View Full Version : Mount Washington Observatory Summit Volunteer 1/19-25/12/11

KD Talbot
01-19-2012, 03:52 PM
Once again I have the privilege of being a volunteer for the Mount Washington Observatory. I've actually lost track of how many times I've been up to do this now, but I wouldn't say I was a veteran, more of an intermediate. I've been paired with another volunteer again and for the next 7 days we'll cook and clean here at the Obs for the crew and some occasional guests. Our trip here was delayed by a day. A normal shift change day is Wednesday for the crew and volunteers, but this Tuesday night a cold front moved in and brought with it plummeting temperatures, low visibility and steady winds above the century mark which made a snow tractor ride to the summit impossible. The peak wind gust was 129mph Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, but Thursday morning broke bright and clear, and although still pretty cold, nothing like the wind-chills which forced last weeks crew to stay an extra day on the summit.

Our Destination

Home for the Next Seven Days

View West to Franconia Ridge

Southwest to Mount Carrigain, The Osceolas and the Hancocks

Looking Down the Long Arm of the Southern Presidentials



Snow Miser
01-19-2012, 04:03 PM
Have fun helping out up there this week! Look forward to some more pics.

01-19-2012, 06:56 PM
Have a great week and keep the photos coming.

01-19-2012, 08:23 PM
Enjoy, I really love that first picture.:)

KD Talbot
01-19-2012, 09:29 PM
Thanks guys, here's a few more:

Sun Disappears Behind the Clouds

Clouds Move Over the Northern Presidentials

Clouds Swallow the Southern Presidentials

My Partner Made Curry Chicken w/Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms for Supper Tomorrow I'll Cook


01-20-2012, 10:02 AM
I like the last photo!

KD Talbot
01-20-2012, 09:14 PM
We spent most of the day inside as conditions outside were mostly blowing snow and fog. I had a good talk with Guy from State Park, then with Mike. Somehow Chris made it up with Dan in the Bombardier so they could change shifts despite 60mph winds and poor visibility.

Around 4pm there was some occasional clearing, so Paul my partner ventured back outside to watch the sun sink below the clouds in the west. This afternoon was pretty high up in the category of beautiful nature scenes I have witnessed. We stood surrounded in orange glowing fog as 65mph winds whipped snow across the summit. Paul went back in after a little while, but I managed to stay out for 45 minutes trying to shoot pictures as the wind buffeted me around. Wind chills were in the -40 range.

State Park Has a Quick Conference Before Heading Down

Boott Spur

Undercast Sunset From Goofer Point 1

Undercast Sunset From Goofer Point 2

Stage Office

Summit Shot

Clearing Ice From the Instruments in 70mph Winds

I Cooked Brown Sugar Bourbon Steak Tips for Supper Tonight


Snow Miser
01-20-2012, 09:55 PM
It looks like a beautiful winter wonderland up there! And I bet that Sam Adams paired well with the steak tips. :)

01-21-2012, 07:09 AM
The Steak tips look REALLY Good!!

01-21-2012, 06:59 PM
Great pics so far Kevin. Hope your having a awesome time. Your tips look delicious.

KD Talbot
01-21-2012, 09:51 PM
Cranberry/Walnut Scones for Tomorrow's Breakfast

Valley Fog Below Nelson Crag

Mount Adams

Tonight's Sunset from Goofer Point

Southern Presi Alpenglow

Last Light on the Carters, Wildcats and Baldies

Taking it In



Anna LeBlanc
01-21-2012, 10:04 PM
Great seeing all the photos Kevin,looks like you're having a great time!Too bad Emma can't be up there with you.:o
Do you think you might sneak in a couple of pictures of Marty for us?


KD Talbot
01-21-2012, 10:11 PM
This Marty?


01-22-2012, 07:33 AM
@ Anna, I was going to ask the same thing. We just LOVE Marty and that is a Great picture of him.

All such great pictures. I love scones, I have a good recipe that I use and have made them with cheddar and dill, I'll have to try it with the walnut and cranberry once.:D

Snow Miser
01-22-2012, 08:25 AM
That is a great close up of Marty! Thanks for posting for us cat lovers.

01-22-2012, 07:35 PM
Kevin great pictures as usual, that steak dish you cooked looks delicious.

KD Talbot
01-22-2012, 08:59 PM
Seventeen for breakfast, then they were off to hike back down to Pinkham. Paul and Brian went out for a turn on the Eastern Snowfields during the break. When they came back in they told me I had some friends outside. I went out to find Mike C, Marty, Jason B and Paradox, awesome! They hiked up Ammo and bagged Monroe, Washington and Jefferson today! At lunch time we had a group of VIP's on the summit that came up with outreach folks from the MWO, so ten for lunch. Tonight we have 2 extra guests, Sarah Long, weather person for channel 13 in Portland and her cameraman, Dave, so eight for supper.


Heading to the Eastern Snowfields!

Marty, Paradox, Jason B and Mike C

Another Sunset from Goofer Point

The Green Spine at Sunset

You May Have Seen Something Similar Recently 8)

Mojito Lime Shrimp for Supper!


Jimmy Legs and Little d
01-23-2012, 01:47 PM
Excellent trip and photos so far! Was this trip an early birthday present? Coming up again soon...;)


KD Talbot
01-23-2012, 02:55 PM
Nope, they had a cancellation or something and the week was open, so they sent out an SOS and my partner Paul and I volunteered to help out. It is a bit of a b-day present, though I usually like my presents to involve a lot less work!

KD Talbot
01-23-2012, 09:38 PM
Last night...




This morning...









01-24-2012, 04:47 AM
Beautiful night shot, I just love all the stars that you see up there...

