2007-02-06 10:06:46.000 – Nicole Moore, Summit Volunteer
Ice candle centerpiece …
Considering the current conditions up here, winds 95.3 mph and temp -22 degrees(-72 with windchill factored in), what I am about to say may seem preposterous atbest, but….this place on the summit of Mt. Washington is one of the warmestplaces I have ever been! I joked with my husband a couple weeks ago that Icouldn’t wait to get up here so I could enjoy my cozy bunkroom–our bedroom athome is pretty cold. Even with my windows here crusted over with ice, there isnothing more snug than lying there in my down sleeping bag, listening to ragingwinds outside. Nin is curled up on a chair in the living room outside my door,Jim and Brent are snoozing in their bunkrooms, Chris from State Parks is in hisquarters next door and Ryan is upstairs in the Weather Room working the nightshift. Add to that a few creepy stories from Nicholas Howe’s Not Without Perilbefore I turn off my reading light….you get the picture.
However, it is the less literal meaning of the word WARM to which I mainly refer. Listening to Ken tell Observatory ghost stories over dinner and then donning mygear and following Jim and two Associated Press reporters, Jim and Beverle, overto see the Yankee snowdrift the other night is an example. The visibility was notmore than 10 feet–just the howling wind and white blowing fog everywhere. I waspretty scared, honestly, whenever I momentarily lost sight of the person in frontof me. But it was that thrilling, FUN kind of scared, when you are in the companyof others.
Cooking dinner while crammed in the kitchen with 6 wine-drinking EduTripperstalking about the merits of the Crosby Stills and Nash CD to which I am listening,is a great example of this mountain warmth. Where else do you get applause from 14people merely for cooking dinner? It will be a Herculean feat to stuff myinflated ego into the car to drive home on Wednesday! Going over to chat withChris next door while I await the dishwasher cycle to finish is another greatexperience. Having one multi-talented snowcat operator offer to be your assistantcook for an EduTrip (thanks Wayne!) and then the other snowcat operator, Gus, callfrom the base of the Auto Road before he heads up the mountain to order a baglunch from me is another. Making a special birthday cake for my friend Wayne–wow! 7 egg whites really DO create a lot of volume when whipped at high altitude–allthis makes me feel welcomed and accepted and yeah….. warm. Then there is theadorable-faced, furry guy who guards attentively while I putter about the kitchen. Even demonstrating my toilet-plunging technique was more fun because Jim was “observing.” Don’t worry Jim, I just have 15 more years of experience, that’s all!
Of course, a love of the mountains, wild weather and a desire to experience a fullmoon or a meteor shower while alone on the deck late at night is what drew me herein the first place. It’s a dose I need over and over. I crave the cold andsolitariness of it. But I thrive on the warmth of the people sharing this space.
Nicole Moore, Summit Volunteer