Volunteer Comment

2011-05-04 22:30:11.000 – Joe Kayan,  Summit Volunteer


I awake a half hour before my alarm goes off. My room is gray…just enough early light filtering through the two small windows for me to see the clutter of hiking gear, books and late night snacks littering my small space. I put my face up to the window closest to my bed. Grayer still outside. The rocks only 50 feet from the building disappear in the dim morning light and the heavy, thick clouds rushing by.

I know that I awoke early today because I’m a bit anxious. It’s shift change day and I have not finished my end of the week cleaning chores. I need to wash the kitchen and pantry floors, tidy up and empty the trash. I want to leave my temporary home at least as neat and clean as I when I arrived a week ago. Sadly, I also must pack my bags for the trip down. Part of me is quite ready to descend to a greener, warmer and less windy world. Spending a week here in this environment of rock, clouds and breeze can be slightly disorienting. Time becomes somehow altered, suspended. The days can pass slowly and leisurely, but the week, in retrospect, has flown by.

My routine during this time has been simple and very pleasant; get up in the morning when I please, check the instrument display on my way to the bath (today it reads: Wind speed 38 MPH, 15 minute gust 54.1 MPH., 24 hour high gust 58.6 MPH. Temp is 44 degrees). I eat a small breakfast while trying to engage Marty, the summit cat. He has warmed considerably from when we met two springs ago when he would bolt from me, in a panicked way. Today, he rubs my leg and makes a noise that I interpret as affection. Really, he just wants the cat treats that I have been winning him over with. After breakfast I take a quick look at the morning news and check my email. I plan the evening supper menu and check that we have all the necessary ingredients.

Then, on to the serious business of the day-walking, either purposefully or aimlessly, in this amazing, beautiful, treeless world. I love this part of my day best. This past week the hiking was glorious! I purposefully walked familiar paths to beloved spots-Mts. Clay, Jefferson, Monroe and Eisenhower. I aimlessly wandered through the Bigelow Lawn and the Alpine Gardens. I walked in pea soup fog, rain, wind as well as in clear, windless (well almost windless) days with 120 mile visibility. I walked on ice, on snow and on lichen covered rock. I got to test my rain gear as well as my sunscreen. PERFECT!

There was nothing even remotely disappointing about my week. A hearty thank you to my housemates Brian, Ryan, Mike and Rebecca, for their congeniality and their willingness to eat my cooking. Hopefully, I’ll return next year with a couple of new recipes and stronger legs.


Joe Kayan,  Summit Volunteer

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