Volunteer Comments

2013-08-20 16:52:34.000 – Stephen Crossman,  Summit Volunteer


For several years I’ve been a frequent visitor of Mt. Washington’s Summit and the Observatory website. Each trip up, I marvel at the history on display in the various buildings and the magnificent views which are always different due to the weather. The visitor’s center is always alive with hikers, vacationers’ and those who just love the mountain. Often I’ve peeked down the hallway of the Observatory yearning to see how they gather and produce all the information on the website.

Well, this week I was lucky enough to live and work in the observatory as a volunteer. What an amazing experience to not only see, but be part of, the behind the scenes activities. I got to see firsthand how the weather data is collected, compiled, and delivered to various outlets. I also got to see what a diverse and talented group of people it takes to keep the Observatory running, and how different their lives are from the norm. It could be best described as a firehouse lifestyle, living where you work, bunk room sleeping quarters, family style sit down suppers.

Most of my time up here was spent on general housekeeping and preparing meals for the crew and guests. Additional time was spent working in the instrument tower helping with various repairs. It took a while to get the hang of the high altitude cooking adjustments and working in a round room with a spiral staircase. Ultimately both were enjoyable learning experiences.

However, it wasn’t all work this week. I got some free time to explore and enjoy this unique and amazing place. I got to take my first summer hike. What a blast! The other day I spent some time reading a book while sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the lower deck with the breathtaking Presidential Range in view. And I had access to the observation deck whenever I wanted, so I got to watch the sunrise and the night sky. Life is good!

As the week up here comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the experience and realizing this was probably the best vacation I’ve taken in years. It was a consolidation of many of my favorite things: cooking for others, spending time exploring the summit, meeting new people, and giving back to places that have in some way touched my life. I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t even think about my real job; a rare occurrence for me. I hope I am able to do this again sometime. It was a very enjoyable, fulfilling, and rewarding experience.


Stephen Crossman,  Summit Volunteer

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