Great close ups of Marty... :)

I want some of those shrimp please and the pies that are in the observer comments... :D

01-24-2012, 06:45 AM
Amazing night shots. Love the Marty close up. Keep them coming.

Snow Miser
01-24-2012, 06:47 AM
Very nice photos to wrap up your week!!! I agree with Kathy, the night shots are beautiful. And the close up of Marty - precious!

KD Talbot
01-24-2012, 09:42 AM
As you are probably aware, yesterday was National Pie Day. Not Pi, Pie! So, what to do after the rain and fog overtook the summit? Have a pie bake-off!

After a supper that consisted of entries of Beef Taco Pie and Chicken Taco Pie created by my partner and I, we got down to business.


Sarah Long, weatherperson of Channel 23 in Portland was last year's champ. This year she had a great shot at keeping her title with her Banana Whoopie pie entry!

Observer Brian Clark had a superb entry with his Boston Cream Pie.

Operation Assistant Rebecca Scholand also had a strong chance at toppling the champ with her entry, a Lime Meringue Pie.


For some impartial judges we looked next door to the State Park folks who were up for their shift. Bill and Jim came over and sampled each. Bill was blindfolded to focus his taste senses, (and add to the overall comedy!)

With comments like: "The banana flavor assaults the senses!" and, " Floating on a cloud of creamy goodness!" the contest was an uproarious success!


In the end Rebecca's Lime Meringue Pie was the winner! Great food and great fun!



KD Talbot
01-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Slow day, unless you're rime ice...





Snow Miser
01-25-2012, 06:42 AM
Rime ice is one of nature's most beautiful creations! :)

01-25-2012, 07:38 PM
very nice pictures Kevin looks like you had a good time

01-25-2012, 07:40 PM
Kevin, I really enjoyed reading your OBS Comments..

KD Talbot
01-25-2012, 08:34 PM
Ummm, yes. Not sure who labeled the picture, but it is NOT a sunset. It is a night shot of the faint aurora and glow of distant cities...


KD Talbot
01-25-2012, 09:20 PM
Some of the Characters

From the Observer Comments Section of the Mount Washington Observatory Website: (http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/comments/)

I look forward to these weeks on the summit with the same anticipation I looked forward to each Christmas as a child. As I drive north to meet the crew at the base of the Auto Road my heart quickens and I feel the same excitement a trip to see Santa would bring. As we meet and begin to load the tractor for the ride to the top I am filled with the same wonderment I felt nearly half a century ago as I rushed down the stairs on Christmas morning. I have lost track in my mind how many times I have actually done this now, but my heart remembers each trip, and reminds me that every time it is a unique and wonderful experience. This trip has been no different.


Our Ride is Here

Cool Ride

We came up the long, winding road on a crystal clear day. There were new people to meet, and old friends and acquaintances to greet. Since arriving I have been witness to sunsets beautiful beyond words, a stunning under-cast sunrise, a myriad of brilliant stars in an ink-black sky, a faint aurora above the glow of distant cities, and with all of this the near constant roar of the wind and vast array of water properties it can bring to the summit. This past Sunday brought a Bluebird Day to the summit along with a number of hiking friends I was lucky enough to get outside to see. Scenes like this make the hard work of feeding and cleaning up after groups as large as Saturday night's seventeen for supper and Sunday morning's breakfast for the same group seem a trifle compared to the beauty that envelopes me while I stand gazing out into the first light of an approaching dawn or the deep magenta clouds in the dwindling twilight.

At the Start of Our Descent

Mounts Adams and Madison in the Clouds

A Glance Back

Through it all I have had a near constant companion in my partner Paul Goundrey, without whom I would be somewhat overwhelmed. While I have gone about planning most of the main courses, he has complemented them with excellent side dishes and delicious desserts. Before last Thursday we had never met, but we now have a bond that will continue long past this week. If nothing else, these trips make you feel a kinship to the people and place that make up the Mount Washington Observatory, and indeed, the mountain itself. I will cherish these trips as long as I live just as I cherish those Christmas mornings so long ago. Thank you Mount Washington for making me a welcome guest!

Usually Buried Deep in Snow

Mounts Adams and Madison

Good-Bye for Now Mount Washington

Kevin Talbot – Summit Volunteer

01-27-2012, 06:15 PM
very nice i love it up there in the winter

Anna LeBlanc
01-28-2012, 08:44 PM
This Marty?


Thank you so much Kevin you made my day!



KD Talbot
02-01-2012, 08:08 PM
If anyone is still interested I finally got through editing about 700 photos down to 261. They are HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Mount-Washington-Observatory12/21215538_k6mn3W#!i=1688515928&k=Cm5cCWm)


Anna LeBlanc
02-03-2012, 08:08 AM
If anyone is still interested I finally got through editing about 700 photos down to 261. They are HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Mount-Washington-Observatory12/21215538_k6mn3W#!i=1688515928&k=Cm5cCWm)


Thank you for all the wonderful pictures Kevin....it's ALMOST like being there.:)


Snow Miser
02-03-2012, 12:32 PM
If anyone is still interested I finally got through editing about 700 photos down to 261. They are HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Mount-Washington-Observatory12/21215538_k6mn3W#!i=1688515928&k=Cm5cCWm)

Yes, thank you for all the great photos you posted from your week. We really enjoyed following along. :)

KD Talbot
02-06-2012, 02:40 PM
If you have been following this thread you may remember I mentioned Sarah was on the summit for part of my stay. There is a link HERE (http://www.wgme.com/news/features/summit/?fb_ref=.TzAlTP-Je9g.like&fb_source=profile_multiline)to some of the videos she made while she was there! I am in the bucket Brigade video, 3rd from the left, gray parka, between the blue and white jackets. I'll post more links as they appear.


Snow Miser
02-06-2012, 06:51 PM
Nice videos. Thanks for posting the link!