2008-08-01 12:41:50.000 – Ted Letcher, Summit Intern
Satellite nephelococcygia: Coastal Skull
Let me begin this comment by stating that this will be the last comment that I will be posting, as this is the last week of my summer internship. With that said let me begin by stating the absolute obvious; Mountain weather is fickle. Although this fact has been known to me before, last night the mountain threw me a curve ball, busting (in my mind) an un-bustable forecast. Let me explain further, all indications put the summits in the fog for the duration of the night. However, bafflingly, the wind suddenly died down and bam! (Please excuse the onomatopoeia) the summit was in the clear for a significant period of time thus blowing a seemingly ironclad forecast.
Now if I may, I would like to transition from the heartache of mountain forecasting to the art of nephelococcygia. While this word may seem excessively complex, many of us have either participated in, or are familiar with it. Nephelococcygia is just a fancy word for seeing shapes in clouds. If you have ever been enjoying a lazy summer afternoon lying on the ground gazing at the puffy white cumulus floating by and thought to yourself “Gee, that one looks kind of like a bunny,” you have participated in nephelococcygia. Seeing as Mount Washington is usually in the fog, it’s usually rather hard to see shapes in the clouds. However being clever scientists we have found a way!Today as I watched the satellite loop over the northeast region, browsing for thunderstorms I noticed something rather grim sitting right off of the Maine Coastline. If you look at the comment picture you will notice that there appears to be a skull with a maniacal grin on its face.
Anywho, as I mentioned before this is my last week on the summit as an intern. Appropriately I hiked to work on Tuesday with observer Ryan Knapp, summiting Mount Adams and completing my Presidential Range summits on the way. I digress, back to my last week. I must say I will be quite sad to leave this place. It has been a fantastic experience to live and work on the summit. I found it so exhilarating to be situated here living amongst the clouds, and I must admit, on more than one occasion I couldn’t help but feel like Lando Calrissian (leader of the cloud city in the Star Wars movies). I have enjoyed getting to know the staff and the other interns on both my shift, and the other shift. After this I will be headed back to SUNY Oswego to finish my meteorology degree, and after that? Who knows, but rest assured the experiences I have had here on the Rock Pile will stay with me for the rest of my life. So as the clouds continue to toy with the summit occasionally allowing brief bouts of sunshine and fogless views I will leave you with a few pictures I have taken over the course of the summer.
Snowy May Summit
View From Behind Clay
Doin’ Air Map
Cap clouds over the northern Presidents
Atop my last President
Ted Letcher, Summit Intern