Why everyone should experience life at 6288’ : A Farewell

2017-12-18 14:55:38.000 – Nicole Tallman, Summit Intern

 

Now I’m sure there are people out there thinking “live on a mountain…no way” and there are others thinking “sign me up! that is my dream location”. I have to say when I first began this internship I was a bit skeptical of how people can live on top of a mountain; let alone a mountain coined Home of the World’s Worst Weather. However, after 7 months of calling this mountain my home, I can confirm that this is the dream location. 
Figure 1: Part of the excitement of the job is the commute up the mountain in a snowcat.
 
To start, the views are amazing. When the stubborn fog decides to take a rest, it unveils the continuous slopes of neighboring mountains surrounded by blankets of undercast lit on fire by the vibrant rays of sunlight. It is truly a sight that never gets old. Each day features a new view or phenomena. I have enjoyed every day that I was able to wake up and take in the amazing surroundings of the Rockpile.
Figure 2&3: Some of the amazing views to be seen when the fog breaks.  
 
Next, when your living at the Home of the World’s Worst Weather you also get to experience some thrilling, slightly terrifying, but equally beautiful weather phenomena. My personal favorite is the time that I came back to the summit on my off week to experience what was sure to be a large wind storm. The excitement amongst all of the employees was unique in itself, then add on the whipping and stirring of 133 mph. There is nowhere else I can imagine where there is such energy and enthusiasm for severe weather, making MWO my ideal location.
 Figure 4: Everyone gathered around the Hays chart waiting for the next big gust.
 
You can’t forget the luxury of living with the famous Marty cat. His occasional snuggles and frequent “meows” were sure to brighten my day. Everyone knows that Marty is the MVP of Mount Washington. While I was not a cat person before this internship, I definitely have a newfound appreciation for them. I am most definitely going to miss him, even if he is grumpy most of the time.
Figure 5&6: Our summit cat Marty keeping us company during our week-long shifts on the mountain.   
 
There are also some pretty cool people up here to live with. When you spend ½ of your time on the summit living with the same people, they become an extended family. We work, eat, hangout and live with each other so there’s no escaping the inevitable bond that is to form among a shift. After my 7 months with my shift, I can now say that I have made a few more friends to last a lifetime. Daytime with Mike and Adam is always full of laughs and the occasional rubber band fight. And of course at night when our resident vampire, Caleb, wakes up the fun doesn’t stop. I have absolutely loved my time working and living with these guys and I know I will be missing the mountain, and them, in no time.
Figure 7: My shift! From left to right: Me (Nicole), Mike, Adam, Caleb
 
It is finally time for this internship to come to an end and for me to sit back and reflect on how amazing these past months have been. I truly think that anyone with a passion for the outdoors, weather, or the extremes, should experience life on top of Mount Washington. It was an eye-opening experience and definitely something I am sure to remember for the rest of my life. I know this is not goodbye, you can’t get rid of me that easy, but for now, farewell Mount Washington. Thank you for a great 7 months.
 
Figure 8: My home away from home atop the Rockpile.

 

Nicole Tallman, Summit Intern

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