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2008-04-08 00:34:22.000 – Kyle Paddleford,  Observer

My first week back from vacation was a good one. It was nice to see the crew again at the base of the Auto Road Wednesday morning and plus it was snowing. The vacation was both good and bad. The good part was that I got to go to Utah, ski deep snow, (as if I needed to leave NH for that!) and see some friends that I have not seen in over a year. The bad part was that I was not on the summit to experience the 145 mph wind gust on the 21st of March. I used to have this crew beat with the highest wind gust experienced but now that has all changed.

The first night back on shift was quite interesting. I had forgotten what it was like to take an observation in winds sustained in the 80’s and gusting over 100 mph. It was nothing like being on vacation that’s for sure. The sound was ferocious. At times I wondered how far I should venture out. My game plan was to wait under the A-frame until my eyes adjusted to the dark and get far enough out on the deck so I could see the night sky, do my observation, and get back inside. Sometimes this worked, other times I ended up down at the other end of the deck. So I didn’t get to be here for the big wind gust but I still got to watch the wind dial frequently get pinned during the night which was fun.

Another treat was the sunset that Ryan wrote about yesterday. Using the 10 scale this was definitely a 9 for me. It was truly spectacular. Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3 Pic 4. An overnight trip from the EMS Climbing School also got to witness the magnificent sight.

I had a strange experience last night that stopped me in my tracks. It is going to be a bit hard to explain but here goes! The summit had just cleared from the fog and I was in the middle of the deck looking southeast into the wind, scanning the horizon and night sky for clouds. It was really dark out there since the moon was nowhere to be found and most of the lights from the valleys were obscured by an undercast cloud layer below. All of a sudden a huge cloud rose up out of nowhere, just beyond the deck railing where I was looking. The light at the State Park entrance, which points in that direction, caught the water droplets just right and reflected the light at me and across the deck just like a giant spotlight. It was almost blinding. I half expected to see a helicopter pointing a search light at me. Obviously, that was not the case. It was really intense, well, for about 2 seconds anyways. Wish I had a camera with me for that one.

Even better than all that though was the cream puffs, whoopie pies, cookies, etc. etc. etc. that our wonderful volunteers Charlie and Jeanine Kinney have been preparing for us all week. I know I have said it a lot this week, and this won’t be the last time but here it is again, THANK YOU!

 

Kyle Paddleford,  Observer

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