Wednesday night the observer at the JCMT suffered enough altitude sickness to require coming all the way down from the summit. She thankfully suffered no lasting effects and was up and about the next day, but we at the JCMT were understandably hesitant to let her back on the summit so soon. This led to a scramble to find someone to cover for her shift Thursday and Friday night, and, the normal support scientists being unavailable for Thursday, is how I found myself volunteering and turning a normal workday into an surprise trip up Mauna Kea.
I'm currently writing this post from the control room of JCMT. Given how much trouble I had staying awake back in May -- after spending a day at Hale Pohaku at 9,000 feet to acclimatize and switch my sleep schedule -- I was worried that coming up one day and observing that same night would be even worse, but I've been pleasantly surprised to find that I've been much more awake on the whole (perhaps it was the afternoon nap? the cup of coffee at dinner?). By this point, at 4:30 in the morning, even that wakeful energy is starting to flag a bit, but I think I'll be able to make it through the night without too much trouble. Three and a half hours left to go (roughly)!