Vol Comment

2011-06-21 17:42:56.000 – Barbara Marino,  Summit Volunteer


In August 2010 I found out that I would spend a week volunteering at the Observatory. Kim gave me the best week of the year: mid June 2011. A week with a full moon, the Mt. Washington Road Race, Bike Week and Mini’s on Top. If that was not enough happiness, the days would be their longest and surely after cooking a fantastic dinner I would get time to see sunsets and hike in the dark and watch the moon. And if they like me, I GET TO GO BACK IN THE WINTER!

Minutes after I got my assignment all my friends knew what I’d be doing for vacation this year, and most of them had this sympathetic quizzical look when I told them. I started telling people my vacation plans by prefacing my story with ‘I know it’s totally nerdy but I GET TO SPEND A WEEK ON MT. WASHINGTON COOKING DINNER AND HANGING OUT ON THE MOUNTAIN, AND MAYBE I’LL GO BACK IN THE WINTER TOO!’ And the quizzical looks continued. So I started amassing recipes, determined to make this a great experience, even if it is nerdy.

So here’s what happened. The day before I arrived for my shift someone posted a rave review of the couple who were on shift the week before me. Ok, I’m a good basic cook, but not nearly good enough for a raving post on FB. It only got worse in the first 24 hours. In spite of having access to a pantry full of great stuff and a range to die for, none of the meals I’d planned would work. Something was missing for every one of them. The first dinner was pretty bad, but the Observatory crew was gracious and ate it anyhow. The next day was better: Tom and Pete suggested a trail to the Alpine Garden. Awesome! After a hike through wildflowers and scrambles back up to the top, I was ready to tackle dinner on the mountain’s terms: no more meal plans. See what’s in the pantry, relax and cook.

And it only improved. Yes, you can make bread and scones on the mountain, and the meat in the freezer is great. The Observatory was a sports bar for a night as we watched the Bruins take the Cup. I spent an hour talking photography with Brad Bradstreet, and I saw a sunrise with a biker from Pennsylvania whose last name is Orr. He’s got a brother named Bobby and enjoys the confusion of New England hockey fans trying to figure out how his little brother could be Bobby Orr. I totally get it: my little brother is Dan Marino. Really. I cheered on the runners and marveled at the ones who still had enough to attack the last few yards to the finish line. I tried to walk in 50 mph winds, and listened to the observatory sighing in 70 mph winds. Those doors marked ‘Staff Only’ were my entrances this week, and I walked up to them slowly so all the day visitors would see me go through them. And tonight I stepped thru the sub door and watched a sunset with new friends who helped make my vacation fabulous. My friends back home will be jealous.

Observer Note:

A Family Program Celebrating National Lightning Awareness Week.

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s most dangerous weather phenomena– lightning. But don’t be fooled, lightning strikes year round. As a result, the goal of this program is to raise awareness of lightning so that you and your family may safely enjoy the natural splendor of the White Mountains. So please, join us this Thursday Night at 7:00 PM and gain a better understanding of lightning while having fun with an experiment that will literally make your hair stand on end!


Barbara Marino,  Summit Volunteer

Find Older Posts