These Were A Few of My Favorite Things

2018-05-22 18:09:06.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist


This past week I was asked: what has been my favorite experience with the Observatory? At the time I answered with my highest wind experienced. But when I started reflecting on it, I started second guessing myself and couldn’t narrow it down to any one experience. With a dozen or so years on the summit, I have had my fair share of great experiences up here. In fact, new experiences happen all the time up here and that is why I enjoy it so much and partly why I have been here as long as I have. Sure, not every experience has been great but such is life; you have to have the good with the bad. But for every one bad experience there are hundreds of good experiences that fill my list.
There were all the weather firsts like my first foggy day. My first clear day. My first calm day. My first day of experiencing hurricane force gusts. My first day with 100+ mph gusts. My first experience trying to walk in 100+ mph winds which then turned into my first 100+ mph slide in 100+ mph winds which then turned into my first time being completely terrified of weather. There was the first time I experienced 30F below and 35F below, and 40F below. There was my first summer where I learned that 40F above is considered “shorts weather” for the summit.
Sling Psychrometer at 40F belowMeasuring 40F Below Zero
There are the night shift experiences like the various Northern Lights. The total and partial Lunar Eclipses. There are the various meteor showers. There was the time a high powered telescope was brought up and I got to see Venus, Mars, and Jupiter (for those new to this blog, we are a weather Observatory, so we don’t examine space of even have a telescope up here). There are the countless sunrises and sunsets. There is the summit shadow. The moonlit vistas and the Milky Way for when the moon sets.
Northern Lights and MWO instrument towerNorthern Lights
There are the countless people I have met over the years that I associate with various experiences. There are the handful times I have met famous actors, authors, and pro athletes. There are the various EduTrip participants I have met and led up here. There are the volunteers I meet each summer and greet once again when they return in the winter. There are the interns and coworkers I have met, shared experiences with, who then move on to great things later. There are the various people I have met that are involved in the mountain community and with whom I have shared experiences with.
Sunrise with interns and volunteersSunrise with interns and volunteers
There were all the spare time experiences like when my coworkers and I brought up some watermelons and made them explode with rubber bands. There was the time we played volleyball with the Lakes of the Clouds Croo. There was the time we played flashlight tag. There are the countless games of “fog chicken.” There are the times where I learned with enough wind, skiing and sledding on a horizontal surface can be done without exerting any effort. There were the times I learned that playing catch, it is always best to be on the side with the wind at your back. There were the times we did Kite Aerial Photography.
Watermelons and rubber bandsWatermelons and rubberbands
But looking back, I think my favorite experience with the Observatory actually happened before I physically arrived at the Observatory. When I reflect back on everything, I think my favorite experience is the moment I checked my mailbox and got my intern hire letter from the Observatory. It put something solid in my hand that would alter the course of my life and has led me to all the countless experiences I have had since then.


Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist

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