Summer arrives on the summit…

2007-06-21 10:03:12.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

Lupines below the Presidential Range…

Much like Jon, I have enjoyed the use of some accumulated vacation time in recent weeks. Like Jon as well, I spent some of it in New York, but mainly spent it taking the time to really enjoy the transitions in the forest that lead up to the arrival of summer. Now most of the forest flowers have run their cycles, and the last of the prominent spring blooms, the lupines, fill the notches. It’s time for summer.

I arrive back on the summit on this day of the seasonal change, and into a surprising world of green. The tundra spends less than three months a year in its green state, and it is a true over stimulation of the eyes that boarders on trickery at first sight after months of brown, grey and white. And it happens seemly overnight. The alpine flowers are in full swing as well, and Jon highlighted a large patch of Diapensia lapponica (aka Diapensia) just below the summit.

I always seem to find myself at work on the solstice, in fact, I believe that this is my seventh up here. Every comment I’ve written about it contains nearly the same additional point. I feel like I can’t say it much better than last June 21st, so here’s a fine moment of Déjà vu!

For the summit crew, the first day of summer brings a point of amazement at sunset. On the day that the sun reaches its northern-most point on the horizon, it sets just south of Jay Peak in Vermont, near the Canadian boarder. Simple reflection reminds us that six months ago, the sun set behind Killington from our vantage, a full 66 degrees on the compass further south. The sun’s journey northward through the winter and spring was a constant reminder that warm, nice pleasant days like today were on the way. Conversely though, from this point on, the sun slipping southward will constantly remind us of the workload that must be completed before winter sets in!

While the sun will now slip southward, there is a fantastic season ahead, and the Observatory is hosting many great events. Most notably I’d like to highlight Seek the Peak, now just over a month away. Please consider hiking, supporting a hiker, or simply coming out to the event. Details can be found here…


Jim Salge,  Observer

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