Atop the Rockpile




Wild weather, wondrous views and spring thaw soupIf you think a book about the Mount Washington Observatory is likely to be a real snooze, think again. Eric Pinder’s “Life at the Top” [Hobblebush Books, 2009, $16.95] is a great read — full of well-told stories about living 6,288 feet up on a mountaintop that sits in the middle of the world’s worst weather. Pinder lived among the observatory’s intrepid scientists as a weather observer for seven years and for two years was the editor of the observatory’s quarterly magazine, “Windswept,” so he knows his stuff.The book, which is a revised and expanded version of the 1997 original, explores Mt. Washington’s wild weather and tells the reader why it’s so wild (a convergence of several major storm tracks is the main reason). He also paints a picture of daily life for the crew on the summit, who are the “highest” paid people in New England with no room for “upward mobility” in their work (the cold doesn’t diminish their sense of humor). There are some hair-raising tales (out-of-control sledding on glaze ice, and mixing metal and fierce lightning to name just two).Inside, though, there is good cooking (lots of recipes in the book, like Spring Thaw Soup) and Nin, the cat, who has her own book by Pinder called “Cat in the Clouds” [The History Press, 2009, $16.99]. The recently released book, written for children but enjoyable for adults, tells the real-life story of Nin coming to the observatory and making a life among the scientists and some of the most extreme weather in the world. Nin, who died this summer, was just one of a number of cats that have enriched the lives of people at the summit, including eight cats and kittens that were there in 1934 when a new world record was set by a 231 mph wind.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Guide to the best sledding hills in NH
    We have tips on finding the best hills, great sleds from the plastic to the high-tech, tubing...
  2. Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance
    The "what if?" insurance comes in several forms.
  3. The King of the North Country
    In the northern reaches of the Granite State, royalty isn’t for the high-born or for the...
  4. The Hidden Treasures of Sandown
    Historic Sandown has much to offer visitors, from culture to food and wine.
  5. Adopt a Cartoonist
    We're lacking the tragic power of Sarah McLachlan and trembling puppies, but we hope this plea to...
  6. On the Streets with Manchester's Homeless Teens
    Street life is no dream (and little sleep) for homeless teens in the Queen City.
  7. Get Out There!
    There are many paths to winter fun, some for beginners and some for pros. Here are great tips for...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags