Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness on the summit of Mt Washington

2016-07-04 15:08:40.000 – Claudia Pukropski, Summit Intern


Today as we celebrate the birth of our nation, it’s good to take a look back and remember why we are commemorating it in the first place.

Two hundred and forty years ago today our founding fathers took a risk. Knowing the consequences of breaking our ties with Great Britain, they signed away to our independence. They no longer wanted to be under the king’s rule, and knew the repercussions of doing so. They very well could’ve been signing their own death sentence. The present thirteen states wouldn’t have stood a chance had the British military chosen to retaliate. Knowing the risk, they took a leap of faith, believing in independence from the controlling nation and freedom for everyone in the new developing country. Had this not happened, we all could’ve been in a very different place.


I like to relate this to my own life, as I think everyone should, by living through the examples set by these brave men. Sometimes an uncertain future can be terrifying. It’s scary to take a leap of faith, and not know the outcome. It could be awful or absolutely wonderful, but you’ll never know unless you do it. Currently, I am still a student pursing my degree in Meteorology. When I first applied and got an offer to come intern here at the observatory, I was naturally very excited. But then reality set in. It’s nearly nine hours away from my home town and I had no idea what my living situation would be like. I had never even been to New Hampshire. I would be away from everything and everyone I was familiar with, and thrown into a completely different environment. And not to mention I would also have to work on top of a pretty tall mountain. As awesome as that is, it’s also absolutely terrifying. I doubted that I would be able to do it. I questioned whether or not I was mentally strong enough to handle something like that. But I took that leap, and here I am. I have been, and will continue to live out of a suitcase, bouncing back and fourth between bunk rooms on the mountain to hostels in the valley. I’m challenged, I get frustrated and stressed out often, and have basically been out of my comfort zone since that moment I left home. But I have never been happier. These challenges are helping me develop as a person. They’re pushing me to pursue a career that I love. I encourage everyone to do what they’re afraid of doing. To always take that leap. If you ever get discouraged, think back to me and the founding fathers. For no matter what the magnitude was, it was still a risk that was taken.


New Hampshire’s well known Slogan is “Live free or die”, which comes from the quote “Live free or die, for death is not the worst of all evils.” I feel as if this is what our founding father’s motivation was, that death is not the worst case scenario, and that the lack of freedom is far worse. In fact, our location is named after the people who did so. We are seated on the presidential range and named after the first president, George Washington. On a day like today, celebrating the birth of our country, we should take pride in everything that has been done, and the risks that have been taken to get where we are today. Here on the summit, being a non-profit fits the idea of what these men had in mind when declaring our independence. Having the freedom to do so, an observatory was started up here on the summit in 1932. Since then we have kept up the tradition of those pioneering men, including taking hourly weather observations and having summit cats. We love the weather and strive to better understand Earth’s climate system and weather as a whole. We are passionate and love what we do. As an intern, working here over the past couple of weeks, I have met an eclectic mix of people from Mexico, Canada, India, Sweden, Italy, Germany, England and the Netherlands, just to name a few. People come from all around the world to see what we do and experience what we experience. It’s incredible when you think about it. Makes us feel prideful in what we do.


Today is a day to have a sense of nationalism and pride in the place you call your home. With all the bad going on in the world, it’s nice to take a moment and appreciate the good. Appreciate how far we’ve come in the past 240 years. Celebrate it by spending time with the ones you love and encourage yourself to take risks of your own. Tonight on the summit we will be having our own celebration for this Independence Day. I was told that we can see fireworks from the surrounding areas, and tonight the summits are forecasted to be in the clear. I am beyond excited to experience it first hand. It makes taking my own risks worth it.


Claudia Pukropski, Summit Intern

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