O Christmas Cairn

2011-12-25 18:42:54.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

O Christmas Cairn! O Christmas Cairn…

A few years ago, I walked out onto the observation deck for a weather observation to find a hiker playing with a set of homemade battery operated Christmas lights. Talking with him a bit, he was telling me how he was going to light up a few small cairns on his way down for a photography project he was working on. I thought it was a great idea at the time, and kept thinking of a way to replicate it on my own. So this year, I set out to do just that. I looked at professional battery operated lights, but they were either pricy, small (25-50 lights), or would take too long to get here. So I had to think of another method. Well, I already had a battery jump pack I bought for my old car that frequently needed jumping; so I had the power pack. I had a power inverter for the same battery pack; so I had a way to power lights. I had a box of 300 unused Christmas lights I bought on sale last year; so I had the lights. And this year, I finally upgraded my camera to one that could be adjusted manually; so I had the camera. I had all the parts, so now I just needed the weather – fog free, clear skies, and low winds. While it could have been a bit warmer, last night delivered all three of those weather elements (a Christmas weather miracle), allowing me to try out my experiment and get the pictures I wanted.

I first hiked down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and decorated a cairn along the way there at sunset. I found that operating the camera and battery was tougher than I thought, running up and down the trail before each timed exposure. It was exhausting, but what ended up being even more exhausting was the cold on my battery packs; both in my camera and for the lights. So, an hour after sunset, I found myself returning to the summit disappointed but still determined to get my shot. After some warming and a recharge of the batteries I headed back out with assistance and decorated the summit sign and a summit cairn and finally got the shots I was looking for. It was a long process, years in the making, but in the end, it was a great experience (you can check out the entire album here).

With my pictures in mind, I had the perfect ‘summitized’ parody of a Christmas song to use this year. For those wondering what I mean, for the past few years, I have posted a ‘summitized’ parody of a Christmas song or story right around or on Christmas. Back in 2007, it was a parody on the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. In 2008, it was a parody on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ called ‘The 12 Days of Summit Christmas’ fittingly. In 2009, it was a twist on ‘Jingle Bells’ called ‘Summit Weeks’, followed by the twist last year on ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ called ‘Marty the Black-Haired Maine Coon’. This year, I did a parody on ‘O Tannenbaum/O Christmas Tree’ called ‘O Christmas Cairn’. This was complicated a bit since there seems to be several different versions of this song littered across the internet. So, the parody I did fits the melody that was available on this Wikipedia page (there’s even some midi links at the bottom if you want some music playing to sing along with). So, hopefully, like always, you enjoy it. And before I go, our crew would like to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and JOYFUL HOLIDAYS!

O Christmas Cairn

Oh Christmas Cairn, Oh Christmas Cairn,
Your shape is so unchanging!
In summertime you hold up fine,
But it’s winter when you truly shine.
Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
Your shape is so unchanging!

Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
The guidance you give hikers!
How oft dense fog limits ones’ sight,
Your pyramid shape gives us delight!
Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
The guidance you give hikers!

Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
Providing your own color.
Your green lichen in summertime
Cover’d greatly by a winter rime!
Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
Providing your own color.

Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
Lit like a beacon tonight.
Reminding us on Christmas Day
To thank the guiding role you play
Oh Christmas Cairn! Oh Christmas Cairn!
Lit like a beacon tonight.

 

Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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