IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WEATHER, THE PEOPLE AND THIS PLACE

2009-08-26 17:50:24.000 – Jane Kellogg,  Summit Volunteer

Rainbow

As OBS volunteer this week, I’m sure my experience has been typical to that of many others when volunteering for the first time. You learn more about weather and the work of meteorologists. You gain a better understanding of the entire MWOBS organization and all they’re doing as they maintain the summit traditions of weather recording and forcasting, while at the same time continue to expand their mission. You experience the alpine environment with its sublime, quiet moments; rapid weather changes; fury and mystery. You become team support for your shift crew and attempt to keep them well fed with healthy food and in an orderly, clean living space for their week of hard work on shift. And, then you also make new friends with those working around you. The sense of dedication and fun is ever-present!

Then there are the experiences that only occur for some volunteers. Like, this week, cooking for and interacting with Edu-Trip participants and their leader. Or sharing the first week with a new intern as you both learn the ropes at the same time, and also sharing in closure for another intern on his last week on the summit. This time of year also brings many A-T through hikers passing over the summit with their backpacks, scruffy looks and worn boots, on their way to Mt. Katahdin. When your volunteer duties allow for time to get outdoors, you meet some of them on white blazed trails with trail names such as ‘Buffalo Man’, ‘Slagline’, or ‘Grits’. What admiration I have for, especially, the older ones! Good luck to them as they travel the final 325 miles or so of the trail!!

Then there might be volunteer experiences that few will have. Like being present as a brand new kitchen floor is installed, old stove is reconnected, but dishwasher remains disfunctional. This week also saw the first few days with the long-awaited new septic system designed especially for this alpine setting. An evening tour of the new facility was unique to others’ volunteer experiences, I’m sure. An unfortunate wrist fracture on Monday, also meant, for me, an unexpected end to the week on ‘The Rock Pile’ and one which meant for quick goodbyes as the crew and a couple of state workers tended to my injury, packed my belongings and made arrangements to get me safely down for treatment. It also left me feeing guilty for not being able to complete my volunteer duties to the crew as they prepare for busy shift change on Wednesday. I hope I shall be fortunate enough to make it up at another time.

Thanks to crew leader, Steve; meteorologists, Stacey and Mike; and interns, Scott and Mary Ellen. It was a pleasure to work with you! You taught me so much and I enjoyed every moment with you all as we shared laughs, meals and random moments together! Friday’s thunderstorm will stand out as a highlight!!

 

Jane Kellogg,  Summit Volunteer

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