2013-04-30 14:52:45.000 – Steve Hill, Summit Volunteer
Skiing in the Snowfields
This, like all my shifts as a Summit Volunteer, started with an early morning drive from Waterbury Center, Vermont, to the Auto Road base. From there things started to change as I met new staff and my volunteer partner, Neil. We loaded our gear and this week’s food into the van and pickup truck. This trip up the Auto Road was in two phases, 1st we drove the van as far as the Horn near the 4,000 foot level, where the snow tractor was parked. We transferred our gear and supplies to the snow tractor and headed for the summit. We passed the Auto Road crew hard at work clearing snow from the road with a bucket loader and a snow tractor. Although it was overcast, we could see down into Great Gulf and over to Boot Spur. One of the things that I have always enjoyed about the trip up is the speed at which the snow tractor or van is off loaded at the Summit and reloaded with gear and trash for the trip down. A human chain is formed and everything is unloaded and loaded quickly with no problems at all.
I was hoping that the weather and snow conditions would permit me to do some skiing while I was on the summit. While we started off with some fog and moderate winds, we have had temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s with mostly clear skies for the rest of the week. The snow conditions have been great, and I have been able to get out and ski the East Snowfields which are in outstanding conditions with snow starting 40′ from the Auto Road and going down to within 100 yards of the Alpine Garden Trail. Marty too has been great. He enjoys his human pets and is always ready for some ear scratching or chin rubbing. He joined me on the deck one evening before supper, meowing as he came across the deck to where I was standing at the rail to see what I was doing. Quickly determining that it did not involve food or ear scratching, he drifted away and returned to his rounds.
Yesterday Mike Kyle, Neil and I walked down the Auto Road to Six Mile. We then turned around and started harvesting the stakes that marked the side of the road as we walked back up. We stockpiled them in one location so State Parks could pick them up to be reused next winter. The Auto Road crew was at Six Mile clearing the last major stretch of snow and ice. It might be possible that when we head to the bottom tomorrow we will be able to make the whole trip by van. I guess we will have to wait and see.
My thanks to Becca, Ryan, Kyle, and Neil for an outstanding experience on the Summit with the MWO. The Mount Washigton Observatory is a wonderful organization. I urge you to become a member which will help support their mission. And consider volunteering, it is one of the best experiences I have ever had. Until next year!
Observer Footnote: Our Fiscal Year-End drive is coming to an end tonight at midnight, and we need your support. Please make a tax-deductible donation of any amount here. As a nonprofit, member supported institution, we need your help to continue our work! Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.
Steve Hill, Summit Volunteer