Assignment: Pick anywhere in the world and enterprise a story:
The top of Mt Washington in New Hampshire is 6,288 above sea level. Mount Washington once held the world record for directly measured surface wind speed, at 231 mph recorded on the afternoon of April 12, 1934. On January 16, 2004, the summit weather observation station registered a temperature of −43.6 °F and sustained winds of 87.5 mph resulting in a wind chill value of −103 °F at the mountain. Snowstorms at the summit are routine in every month of the year, with snowfall averaging 311 inches per year. (Courtesy Wikipedia)
The weather during the summer is somewhat more hospitable. Average highs in August are 52 °F – Lows 42 °F. I’ll pick August for my stay.
The $1 million dollars will buy me permission to stay in the Sherman Adams Summit Building which does not ordinarily allow for guests. I have to assume that with a bequest of that sort they could put up with me (and feed me) for a month. I already own a laptop and a digital video/still camera. A few reporter’s pads, pens and pencils will make up the rest of my gear.
Research is easily done via web sites and various books written about the Mountain.
As inhospitable as it sounds the Mountain is quite a tourist attraction. It’s easily accessible to the general public via The Mount Washington Auto Road or the Cog Railway. And there is my story. I intend to create a blog/web site looking at every aspect of the Mountain. This would be an on-going enterprise-updated at least daily with photos, copy and video.
Thousands of people all make the journey to the top every day. Families. Hikers. Hang gliders. Newlyweds. Why? What did they expect to see? How do they feel being on top of the world? Was it more or less than they thought? Where are they from? How did they find out about the Mountain? What do they know about it? Where will they go next?
The employees of the Cog Railway would make an interesting story. All day long they ride and drive this unique conveyance. How did they get the job? What’s good and bad about it? What is the history of the railway? (It’s been in use since 1868).
The Sherman Adams Summit Building houses a weather observatory. It’s staffed year round and the workers there must have some pretty interesting stories about the extremes of weather and living in that kind of environment.
TV and radio stations have transmitting facilities on the summit. The engineers that maintain those facilities have a story to tell.
There is a service called the Mt. Washington Stage Line that provides guided tours in vans up and down the Mountain. Those drivers and their stories will make interesting copy.
Before I spend my month on the Mountain a few days investigating the surrounding area will provide more copy. What effect does the Mountain have on local residents? Who makes a living off the tourist trade? How? There is a huge, “Shining” sort of Hotel called the Omni Mount Washington Resort at the base of the Mountain. What stories are there? Is it haunted?
And finally: I am spending a month on the tallest Mountain east of the Rockies. I will be on my own for the first time in my adult life. What is that like? How does it feel? What does the Mountain look like at 2am? What does the last person to leave have to say? The first person to arrive in the morning? Do I get altitude sickness? Am I lonely? Do I miss being closer to earth?
Take a look at some web cameras and you can see what I would see, for a month.
The Rant D’Jour speaks about talking machines.
The new breed of answering systems is driving me to drink. Not that it would be a long trip…more