2006-12-12 14:25:06.000 – Bryan Farr, Summit Intern
I guess the Mount Washington spirit decided that for my last full day on the mountain as a fall intern, it would produce an amazing day. Pristine white mountains , snow covered slopes, frozen ponds, sunshine on the ocean, and limitless views are just a few of the sights I saw when I was out for my last hike. The wind was nearly calm; it was as if something were missing. A very good thing. The low December sun actually warmed me a little too much through my down LL Bean jacket, very un-December like for sure.
Time really went by fast for me here on the summit. It seems so recent that I took a van ride up the Auto Road for my interview on a warm July day. The slopes were covered in green and shorts were the preferred attire. When I returned in September, the mountain shrubs were a bright reddish yellow , the brush a newly turned yellow, for the first killing frost had just passed. It wasn’t long before the mountain was coated with rime overlooking a colorful autumn valley . Visitors were amazed by the contrast as was I, It made it seem more like December than early October. We spoke too soon as, the snow began to fall and fall and fall – to a near record amount. Getting outside was few and far between and usually reserved for observations only. Then there came the day we could not get outside, when the summit recorded a wind gust of 158 mph.
November started stormy, and snow shoveling was a priority everyday. The living room had grown dark, due to a drift covering the only window. The digging out process seemed futile, as by weeks end, the rain and warm fog had melted all but the deepest snow drifts. A once white mountain was reduced to bare rock. The week of Thanksgiving proved to be the “best” of the internship, depending on your point of view of course. Mild, dry conditions persisted on the summit. Views of Mt. Marcy and Whiteface Mountain 129 miles away were common, a day long hike could be completed without fear of fog or treacherous conditions and not having to suit up in layers was a relief! Were the seasons going in reverse?
My last week can be summed up with one word, EVERYTHING!. Sub-zero temps, 100mph+ winds, 130 mile views, rime, snow, sun, undercast, “warm” and simply this, amazing. I will miss life on the summit; it was everything, for one who loves meteorology, could ask for and so much more. I came away with an experience that will last a life time and one that I would love to share with as many others as I can. I would have to say that the only drawback for being here in the late fall was not having my close friends and family being able to easily visit. Now I can look forward to returning to the summit and the Observatory and sharing this experience with them for years to come! In leaving I will give you my top ten memories of being an intern at the Mount Washington Observatory.
My Top Ten events as a Summit Intern
10. Way too much good food!
9. Seeing something new in the sky everyday
8. Hiking the White Mountains for the first time
7. Giving tours and meeting the public.
6. Being hit with sleet at 75mph and laughing
5. Summer, Fall to Winter , what a sight!
4. Views of the Atlantic and Adirondacks
3. Completing the “Century Club”
2. Deicing the tower in 100+ winds.
1. The 158 mph wind on October 30.
And last but not least, many thanks have to be given to Neil, Ryan, Jim, Jon, Ken, my fellow intern Mike, State Park Staff, the entire valley staff and all the volunteers, for making this one of the greatest experiences of my life. You all shared and showed your passion for this mountain and organization and what it can offer and for this I am grateful.
Bryan Farr, Summit Intern