2011-08-16 22:00:02.000 – Tor Clark, Summit Volunteer
Son of former Chief Observer, longtime member, first time volunteer and on arrival, learned that my advance billing included “former intern”, which was as a high school senior in 1970, helping dismantle the tower that dated from the original (1937?) Observatory, and rebuilding it. One of my duties was salvaging the weathered wooden shingles to be sold as fundraising momentous. I took a turn in the kitchen rotation – the observers did the cooking then – my meatballs, from a recipe that Al Oxton dug out “given me by an old Italian grandmother”, were a success, though it took the entire day to prepare; the fish dinner, less so – perhaps that is why fish is no longer on the menu, or maybe the statute of limitations has run out.
In any case, I was back up to cook for the entire past week and both my confidence and the Observatory kitchen facilities had evolved for the better. Baking at elevation proved not as dicey as I anticipated, though I write before tonight’s Yorkshire Pudding, and the new restaurant-grade Wolf gas range is a pleasure to work with. And I see more pies in my future after making crust doughs in the heavy duty Cuisinart.
This shift of observers, interns, museum attendants and Summit Adventurers have been wonderful, appreciative company in and out of the kitchen, and I don’t think just because they were a captive audience.
Except for snow, I was lucky enough to see most of the gamut of the summit summer weather, from clear and sunny 60 degrees for my first stroll through the Alpine Garden to a thunderstorm with 60 mph gusts. It has been a unique way to experience the mountain, not available to the casual day tripper
Note for anyone in the valley tonight: Many consider winter their favorite season in the White Mountains – we ski, we climb, and then we ski some more! Although winter can be beautiful, the cold season does provide some hazards – few of which are more feared than avalanches. To learn more about avalanches, join us tonight at 7:00 PM in North Conway for our FREE Science in the Mountains lecture series. This is your opportunity to join veteran USDA Forest Service Snow Ranger Jeff Lane for a look into the heart of Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine – something Jeff does on a daily basis.
Tor Clark, Summit Volunteer