I Don’t Want to Go

2016-08-23 15:59:41.000 – Meredith Campbell, Summit Intern


I don’t want the summer to end. It’s that simple. I’m moving to France in a week; and I should be really excited; but mostly I’m just sad that I’m leaving Mount Washington.

Moonlit Self Portrait

Taking this internship was kind of a risk for me. Knowing that I was moving overseas at the end of the summer, taking an unpaid internship probably wasn’t practical. Thankfully I never let practicality get in the way of opportunity. In combination with my other job, I worked more this summer than I ever have in my life. But that’s the thing about Mount Washington. You don’t really feel like you’re working, because you want to be here.

I wasn’t sure how useful I would be seeing as I’m a mechanical engineer and not a meteorologist, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were plenty of useful projects for me to work on. I came to the Mount Washington Observatory to learn, but I also wanted to be useful because I really care about the work that they do. I’ve done design work, wiring diagrams, system troubleshooting, and lots of soldering. I think my favorite project I worked on was a solar panel exhibit for the Weather Discovery Center in North Conway. I was able to put my education to work by designing and programming the electronics system, and soon an exhibit that I helped design will be installed in a museum. That’s a really cool feeling.

So if I spent my summer doing engineering, did I actually learn anything new up here? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! I’m not sure if the altitude makes your brain absorb more information or something, but all three of the observers on my shift, Tom Padham, Mike Dorfman, and Ryan Knapp, are walking encyclopedias. Between the three of them they can answer any question I come up with, weather related or not. I don’t think I can actually quantify the amount of knowledge I’ve gained this summer, but for example I did not know what a lenticular cloud was before I came here, and now I can pull words like “anticrepuscular ray” out of my head and use it correctly. This summer has seen a major overhaul of my understanding of environmental systems on a global scale, and it’s pretty awesome.

One of the main reasons I came to Mount Washington was to figure out if I wanted to continue my education in a scientific field as opposed to engineering. I think that participating in the weather observations and seeing how that data is collected was the most important thing I could have done this summer. I know I don’t want to be a meteorologist, but I will possibly need to collect remote environmental data at regular intervals someday. After this experience I think that I do in fact want to be a scientist.

This summer I’ve worked a lot and learned a lot, but the thing that made this summer so memorable for me was the people. It’s pretty scary starting a new job, and it’s terrifying to know that your new job involves living on a remote mountain top with the same seven people that you work with for a week at a time. What if you don’t get along? What if you’re lonely? What if the cat hates you? I guess all of these things could have happened, but thankfully they did not. Our shift got along so well, that we even chose to see each other on our off weeks.

My top 5 memories from the MWO:

5. Accidentally photographing another galaxy

4. Staying up until 3AM to experience eight direct lightning strikes to the summit

3. Seeing the International Space Station whizzing brightly overhead

2. Winter conditions with 110 mph wind gusts my first week

1. Every single theme night

My top 5 shots of the summer: 
 Ice on the parapet
Milkyway behind the tower 

First cog of the day
Sweet Martin
Undercast pouring over the mountains like a waterfall
Shout out to my brother from another mother, Chris Hohman, for being a ridiculous human being in an absolutely perfect way. You are one of my very best friends. How Do We Take Pause?
Bobbsey Twins 

And shout out to Tom Padham not only for being an excellent boss, but also for being a great friend and a leader without fear.

So thank you to the Obs and everyone who supports the Obs, and thank you to Chris, Tom, Mike, Ryan, AJ, and Dan for making it so much fun.

The crew on “Decades” night
This was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I will definitely take what I’ve learned here with me, and apply it to my future endeavors.

To quote my favorite Doctor, “I don’t want to go”.


Meredith Campbell, Summit Intern

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