2011-06-14 15:23:32.000 – Werner Griesshammer, Summit Volunteer
A full week on the summit of Mount Washington!
A while ago, we had applied to work as volunteers for the Mount Washington Observatory and an old dream has become true.
Last Wednesday, my wife Conny and I were greeted by the summit with sunshine and almost record temperatures. But the next day the stone pile showed its real face: in and out of the clouds and low temperatures.
Over the next days, dressed warmly, we managed to hike down to the Alpine Garden and enjoyed the flowers that dare to bloom at an elevation of 5300ft. This time of the year, you still find patches of snow and we were told that some of the kids who work in the White Mountains were sledding on those snow patches.
One of the most exciting things you can do is climb up the tower over stairs and ladders to the very highest point in New England, the top of the observatory. With very low winds that day we watched Mt.Jefferson, Mt.Adams and Mt.Madison appear above the clouds and once in a while catch a glimpse down into the valley. At other times we experienced 60mph wind gusts on the platform and decided to take cover behind the tower as fast as possible.
Cooking was a new experience as an elevation of over 6000ft changes cooking times quite a bit. Our plan from the beginning was to have a ‘German Week’ for the crew. Meals included German Bratwurst (made by the famous Karl’s Sausage Kitchen in Saugus, MA), potato salad, Sauerkraut, Sauerbraten with potato dumplings and a good selection of cookies, apple cakes and Gummi Bears. Leftovers never had a chance to survive for a long time, so I assume the food was a success.
As an engineer, I was interested in the type of work that is done here in the observatory. Being close to the weather station gave me a chance to learn a lot about the work the observers do. From hourly weather readings, radio shows, tours through the station to maintainance of the computers in the little server room there is a wide range of knowledge they have to have.
Thanks to Brian, Ryan, Mike, Steven, Jackie and Rebecca for a wonderful week in the clouds.
Werner Griesshammer, Summit Volunteer