Follow Your Dreams, They Know the Way (to the Summit, In My Case)!

2020-07-06 16:21:06.000 – Sam Robinson, Weather Observer/Engineer


Hello from the Highest Office in the East!*

My name is Sam Robinson and I am the new weather observer in training at the observatory. The first few days here have been nothing but surreal for me and I am still in pure awe. Having never been to the summit of Mt. Washington before my first day on the job, the shock has still not worn off. I find myself staring out the windows at the view whenever I am not looking at my weather studying materials, and I have already taken 75 pictures in just 5 days. Everything about this place has exceeded my expectations so far. I graduated (virtually) this spring from University of Massachusetts Lowell with a bachelors of science in Mechanical Engineering but also a strong interest in the weather. I did not have a clue of when, or if I was going to find a job given the current circumstances of the world but I knew where I wanted to be; 6288 feet up in the White Mountains. I had been well aware of the MWOBS and its mission throughout college and I regularly viewed social media posts, summits forecasts, and observers comments learning more about this place and it’s wicked weather. Shortly after graduation the weather observer position opened up on the MWOBS website making me hope one day soon I would be writing my own observers comments. Fast forward a few weeks and here I am. Life can be just as wild as the weather!

The End of a Stormy Evening to Our Southeast
The End of a Stormy Evening to Our Southeast

Speaking of the weather, it has not been too wild yet although I have already passed the half century mark for wind gusts (50 MPH) which I understand is somewhat gusty for July. I was greeted on my first day by torrential rainfall at the base, which just seemed all too fitting to me. There I met Jay and David, the other observers on my shift who welcomed me with friendliness and good instructions since everything was so new to me. I got a nice look at the snowcat, which interested me since I have a background with repairing and maintaining heavy equipment. My first ascent of the auto road was breathtaking even though we passed in and out of the clouds multiple times, giving brief views of the ominous Presidential range. The summit was enveloped in the fog when we arrived so the 80+ mile views I was so looking forward to had to wait. My first day was full of new sights, new people, and new surroundings as I was introduced to the other summit employees and shown around the summit cone by Summit Operations Manager Becca, who was also welcoming and helpful. I also met Marty the summit feline, who was a little skeptical of me at first but has since warmed up and enjoys treats and neck rubs on the regular. Living on the highest summit in the Northeast truly feels like a second home so far which is good since I will be living here for half of each year. I found out that Jay is quite the chef and baker and I rarely get too hungry. My cooking skills definitely need some refining but David and I make a pretty good duo when it comes to cooking up meals, and we came up with a top notch baked pulled pork mac and cheese last night. I started venturing around the summit a bit after shift as I am an avid hiker, and it feels great to relax and breath in the crisp, cool air at the end of each day. I can’t wait to venture out a little further and explore the neighboring peaks.

First of Many Sunset Pictures
First of Many Sunset Pictures

Being a Mechanical Engineer who had never visited the summit before let alone the observatory, I was a little nervous thinking I would be at a bit of a disadvantage. I did not know a whole lot about the specific operations and day to day duties and life. By the second or third day the nervousness was completely gone due to Jay’s helpful training and knowledge of just about any weather or summit related question I had for him. Since Mech. Engineering is also a physical science, many of the concepts and theories behind the weather are easy for me to grasp and understand and it has helped me much more than I expected. I already know multitudes more about atmospheric science than I did before coming up here and I cannot seem to stop researching and getting up to speed with meteorology. I love the weather! Although temps up here in the summer are cool, I look forward to the coming cold and my favorite season and weather, winter.  As my first shift week comes to a close I look back on how I got here and realize it all truly started with a dream. I don’t mean to get too sappy or inspirational but if you can dream it you can do it, and the only way to make it happen is to work hard and go and get it. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to writing more in the future.



*While not being the highest point east of the Mississippi, my research has led me to conclude it is the highest office!! 


Sam Robinson, Weather Observer/Engineer

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