Nine Days On The Summit

2014-01-21 23:13:46.000 – Jules Rainka,  Summit Volunteer

Stage office at sunrise.

The favorite things for volunteers on Mt Washington, at least for these two volunteers, are simple and varied; hiking, sunrises/sunsets, rooting for extreme weather, meeting all the guests and documenting the experience with photos. No, believe it or not, it is not cooking. Cooking for 17 can be challenging but luckily, I enjoy cooking. However, it does provide its own joys because of the wonderful people you meet. You do know that hikers and the folks that enjoy this kind of experience are just the best people in the world!

The first full day we wake up and are treated to a gorgeous sunrise with the beauty of the ever changing array of colors in what can only be provided in what photographers call the ‘golden hour’. Later that day, the deep emerald blue skies and winds that keep the snow blowing and vistas changing quickly entice us into our gear to head out and experience it all. We are captivated and enchanted with the beauty around us, constantly seeking shelter from the winds to capture as many photos as we possibly can to share with those not as fortunate as us back home.

The next morning I learn the lesson of the mercurial nature of weather here on the top of New England. We’re socked in and sunrise is to be nil, no one is heading out yet I decide to head up to the tower just to take a look and not waste any chances I have to get out. I arrive, open the hatch and am treated to a short break in the clouds and catch some of the most magical shots you can imagine.

Sixth night here and I’m excited about the tough weather moving in. At 9:30 Monday night, I look at the weather board and we have steady winds of 75-80mph, gusts to 95mph, and a wind chill of 40F below zero. The mountain can put things into perspective very quickly.

We were lucky enough to have the advantage of a long nine-day volunteer week allowing for one more euphoric hike today with partly cloudy skies above. The high winds and blowing snow of last night had settle providing one more grand adventure and of course, more fantastic photos.

I would truly feel amiss if I did not thank everyone on the peak, at the base, and even the guests for providing us volunteers with the opportunity to experience the joy, beauty and adventures of life at the top of Mt. Washington!


Jules Rainka,  Summit Volunteer

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