My Volunteer Week on the Summit

2013-08-12 19:13:07.000 – Julie Beal,  Summit Volunteer

A View of the Summit from Jefferson

Greetings from the Rock Pile!

(I’ve really wanted to say that!) If you’ve been following along reading the observer comments, you know that it has been quite the exciting weather week here up on the summit. This is my first time volunteering for the Observatory Crew, and hopefully it will not be my last; it has been a truly remarkable experience. It took me long enough to get around to it, but I will not wait too long to do it again! I first heard about the opportunity from my sophomore year High School Chemistry teacher, who, along with his wife, dedicated many years of volunteer service to MWObs. It has been in the back of my mind since, and as I’ve gotten older my love for the White Mountains, Mount Washington and hiking has grown exponentially. I have always fancied science as my favorite subject and worked for a wonderful Climatologist as part of my four years at UNH. Between my love for science, weather and people, this has been a truly great experience.

As a volunteer, my primary duty has been to put dinner on the table for the crew (9 including myself right now) each night (always along with another volunteer). That has been a great adventure in its own; it is really rewarding and feels like serving a holiday family style dinner every night. The rest of my time has been spent enjoying the beauty of living on top of the world (at least in NH!). As they say in New England, ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.’ This is particularly true to the Home of the World’s Worst Weather and I have been lucky enough to experience that first hand. If you read back over the most recent Observer Comments, you will find that we have had an extraordinary stretch of weather for the middle of August-Including a heavy precipitation event, high-sustaining winds and even a thunderstorm! We have also had some great clear days-with views up to 100 miles away. From the observation room, I have been able to identify Mt. Coburn in Maine, Jay Peak in Vermont and Mt. Orford, in Canada. I have been able to witness the spectacular Observers and Interns hard at work at what they do and have learned so much about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of meteorology. I have had the opportunity to stand out on the observation deck and lean into sustained winds of 70+mph. I heard two summit strikes of lighting from the safety of the observation room. And today, as the morning fogs lifted and the wind lessened, I hiked out from the summit over Mt. Clay to Mt. Jefferson. Great Gulf was absolutely stunning, as were the views from the top of this Northern Presidential. It made me feel particularly happy and inspired to look south from the top of Jefferson across the gulf and up the rock pile to what has been my home-away-from-home this week. I highly encourage anyone who has been curious or thinking about this amazing opportunity to take the plunge, become a member and support MWObs by volunteering.


Julie Beal,  Summit Volunteer

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