Obs Life Off-Summit, Part 3: More Work!
2017-10-23 08:06:45.000 – Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist
The Observatory has for a long time been something I was fascinated with. The first time I learned about Mt. Washington was while watching this old TV show called the Voyage of the Mimi. There was a short clip that was done on the summit and I thought it was the coolest job ever. Ever since then, being a big fan of the weather channel growing up, I would see clips of the storms up here and decided that I would need to at least visit the summit one day. Growing up in Colorado I was surrounded by mountains much taller than Mt. Washington and would sometimes go to the top of Pikes Peak if there were a chance for some thunderstorms to see the weather above tree line. There was a lot more lightning in those storms than what I have seen up on the summit, but there was rarely much wind in those thunderstorms compared to what I have seen up here on the summit!
The first time I ever was in New England was for the interview for my internship. I was prepared to crack some jokes at how small the mountains are compared to Colorado. To my pleasant surprise, the White Mountains were quite mountainous. The prominence of the Whites from near sea level to 4,000+ feet made me feel like it was back in Colorado, though the mountains here are not quite as steep outside of a few locations like Tuckermans Ravine.
The first place I stayed was in Twin Mountain and I worked at the Mount Washington Hotel in my off weeks to make some money during the internship since it is unpaid on the summit. I ended up working every day in my off weeks because I would get quite bored in Twin Mountain due to the remoteness of the location. I didn’t really get to enjoy too much of the outdoors initially because I was afraid of hiking by myself.
Once I got hired full time, I was able to leave the job at the hotel and finally get to enjoy a bit of the outdoors with some of my co-workers on my days off in the spring. At the time, Mike and Tom on my shift lived in the North Conway area so I drove there almost every day in the off week and eventually was able to find a place to live up in Jackson.
Since then, I have lived there for about a year and a half now and get to explore a bit more often and have now gotten over my fear of hiking alone. There are usually enough people on the trails to meet and it has been really enjoyable to set my own pace. I finally got my mountain bike shipped to me from college this spring and have been getting into biking more.
Since I have a week off, I still get bored and luckily I now help out a few times an off week at the Sunrise Shack as a busser to make a little bit extra. I have used the money from there to buy some skies for this season so I am really hoping for a lot of snow this year! Also, because I work in the morning, I am able to use the afternoon and be able to get outside. If the weather is bad on a day off, I will also stop in at the Weather Discovery Center in North Conway to bug some of the valley staff. It is also nice to be able to see what they are doing and new projects that may need extra help.
One thing for sure is that it will be tough to go to a more normal job in the future. I really like the job schedule as it is. Even though after a few days off, I am always ready to head back on up to the summit. I will also contemplate hiking up to the summit in an off week if a big storm is forecasted so I can be on the summit to see it! Though I would prefer it to be relatively calm on the day I hike up before the storm because I don’t want to be caught above tree line in a Mount Washington blizzard.
Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist