Hauling Clouds and Food

2012-08-23 15:11:50.000 – Eric Kelsey,  Director of Research


This morning’s 40-50 mph winds were hauling thousands of tons of water up and over the summits. I took an early morning hike down near the head wall of Tuckerman’s Ravine. I stood there and watched the northwest winds blowing curtains of cloud across Bigelow Lawn. The feathery bottoms of the clouds reached down toward the ground as if to tickle and excite the patches of Bigelow Sedge growing out of the rock crevasses. Upon decent into the ravine, the clouds evaporated into tiny wisps as though they were content with their morning’s work.

Later in the day, our monthly shipment of bulk food arrived at the base. I helped Cyrena, incoming Director of Summit Operations, and Judy, the Observatory’s Administrative Assistant, inventory dozens of large boxes of food from eggs to creamer and cinnamon bread to chicken broth. We inventoried the food, packed it in the van, and hauled it to the summit. We labeled everything, including every package of instant pudding, to ensure “first-in first-out” and minimize spoilage.

It’s amazing how much food the summit crew consumes each week; the crews work hard beyond their regular weather observing duties and it’s easy to see how they work up such a humungous appetite. The fabulously delicious culinary concoctions the volunteers serve each day helps a lot, too. Plus, it’s hard to resist having a leftover brownie or three for breakfast. The sometimes overlooked culinary support from the volunteers really helps to make everyone’s time on the summit a very pleasurable experience.

I don’t spend a lot of time on the summit, but everytime I do, I learn more about the summit operations, make many more great memories, and always eat very well. Now it’s nearly time to go home, and as I pass down through those massive clouds on the Auto Road, I’ll be hauling down plenty of additional food weight that, for better or worse, won’t evaporate away so easily.


Eric Kelsey,  Director of Research

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