2012-10-02 21:03:18.000 – Brian Clark, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
My final picture with the entire summit crew
As I write this, I am just starting the overnight shift, which I have been working this past week in order to cover for Ryan while he is on vacation. This will be the last shift that I do as an observer on Mount Washington, almost exactly 5 years and 4 months after starting as a member of the full-time summit staff. Working at one place for nearly five and a half years may not sound like much to a lot of people, but when that work involves living in some of the worst weather you will find anywhere on the planet for eight days at a time, it is indeed a signifcant chunk of time. Also, consider that the average tenure for an observer over our history is about a year or two.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me how it feels to be leaving after all the time I’ve spent on Mount Washington. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a very good answer for them. All I can really say is that, well, it’s weird. It’s weird to think that next Wednesday will come around and I won’t be packing up and saying goodbye to my fiancée (and our kitties). It’s weird that I won’t have two homes anymore, and what has felt like two completely different lives. It’s weird to think that I won’t get to see the sun rise or set from the mountain on a regular basis. Like I said, it’s just weird. Despite that fact that tomorrow marks my departure from the Observatory, and all these ‘weird’ changes, it still really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve gone through so many ‘lasts’ this week, packed up almost all my stuff, and said goodbye to a number of folks that I won’t see very often anymore, but it still doesn’t seem real yet. I really thought it would at this point, and now I’m starting to wonder when it will. Only time will tell.
I’ve also had a lot of people ask me, ‘What’s next?’. The short answer is that I will be sticking around the Mount Washington Valley in the short term. Since I moved to New England in 2007, I have really come to love the area, and I would like to be able to stay. So this winter, I will be working at the best ski shop in the Mount Washington Valley, Stan and Dan Sports. Once ski season gets going, I will also be teaching skiing at Attitash Mountain Resort, just like I have for the past 6 winters. At the same time, along with a fellow Observatory employee, I will be starting a local business which will specialize in Apple© product support, repair, education, and consultation. Don’t worry though; I won’t be leaving the meteorology world completely. I’ve been talking to a fellow Penn State alum that runs a website that creates weather and snowfall forecasts and discussions specifically for ski resorts and skiers, called OpenSnow.com. I will likely be contributing to that website for New England ski resorts, and perhaps in some other ways too. Rest assured I will be staying very busy.
Before I go, I naturally have some people to thank. Unfortunately, I couldn’t possibly individually name every person that I want to thank, and I also wouldn’t want to accidentally forget someone. So, I’m going to speak more generally.
First and foremost, thank you to all the members that are reading this. You are the reason why this organization even exists in the first place. It’s been a pleasure meeting as many of you as I have over the years. Also, thanks to our corporate sponsors, both current and past, for all your generous support. Just like our members, without that support we wouldn’t even exist as an organization. Speaking of the organization, thank you to every single person that I have ever had the privilege to work with in my time here. From the observers, to the administrative staff, to the many interns, it has been a pleasure working with you, and I have learned something from all of you. Thank you to the entire Board of Trustees, but especially to the handful that I came to now more than others. Of course, I can’t forget the countless summit volunteers that I have lived and worked with over the years. Thank you to all of you as well. I have met a lot of great folks and made some life-long friends through the volunteer program.
There are a few people that I would be remiss if I didn’t name explicitly.
Thanks to all of my family, but especially my parents: my mom Yvonne, my dad Ken, and my step-mother Barb. Thinking all the way back to my internship that ultimately led to my full-time job here, I couldn’t have done it without your support on numerous levels, and I’m very thankful to have had that support.
Lastly, thank you to my wonderful fiancée Laura. We met nearly three and a half years ago, when I was already well into my tenure with the Observatory. Maintaining a budding relationship can certainly be a challenge when you live on a mountain for 8 days at a time. Although she knew full well what she was getting herself into when we met, that doesn’t mean it has always been easy for her to deal with. Despite this, she has been nothing but supportive of the work that I have done on Mount Washington. She has always recognized that it’s very important to me, and although I know that it has been hard at times for me to be away so often, she has never once complained. Even this past spring when I was contemplating whether or not it was time for me to leave the Observatory, she wanted me to do what I thought was best, regardless of whether that meant continuing or not. I know that she has had to sacrifice a lot to allow me to continue to have the great experience that I have on Mount Washington, and I can’t say thank her enough for that. We have our wedding scheduled for September 28, 2013 at Castle in the Clouds in Moltonborough, NH, and I am very excited at what the future holds for us.
I’ll leave you now with a quote from my final comment as an intern, back on May 3, 2006:
‘Maybe I will be back, but much like the weather on this mountain, the future can be very unpredictable. Only time will tell…’
P.S. Be sure to keep an eye on my Mount Washington Blog on AccuWeather.com over the next several days. I’ve been posting a series of entries that will highlight my favorite photos, of several different categories, that I have taken in my time on the mountain.
Brian Clark, Weather Observer/Education Specialist