Observer Comments

16:05 Mon Dec 06, 2021

Thoughts On My Time At the Summit

As one of three interns this fall, it hurts to acknowledge these next few days are my last on the summit. I have been working here since September, and these months have proved to be some of the most formidable of my life. The experiences have greatly shaped the long-term vision of my future, as I now move forward with great confidence that I will pursue graduate education in meteorology upon completing my BA in environmental and earth sciences in 2023, and aspire to a career in snow science or mountain meteorology.


I now understand the weather and climate in a far more holistic sense, taking into account each aspect of the atmosphere in the context of others. By experiencing the most extreme weather firsthand, I can better understand how unique factors can create such unique weather. For instance, a large part of what creates our particularly high winds is the local topography, as the Presidential range forms a v-shape that funnels westerly winds to Washington at its center.


In such a short time at this observatory, I have seen the northern lights dance across the horizon, Milky Way illuminate hikes across the Presidential Range, sunsets melt the sky a blinding red, and clouds cover the earth below me making the summit an island in the sky. Among these endless surreal experiences, perhaps the ones I will hold most dear are simply sitting down for a meal with the other observers at the end of a long day. I have met wonderful humans here and will truly miss them.

While I am sad to be leaving the observatory, I am grateful for the time I was able to spend here. It has been a privilege to get my foot in the door and gain understanding on how I want to spend the rest of my life. On my first ride up to the summit, I remember looking out the window in awe and wondering “do they ever get used to this?” After three months here, I can safely say that I am leaving with just as much amazement.

Sam Gawel, Summit Intern


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