2012-05-22 22:07:14.000 – Bob Domeracki & John Zimmerman, Summit Volunteers
Last Wednesday, my friend John and I found ourselves on the rather long drive from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire. We do this drive quite a few times a year with other good friends to hike in one of our favorite places on Earth, The White Mountains of New Hampshire. But this trip was to be different, very different. For this was to be the week when our time had come to volunteer on the summit of Mount Washington for the first time. We both have been members of the observatory for quite a few years now, but have never given much thought into spending a week on the summit, helping the wonderful, professional crew that works up there with whatever needs to be done. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or helping with maintenance, we were ready to do anything they needed.
Our week began with a drive up the Auto Road to the summit with the crew that would spend the next week performing activities such as monitoring and reporting the weather, conducting Distance Learning programs, and hosting EduTrips to name a few. Once we arrived, we off loaded all our equipment and supplies, then help the down going crew with theirs.
From the first day, this was to be a very special week. Normally, the summit is in the clouds 60% of the time, but the weather forecast was showing generally clear weather right through early the next week. The only exception was to be on our first night. Thunderstorms were in the forecast for the evening, and Mother Nature did not disappoint us. Shortly before sunset, we were called up to the weather room to watch the storms advancing from the west. What a beautiful sight to see lightening far off in the distance from this altitude. But the best was yet to come. Once darkness had arrived, we turned out the lights and waited for them to roll over the summit. And oh boy did they, with two direct lightening strikes to the summit. I for one had never experienced lightening up that close. All I can say is WOW!
The rest of the week was fantastic! We enjoyed ‘Bluebird Skies’ right through Monday afternoon. In between the work to be done, we were able to get in two hikes, one to Mount Monroe to the south, and the other to Mount Clay to the north.
What a great week! We cannot thank the awesome crew made up of Steve, Mike, Rebecca, Samantha and Marty enough for being such welcoming hosts. I know we will be back again in the not too distant future. And as mentioned in a previous comment by the two volunteers just before us, it is truly an honor to be part of the observatory. You too can join the Mount Washington Observatory and enjoy all of the great opportunities they offer such as tours of their 6,288′ observatory, Edutrips, member discounts on merchandise, volunteer opportunities, educational programs, and my favorite, the annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon. You will be glad you joined!
Bob Domeracki & John Zimmerman, Summit Volunteers