2010-07-28 22:32:43.000 – Dennis Vienneau,  Summit Volunteer

Tuesday Night Sunset

As I write this notation, I’m packed and ready to head down the mountain. It’s hard to believe that another week on the summit has passed so quickly. Normally there are two volunteers, as part of the crew, to share the cooking of the evening meal, general housekeeping duties, and any other small project(s) that might come up but this week the other volunteer needed to cancel out at the last minute with a family emergency. Initially the task at hand seemed daunting with Seek-the-Peak cookies to bake and four overnight groups to prepare for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m glad the Observatory is a popular place for people to visit and I was up for the challenge of keeping everyone happy.

One of the reasons that I enjoy volunteering on the summit is so that I can challenge myself to baking at altitude, making the necessary corrections to recipes so that the end product looks and tastes satisfying. Most of my efforts met the challenge. All 520 plus Seek-the-Peak cookies disappeared with barely a crumb remaining. The sticky rolls (some with pecans some without), freshly made bagels, and nightly dinner rolls also appeared to be crowd pleasers. I did have one snafu that I’m willing to admit to; I tried to make an eggless banana bread loaf due to a dietary restriction of one our visitors. Needed recipe corrections were not made, i.e., increasing flour and reducing baking powder and baking soda which resulted in dry crusty edges, a sunken soggy middle and over flow batter on the oven floor causing the smoke detector to announce to everyone that I was messing up in the kitchen.

Another reason that I enjoy being on the summit, is of course, the weather. Initially, it didn’t look good for the Seek-the-Peak hikers with miserable cool, wet, and windy conditions early on Saturday morning. As the morning progressed, the weather dried out and we had a lot of hiking visitors. Towards the end of the weekend and into Monday the winds were howling, exceeding at times 80 mph! It wasn’t anything close to what Mt. Washington is famous for but it was still impressive; a constant thrumming noise indoors and outside doors that were difficult to open or close due to pressure differences created by all that moving air. It’s always fun to be able to see the clouds whipping by even when you’re in the clouds themselves.


Dennis Vienneau,  Summit Volunteer

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