Volunteer

2009-05-20 04:32:53.000 – Joe Kayan,  Summit Volunteer

Lenticular Cloud on Tuesday Evening

Well, tonight came all too quickly-my last night here as a volunteer at the top of New England.

It’s been quite a week. I arrived seven days ago into a wintry scene, rime ice pluming from cairns and summit buildings and footpaths made treacherous with frozen pools. During the week, I got to watch spring turn ice into running water…heard it gurgle gently amongst the rock and watch it flow, mostly silent, through the alpine garden. I listened it roar over the headwall into Tuckerman’s.

I was blessed with moderate weather, good hiking days, and just enough occasional summit fog and strong winds to remind me of the extreme power and possible danger that Mt Washington is so famous for.

My housemates for the week, summit observers Steve, Stacey and Mike, and Obs museum staff, Deb and Sharon, have been terrific hosts. I gotta tell you, being the evening meal cook for this crew has been a pretty cushy job. This is one crowd that you don’t have to call to dinner more than once. They graciously ate (wolfed down??) whatever I put before them. I have a theory that this altitude whets the appetite as it simultaneously dulls the taste buds.

Marty, the summit cat, has been considerably less sociable than my human housemates. He successfully ignored most of my overtures, walked away from the kitty treats that I offered in gesture of friendship and only once relapsed in his indifference to me and briefly sat in my lap.

Between supper duties and an occasional odd job, I did a lot of hiking. I managed to walk every trail on the summit. I made it to Mts. Clay, Jefferson, Monroe and Franklin…to Nelson Crag, the Boot Spur and Lion’s Head. I passed hundreds, probably thousands of cairns as I wandered this treeless realm. I counted over a hundred just between Nelson Crag and the summit. Walking past these seemingly ancient piles of stones, it struck me, just how long people have been drawn to this world; loving its grandeur, being captivated by its barren, sublime beauty and its rugged, changeable and timeless nature.

My feet are a bit sore, my legs a bit weary but I have never felt any better than after this week-long mountain stay. Thanks to all!

 

Joe Kayan,  Summit Volunteer

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