2011-04-06 20:01:36.000 – Laura Hardy, Summit Volunteer
At the summit
This was not your typical Spring Break vacation. Having volunteered for my first time last summer, this is my first winter stint at the summit. It was a bit of an adjustment to my system, having just flown in from sunny Florida and record high temperatures. Quite frankly, it has been nice to stall the heat of summer for just a little longer. And what a way to do it, with 60 – 100 mph winds, temps between 5 and 40 degrees, and snow, sleet and even a little rain. I’ve had ample opportunity to improve on my standing and walking in high winds technique, and was fortunate to be awakened at 6:15 AM for two glorious sunrises.
Besides the crazy weather, I have become aware a more subtle effect. The silence. Now I don’t mean utter silence, but the absence of the sounds common in everyday life; cell phones ringing, emergency sirens, honking horns, neighbour’s music, a classroom full of kids, and TV and radio. There is sound, of course, and we are certainly not deprived of TV and music if we wanted it. It just seems like an insult in the senses. The constant drone of the wind, at times more of a roar, the occasional clanging of pans and dishes in the kitchen, crackling over the radio, the crunch of my boots on the wind packed snow, quiet conversation while Ryan, the night time Weather Observer, is sleeping in the next room – these are the sounds of winter here. My brain, my senses, enjoy this sabbatical from noise.
And of course, I must mention Marty, the summit cat. Yes, as a cat lover, one of the things that originally peaked my interest in volunteering was the cat. Last summer Marty’s presence was a little scarce, I’m told mostly because of so many people around at that time of year. But this winter Marty and I have become good buddies. His fur is thick and shiny, he is very playful and talkative, and has kept me entertained as I’ve tried to entertain him.
I have been documenting the my week here on my blog which also contains lots of photos of my experience.
Lastly I would like to say a big thank you to my fellow volunteer, Steve Hill, and Brian, Ryan, Mike and Rebecca (and Marty) for helping to make my visit here an enjoyable and memorable experience. I hope to return again.
Laura Hardy, Summit Volunteer