2011-02-16 21:39:01.000 – Suan Polk, Summit Volunteer
I am wistfully wrapping up the end of my third week as a summit volunteer. Although my son and co-volunteer, Jeff, had to depart early on Saturday, the staff this week has made going solo the second half of the shift very doable and rewarding. I have baked bread, baked desserts, cooked meals, and washed dishes. The cleaning chores leave me with a great sense of accomplishment, and feeding summit visitors is part of the fun. During prior volunteer weeks I have hiked, skied, seen the northern lights, and eaten dinner on the deck in April. However, on this shift I hit the wind jackpot. Around here, the wind is not considered high speed until reaching perhaps 70 or 80 miles per hour. For those of us who live at sea level, we think it’s windy a lot sooner than that. The scale is different at the summit of Mount Washington. I had the fun of going up in the tower at peak winds of 113 miles per hour with a sustained average wind of 96. Dressing for the minus 12 degrees and the minus 57 degree wind chill is a project involving many layers including long underwear, down, wind blocking jacket, face mask and goggles as well as the expected hat, mittens, and boots. As long as there is no exposed skin, it is remarkable how warm one can be for a short trip into the elements under such conditions.
My admiration for the staff and what they do here day and night has increased with each volunteer week. Thank you Steve, Stacey, Mike, and Dave for eating everything and for being so helpful and so much fun. I have all sorts of new memories to take home with me.
Suan Polk, Summit Volunteer