2014-05-22 00:02:51.000 – Brenda Lind, Summit Volunteer
May 20: Wind and snow pellets pummeled the building yesterday and last night. Even so, who would have thought that May 20 would dawn with inches of snow and rime ice? Even though I know this is the ‘Home of the World’s Worst Weather,’ I was still surprised to find a seriously wintery world back again. See those drifts on my photo of the summit path this morning?
One thing I learned during this week as a Mount Washington Observatory volunteer was: If you don’t fancy the weather on the summit, walk down a bit. Just 500 to 2000 feet usually does it. All week this has been happening to me — I wake up, appreciate the drama and beauty of icy winds and fast moving fog and high-speed precipitation of all sorts, and then…I start to feel restless. Wishing the weather would not be quite so strong-willed. Wishing I could go for a hike without being blown off my feet!
My first day here I ventured out and found that once I passed the hairpin turn on the Mt. Washington Auto Road there were blue skies above and warm sunshine on my back. So I learned to persevere and just head down the hill in any direction to enjoy some spring each day. Tuesday, I walked down out of the snowdrifts and gray fog of the summit into the land of sunshine, then took another photo looking back upslope at the thick clouds rolling down off Washington’s summit — still socked in up there!
Hikers get fooled this way sometimes, making bad assumptions and being unprepared for tough weather above tree line. I sort of made the same mistake, starting my week up here unknowing and unprepared for the great weather below!
I am grateful to the Observatory for letting me volunteer and stay up here, and get to know all this fabulous mountain weather as well as the people who study it. It’s been a great week of hiking and cooking up a storm!
Brenda Lind, Summit Volunteer