2008-09-30 18:19:41.000 – Elizabeth Kennedy, Summit Volunteer
In June 1999, I exited the ‘Dungeon’ at Lakes to pink sky, no wind, and enough early-morning warmth that we quickly packed up outside for the day’s AT trek over Mount Washington’s summit.n
nI remember people at the observatory being excited about the record heat–I couldn’t confirm that just now–but we spent enough time touring there that we arrived later and more exhausted than we had hoped at ‘The Perch,’ RMC’s tentsite locale west of Mount Madison. But, I had learned one could volunteer to cook a week for the Obs staff and, now, nine years later, I have just done so.n
nOur weather this week has been what meteorologists characterize as ‘boring,’ and visiting tourists say they ‘see nothing.’ Had I been backpacking, I might have felt the same way. Living here for a week, however, when I have seen mostly clouds and a rare valley foliage view of great color, I have been fully satisfied and happy with my experience. We’ve had heavy rain almost daily, and the regular visibility has been ‘0’ to ‘1/16’ of a mile. It doesn’t matter. It’s such a privilege to be here with a handful of residents after everyone else has left, and most lights are turned off. We have sat on the rocks to see two sunsets and arisen for two sunrises in the quiet.n
nOne foggy day, we hiked along Alpine Garden and saw an aven, goldenrod, and sandwort still blooming. We smelled the scrub balsam and saw the red and purple leaves of the tiny alpine plants, and bright yellow clumps of sedge. Sometimes, the fog enveloped us, and our world consisted of a cairn on either side of the rock on which we were perched. Then, the fog blew away enough to again reveal our summit home. n
nI’m signing up for the waiting list to cook here in the winter!
Elizabeth Kennedy, Summit Volunteer