When the Weather is Warm on the Summit

2016-06-20 18:22:56.000 – Emily Schuitema, Summit Intern

 

After watching the snow and 100+ mph winds that the last shift experienced on the summit, I came up for a new work week eager to experience similar conditions. However, when we arrived and started to forecast, I quickly realized that the snow and ice I had been hoping for were not a possibility. Temperatures have climbed all the way into the 60’s, and each day has been in the clear with plenty of sunshine. The sunsets have been beautiful, and we’ve been able to see the full moon clearly at night. Even though we haven’t had any snow or high wind speeds, I’ve loved this warm week on the mountain and taken full advantage of it.

This week was full of different scheduled events that bring large amounts of people to the summit, which is always a bit of a gamble with our unpredictable weather. Somehow, the weather cooperated perfectly for everything that was planned. Thursday was the Ride to the Sky event, where the Auto Road was closed to all vehicles except for motorcycles. Luckily the winds were calm this day, because driving a motorcycle up a narrow mountain road in a high wind event would not end very well!

My favorite event of the week was the annual Road Race on Saturday. Runners from various states and countries all came to Mount Washington to take on the challenge of running up the steep Auto Road. Hundreds of supporters lined the top of the road and cheered on the runners as they completed the last turn of their exhausting journey. It was so inspirational to watch them cross the finish line and see the emotion on their faces, and I am definitely putting it on my bucket list!

 

The weather remained warm and calm into Saturday night; perfect timing for the Mini’s on Top event, where only Mini Coopers are allowed to drive up the mountain. I’m sure you can imagine the stark contrast from looking out the window Thursday and seeing an endless line of motorcycles coming up the road, to looking out Saturday morning and seeing hordes of runners completing the final leg of their race, to watching a string of Mini Coopers zip up the road on Saturday night.

The best thing that comes with such pleasant weather is the hiking. Especially as an intern, there is some freedom to take a couple of hours out of the work day when it’s nice and enjoy being outside. One of my fellow interns and I set off on a hike to Lakes of the Clouds, which is about a mile and a half down Crawford Path. It was a perfect day for a hike, and I was very excited about the fact that it was warm enough to wear a tank top. The views were incredible, and I’m looking forward to hopefully having many more hiking adventures during my time in the White Mountains.

 

We do have a chance of showers forecasted for the next couple of days, so the sunshine and unseasonable warmth we’ve been experiencing might be coming to a close for a little bit. I’ve enjoyed every second of being outside and feeling the sunshine on my face, but now I’m ready for some hurricane force winds and rain. Bring on the crazy weather!

 

Emily Schuitema, Summit Intern

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