September 26, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Milky Way from the Mountain...

Perhaps it's the great prevalence of misty, moisty mornings here on top of Mt. Washington, but the breaks of sun are truly treasured when they come, and for however long they last. We've had several glimpses of sun today, and although the temperature has stayed right around freezing and the winds have varied greatly with gusts to 80 mph, it's been a nice day.

Breakfast was corned beef hash, applesauce and fresh-baked Danish pastry. It was hovering right around freezing all night with just enough icing on the auto road to make the arrival of Michelle's seminar group of teachers questionable. They did make it up by mid-morning and the day settled in somewhat. Tomorrow is shift-change day with everyone's gearing up to go down. Ken, Jim and Mike are leaving for their seven days off, Sunshine went home this afternoon and of course I'll go down tomorrow with the crew. I'm looking forward to being home...

Supper was American chop suey, coleslaw, cornbread and for dessert, peaches 'n' pudding, butterscotch this time. I've mostly cooked out of The Frugal Family Kitchen Book this past week and that's worked out well. This didn't seem like the time or the place to "experiment," and I suspect that the crew has been grateful for that, even if they have no idea just what fate they've been saved from!

Quiet here tonight, only four of us here at the Observatory. Mike came over from the State Park living area and shared a downright scary video of the vicious winds and mammoth storms that batter the Cape Breton area of Canada. After this week, I want to know much, much more about world-wide weather, not just the massively destructive typhoons and sunamis that get so much press, but the daily variations that shape an area's, a village's, a family's, a person's everyday existence. And it's weather not climate that seems especially interesting.

To wrap up an incredible experience, I headed up to the outside observation deck for my before-bed walk-about...and behold! the glorious night sky. I didn't have my sleeping bag with me, but I lay down on the concrete and...just... breathed. To see the Milky Way so close, so clear...

9:30 pm... temp 30F, wind 26.8, windchill 16F, visibility 80 miles.

And so to bed, and tomorrow... down the mountain.