November, the Quiet Season
2019-11-09 13:32:33.000 – Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist
November on the summit is always a quite month. With not much going on, the need for volunteers goes away due to how little needs to be done. All of the winter preparations are finished in October, the building is closed down so there are no tours, and the winter is just beginning so we don’t have as much snow shoveling or de-icing to do. This leaves us with weather observations and our projects that we are working on. The total staff that is staying overnight is down to just 4 people.
Volunteers are usually responsible for cooking dinner and helping keep the living quarters clean in exchange for being able to stay on the summit for a week at a time. This really helps us out during the day since during the summer, there are nine staff staying overnight and then during winter trip season, there are a few days a week with as many as 17 people staying overnight. That is a lot to cook for after you finish a 12 hour day. At this time of year, it is fun to go down and start making something at 3 or 4 in the afternoon between observations after you have had enough of working on a project. It helps change it up a bit.
Over the last 4 years, these weeks have proved to me that I am a better cook than I thought I was. Everyone has to cook at least twice a week when we have no volunteers, so when I was an intern, the days I had to cook were very daunting. Since then, I have started to cook much more often in my off weeks and have really gotten comfortable with it so now I look forward to the nights that I get to cook.
It is also great to get a feel for the kitchen so when we have new volunteers come up in the summer, we are able to do a much better job of showing them the ropes or where everything is in the kitchen. The one frustrating thing about cooking up here is when you do not have an ingredient since we cannot just run to the store to pick something up. Luckily google is your best friend and many times we will have the ingredients to make a mock of whatever spice or sauce that you need. Though by the end of the week, much of the fresh vegetables are running low or out so you have to get creative with what you are making.
Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist