top of being so nice and welcoming. And, in being part of the deciding factor, I will never be able to thank you enough for bringing me here. I hope the rest of the crew had as awesome of a time this summer as I have, and I hope to see you again soon!
And finally, my crew. They are a compilation of some of the nicest, most intelligent and fun people I know. Every day was a treasure thanks to them. We’ve shared so many good memories, told many hilarious stories, and shared in the incredible experiences I talked about above. Even though it was only three months, I feel like I have known these guys my entire life. Kaitlyn O’Brien, just like Mike Carmon, puts all of her heart into this Observatory. Constantly working and staying on top of summit operations, both good and not so good, is a huge effort. And no matter how long she works or tired she gets, she always has a smile on her face and an infectious laugh you can’t escape lol. I also owe you my eternal thanks in deciding to bring me here. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have been blessed with the summer of a lifetime like I have been. Each and every one of my coworkers strives to do the same as Kaitlyn. And without a doubt, I can call each one of them my family. My home away from home with my family that I will miss very, very much.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope in reading it you’ve gotten a glimpse into what it’s like here. And maybe, hopefully, you’ve started formulating your own hopes, ideas, and plans to come visit. It truly is an incredible experience. And if you have the means, I hope you find your way here and have just as amazing of a time as I have had.
As I pack my bags for the final time this summer, setting my GPS for the 14 hour drive back to Cleveland, Ohio, I will look back on each and every minute, think about each and every person I met here, and do my best to force back the immense feeling of sadness I have about leaving here. Somewhere in my heart, I know that this is not the last time I will be here. I know someday, somehow, I will come back and hopefully continue to be a part of Mt. Washington and the incredible community that works here. I love it here, and love is a powerful force that can make great things happen.
“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” Oliver Wendell Holmes.