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2007-06-06 02:53:26.000 – Jason B. Hill,  Summit Volunteer

Summit, tower and undercast

Even with near constant fog, thunderstorms and other weather intent on keeping us indoors 24/7, the past week volunteering on the summit has been incredible. Fellow volunteer Gunnar Myrbeck and I have spent a week cooking, cleaning, entering weather data records, painting, and doing all those things that you’d expect would be part of spending a week on Mt. Washington – like braving hurricane force winds. We’ve loved every minute of it.

I was an avid hiker and backpacker when I lived in New England for several years, when I originally fell in love with Mt. Washington and became a member of the observatory. But, it wasn’t until I moved out west to Colorado that I realized how special these mountains are. For me, what really makes this place unique (besides the extreme weather) is foundbelow the treeline, in the boreal forest. Named after the Greek god Boreas (god of the cold northern wind and the bringer of winter), this forest circles the globe mostly in arctic regions, rarely venturing as far south as New England – where between about 2,500 and 4,500 feet in elevation it thrives. Overall, it contains 1/3 of all trees on earth, in a dense andmoist biome where plants shroud themselves in thick snow and rime ice in order to survive the harsh winters.

The northeast is incredibly fortunate to have such a varied ecosystem, all the way from the lush, deciduous valley floors to the windswept and lichen-covered summits like Mt. Washington. Having the observatory here at the summit to constantly study and monitor one extreme of that ecosystem is something that I’m proud to be a part of, even if I now live thousands of miles away and can rarely experience it myself.

 

Jason B. Hill,  Summit Volunteer

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