My First Trip to Mount Washington

2012-09-27 23:37:16.000 – Brian Clark,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

My First Trip to Mount Washington, May 2005

Transitions within the summit staff are particularly difficult. This is because of a number of factors, not the least of which is the simple fact that there’s only so much knowledge a person can bring into a job here. In other words, the vast majority of the things that one needs to learn to be an observer need to be learned on Mount Washington, on the job. Because of this, I made my decision to leave the Observatory all the way back in early March. I knew there were other transitions to deal with this summer, and I didn’t want my departure to be a burden on the organization, so I figured that giving more than six months’ notice would help quite a bit. On a personal level, knowing that far in advance that I would be leaving has allowed me plenty of time to prepare for that departure, in numerous ways. One of those ways has been to organize and sort the thousands of photos I have taken on the mountain over the years, so that I could leave the Observatory with my personal ‘best of the best’ to add to their collection. It was a tedious task, but it was also a nice trip down memory lane at times.

My first visit to Mount Washington didn’t actually come until the spring of 2005, when I was finishing up my junior year at Penn State. A couple of my college friends and ski/ride buddies came to me and asked if I wanted to go to Tuckerman Ravine after finals were over. Like so many people, I had heard of the legendary Tuckerman Ravine and the snow that it holds late into the spring. However, I really didn’t know much more than that.

I’ll never forget the excitement that hit me when we were coming across route 2 north of the Presidentals, and I caught sight of the snow on the peaks for the first time. We stayed at Hermit Lake for 2 nights and 2 days, and had some fantastic weather. At the time, I had no idea how lucky we were to get the weather that we did. Of course, that weather made for some of the best skiing I had ever had at that point in my life.

It’s such a cliché thing to say, but this was one of the moments in my life that I can look back on, and clearly see that it happened for a reason. Not only did that trip lead to a keen interest in Mount Washington, but it also created some other changes in my life that then allowed me to express interest during the fall of 2005 in becoming an intern with the Observatory, but that’s another story for another day!


Brian Clark,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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