2008-06-29 14:53:26.000 – Lisa Hodges,  Summit Intern

the ladder to the cold room

I like to climb. Trees. Ladders. Rocks. Mountains. I know most kids outgrow this habit, but I haven’t yet. Here at the summit, we are nearly 2000 feet above treeline, so, unfortunately, there are no trees to scale. Even if I walked down to treeline, the tiny Krumholtz that grow up here are shorter than I am, so I would not be able to climb any trees until well below 4000 feet. Fortunately, at the summit, there are plenty of ladders and rocks to climb. If you have ever visited the observatory, you know that to ascend the tower, you must brave the heights of three steep red metal ladders. The tower is home to our collection of wind instruments and the farthest views in New England. I jump at any opportunity to run up and down the tower, putting up or taking down instruments as inclement weather moves around the summit, simply for the thrill of being at the highest point in New England. The top of our tower also boasts a second summit marker, since it is higher than the actual summit of Mt. Washington. Yesterday, as Jeff, Steve, and Dennis were installing a METEK sonic anemometer on the roof of the stage office across the summit, I insisted on joining them for the rush of climbing another ladder and being fifteen feet in the air. n

nEven hiking from the summit is a climbing adventure, since hiking here is more like rock-hopping than going for a walk. The White Mountains were formed as glaciers receded after the last ice age. As a result, lots of big boulders remain as what’s called glacial erratic: huge boulders stranded alone on mountain sides. When walking around the summit on some of the many trails that meet here, one often ends up climbing up some of the bigger ones. They certainly add to the adventure of climbing Mount Washington.n

nWhenever we have been mostly in the fog, as we have this shift, the time after we break out of the fog is usually full of excitement. We have been in the fog since yesterday morning, but a few hours ago, the fog finally broke, much to the excitement of the tourists who chose today to venture up to the summit. As the fog cleared at 11:30, we all rushed up to the observation deck to soak in a few rays and check out the clouds that we were no longer inside of. Stacey emerged carrying a kite from some undisclosed location, and we spent today’s brief moments in the clear trying to fly a kite. Being inside the clouds makes us appreciate the sunshine minutes a lot. So for now, I’m off to Lakes to get some fresh air before we go back into the clouds.


Lisa Hodges,  Summit Intern

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