Worth the Price of Admission
2008-08-20 04:58:09.000 – Rob Jones, Summit Volunteer
My visiting wife.
Brief Observer Note: Temperatures fell to 31 this morning, which, though short of a record, did allow ice to accumulate for the first time this autumn season.
So how does one end up cooking and cleaning for a bunch of folks he has never met on top of Mt. Washington? For me it began with the evening news. While I was out snow blowing one of last Winter’s many snow events, Charlie Lopesti, a former Observer, was doing a live feed from the summit on WGME. My wife saw the segment, and, when I came in from the cold, told me about the volunteer program with MWO that Charlie had described on the news. She knows me well enough to recognize that a week of cooking and interesting weather is something I would go for. I checked out the MWO web site, sent in an application, and before long was booked for a week in August. Well I haven’t been to the summit of one of the Whites since my college days. That was 40 + years ago. What had I gotten myself into? Cooking was not the issue. I enjoy being in the kitchen, and have been cooking for 50 years or so. But living for a week in the “World’s Worst Weather” at my age? OK, I’ll go, but I need new boots.
I bought the new boots. Since I live in Maine, have to go out to blow the snow at lot, and ride a motorcycle, I had most of the other necessities to live on the rock pile for a week. As the weeks past, and my date to volunteer neared, the excitement grew. I wrote down a list of recipes then threw it away knowing I would have to work with what was available. I made piles of things to take with me. Then it was time to go.
What a week! The first few days broke the pattern that had been on the summit for a couple of weeks, fog, fog, fog. We enjoyed clear skies, temps in the 50’s, and light winds. Then, during the bicycle race, the first storm hit. Thunder, lightening, and enough hail to make the ground white (and ice cream). The next day my wife came to visit. Foggy with a brisk wind, but she enjoyed the experience. It cleared enough the next day to hike down to the col between the summit and Mt. Clay. Having been here for a few days and had a chance to acclimate, I was able to enjoy the hike. That evening, while playing cards in front of the radar on the computer, a front rolled in for another weather change. As I write, there are near hurricane force winds and the temperature is in the low thirties. It might freeze tonight. I suspect that “The World”s Worst Weather” sells more tee shirts, but for me this has been “The World’s Most Interesting Weather” If you have been thinking about volunteering, I definitely think it is worth the price of admission.
Note from the valley:If you’re in the North Conway area Wednesday night, be sure to stop by the Weather Discovery Center to “visit” the Seacoast Science Center. It’s our last program of the Subaru Science in the Mountains: A Passport to Science summer series.
This summer we’ve been taking our visitors to scientific destinations far and wide! Through videoconferencing technology we’ve gone to the Alaska Sealife Center, Space Center Houston, talked with Isaac Ginis at the University of Rhode Island, South Pole and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where we learned about science on the sandlot.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this series now is the time! On Wednesday, August 20 at 7 PM we’ll close out the series with a trip to the coast of New Hampshire for a live look at the tidepools of the Granite State’s rocky shores. The Weather Discovery Center is located on Main Street in North Conway Village. Admission is FREE and seating is limited. Arrive early and enjoy some refreshments. Thanks to Subaru of America, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation – North Country region and 93.5 WMWV for supporting this series. It’s been a fantastic summer!
Rob Jones, Summit Volunteer