2015-01-11 18:46:30.000 – Caleb Meute, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
I have been anxiously awaiting my first exposure to the educational overnight trips for the past couple of months, and now that the first one has returned to civilization, I can’t wait for the next! The group who came up for this particular trip was great and it was a pleasure getting to know all of them. They arrived yesterday afternoon and immediately jumped right into the action. Instructor: Joe Lentini, professional climbing guide and Vice President of the New Hampshire Mountain Rescue Service, took them outside and started the course almost immediately upon their arrival. The group, with Joe at the helm, went outside and was taught how to use crampons and ice axes. They were also taught self-arrest navigation, as well as avalanche safety and avalanche transceiver use. Hiking in the White Mountains can be extremely dangerous, especially in the winter, and it is of the utmost importance for hikers to be educated in the proper techniques. Unfortunately, the trip began with the summit in the clouds so there was no visible sunset, which was much to their dismay. From 5:00-6:00PM observers and trip participants congregated in the living quarters for a social hour which was a lot of fun. The hour consisted of watching the patriots narrowly avoid a playoff knockout, and on top of the good company the participants provided, we all were lucky enough to eat some DELICIOUS salsa which was donated to us by, Todd’s Original Salsa. I have had good salsa, but Todd’s was legendary!
After our social hour, we sat down for a delicious home cooked meal which was prepared for us by our awesome volunteers, Charlie and Jules. After dinner, Joe took everyone back outside for additional training and when they came back inside, it was time for everyone to close their eyes for the night.
This morning started off early and Joe had them outside once again for a short hike to see if they were paying attention to his teachings. When they came back inside, I gave them all a tour of the station and explained the topography of the mountain range and how it plays a major role in the extreme weather that we get here on the summit. I then explained to them our weather wall and how all of our visual displays work, while also explaining the type of anemometer we use to measure wind speed and why it is so unique to this observatory. After the tour, we looked outside and the craziest thing happened… The summit actually cleared out of the fog! This was great because they all were able to go outside and see the incredible views we have when we are not socked in the clouds.
Another meal was prepared by our volunteers for lunch and then our snowcat operator’s emerged from the auto road with their chariot back down to the base. Thanks to everyone who came up here for a great trip, that I was lucky enough to be a part of!
Caleb Meute, Weather Observer/Education Specialist