Letter to my granddaughters.

2008-12-03 09:38:50.000 – Rob Jones,  Summit Volunteer

Rare sunrise.

Dear Maggie and Molly,

Living in California where it is warm most of the time, you don’t know what a New England winter is like. Once and a while you see some snow, but to experience winter you have to visit it. I, on the other hand, live in Maine where winter comes to visit early, and often overstays its welcome. Why would I want to visit a place that has more winter than Maine? I hope my comments will tell you why.

If you like to observe the weather, cook meals for nice people, enjoy taking pictures, and want to get as far away from malls as possible, spend a week on top of Mt. Washington as a volunteer. It also helps the folks who work at the Mt. Washington Observatory.

While the weather most of this week has been typical for the Rock Pile, as Mt. Washington is affectionately known, mostly freezing fog, there have been moments of stunning beauty. As we rode up in the snow cat on Wednesday, the sky was deep blue, and we could see the mountains around us, but all it took was a puff of wind to remind us that the visibility can change in an instant. On Sunday morning we were treated to a clear view of the sunrise. Even the night observer went out to watch such a rare occasion. These views were worth the price of admission, but most of the time there was this view from my bedroom window.

The cooking part has been fun, especially Thanksgiving dinner. I fixed turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and onions, and a pumpkin pie. A man from the state park brought a corn dish and cranberry relish. They were very appreciative of my efforts. We had some other nice meals as well. In the pantry was a 25 pound box of chocolate chips! We had chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter, peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. And brownies with chocolate chips They should know better than to leave me alone with 25 pounds of chocolate chips.

Along with the cooking, the volunteer is expected to help keep the observatory clean. That wasn’t a very big job since there was only four of us here this week. Even with the cooking and cleaning, reading books and watching movies, and walking laps in the rotunda, I still had some time available. The crew let me help with one of their jobs, keeping ice off of the instrument tower. Wasn’t that nice of them?

So, I hope this helps you to understand why I would want to visit Mt. Washington in winter.

Love, Grampy.


Rob Jones,  Summit Volunteer

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