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I have discovered that the simple fact that we not only work on Mount Washington, but also live here for 8 days at a time is of great interest to people. In fact, the human side of Mount Washington and the Observatory is often of more interest to people than the science we are working on, unfortunately. To make things more interesting to the general public, it's not just humans that live on Mount Washington. We share our living quarters with a cat. We always have, actually. Since the founding of the Observatory in 1932, there has always been at least one cat living with the crew. The reason has always been two-fold: to keep mice and other critters at bay, but also to make the quarters feel a little more like home.
During my time on Mount Washington, I have known two Observatory felines: Nin and Marty.
Nin was here when I arrived as an intern in 2006, and then again when I came back as a full-time observer in 2007. Nin was found by a former observe in the early 90's as a stray over in Vermont. Because of that, no one really ever knew how old he was. By the time I met him, the best guess was that he was around 15 or 16 years old. Nin retired from the mountain just after Christmas of 2007, so that he could live in the valley and be closer to immediate vet care if he should happen to need it. He happily live out the rest of his long life at his new home in the valley, and passed away in July of 2009.
Nin was very social, and definitely a lap cat. If you sat down anywhere in the living room, he was there with you in no time flat, much like in this photo taken on the evening of December 5, 2007:
I was always told that when Nin was younger, he spent more time outside than he did by the time I knew him. Still, he occasionally went outside on the nice days in the summer. He had a particular area that he enjoyed, just below the summit on the north side. Here is in that spot on June 10, 2007:
And here is, just outside our tower, watching sunset with me during the fall of 2007:
Nin was also a great work companion. Here he is ‘helping' me with an observation on April 12, 2006, when I was an intern:
Marty is our current summit cat. He came to us from the Conway Humane Society in Conway, NH in January of 2008. He was already about 2 years old at the time. Here is, getting ready for his first trip up the mountain:
Marty is a bit less social than Nin was, and definitely is not a lap cat. However, he is more adventurous than Nin was, partially due to his younger age. Here are a number of pictures of Marty having a grand ol' time running around outside. These three photos are from April 22, 2010:
And this one is from a few days later, April 25, 2010:
This one is from May 1, 2011
Marty likes to come out and watch sunsets with us sometimes. This one is from May 19, 2009:
And this one from July 10, 2010:
Of course, like any cat, Marty knows how to relax:
That's all for today. Tomorrow is the last set of pictures that I have to share with you, and it will include a group of shots that simply didn't fit into any of the other categories I've shared with you so far.
The record warmth that has overtaken such a large portion of the United States has also been affecting the highest mountain peak in the northeast.
Pictures from this past week on the mountain include a shot of a complete undercast, some impressive lenticulars, and a setting moon. Also included is a timelapse video of the aforementioned lenticular clouds.
It's no secret to folks that live in the eastern United States that the winter of 2011-2012 has generally seen above average temperatures and below average snowfall. This entry takes a look at whether that is the case on Mount Washington, and whether the departures from normal are unprecendented.
Another round of pictures, this time from my lastest stint on the summit of Mount Washington, from January 4 to January 11.
A couple weeks late, but here are a few pictures I was able to take during my last shift on the mountain, from December 21 to December 28.
Some reflections on what its like to spend the Christmas holiday on the top of the Northeast.