LIFE AT THE TOP
Tales, Truths, and Trusted Recipes from the Mount Washington Observatory
Paperback, 150 pages
Down East Books 1997
21 b&w illustrations
New! The revised, expanded second edition in now available from Hobblebush Books. Paperback, 192 pages, with many new photographs. Published in August 2009.
“Wry New England humor….perfect for a cold winter’s night. Be sure to light a fire first, though, or you’ll be alternately chuckling and shivering.”
– Weatherwise Magazine
You don’t have to be crazy to work on Mount Washington. But it helps. Read about clouds, wind, fog thick enough to swim in, geology, bitter cold, breathtaking views, the Century Club, and the exploits of the observatory’s cats, Jasper and Nin. Life at the Top takes a lighthearted look at weather facts and folklore, plus a peek (get it?) at one of the last manned weather outposts in the world.
Who would have guessed that the world’s windiest, chilliest weather occurs not in the Himalayas but in New England? Indeed, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is known as “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.”
A handful of hardy souls live at the Observatory year-round. Do they have to be a just a bit unusual to seek out such a career? Perhaps. But the Observatory crew find much to enjoy in their icy home—even when it means dealing with hundred-mile- per-hour winds, wandering moose, and odd questions from visitors (“Can we see New Hampshire from here?”). Of course, they are also treated to spectacular sunsets, spine-tingling thunderstorms, and breathtaking toboggan runs.
In the first part of Life at the Top, weather observer Eric Pinder describes the joys and terrors of living in the clouds and explains Mount Washington’s geology and weather. The second half is a one-of-a-kind cookbook made up of recipes contributed by the Observatory staff—favorite dishes from people who take their meals seriously (especially in winter, when the food becomes spicier as the temperature grows colder).