Snowy Shift Change
2008-10-23 18:47:26.000 – Brian Clark, Observer
Shift change in the snow
The last two days have been extremely busy for all of the summit crew. So many things have been going on that it is actually difficult to pick just one to write about today. This is certainly a good problem to have though.
Yesterday’s weekly shift change was the first one of the new winter season that required the use of four wheel drive vehicles with tire chains. This was necessary because of snow that was falling not only on the summit, but also at the base of the Auto Road. Although this was not the first snowfall of the season on the summit, it was the first of the season for Pinkham Notch.
Although snow was starting to stick to cars and grassy surfaces at the base of the road, all the snow hitting the relatively warm road was simply melting. However, by the time we reached the 3 mile mark of the 7.6 mile auto road, snow was laying on the road as well. Despite the snow, it was a relatively painless and quick trip up the road. Winds remained fairly light through this snowstorm, so not much drifting had occurred on the upper part of the road and therefore no plowing was needed.
Of course, this change in transportation is not unexpected this time of year. The snow tractor is already perched at (roughly) the half-way point of the auto road, just waiting for enough snow to fall, or drift, on the upper part of the road to require its use. That day is undoubtedly not too far away!
To polish off this comment, I wanted share a picture from sunset yesterday evening, after the snow ended and building high pressure started clearing fog off the summits. It was a really pretty sunset, but what I find particularly interesting about this photo is the lenticular cloud that you see in the middle of the picture, forming nearly right on top of some cumuliform clouds. It was something that I had never seen happen before and just goes to show that there is always something new to see on this mountain!
Brian Clark, Observer