(written yesterday, August 21, 2017)
A few months ago Mark mentioned interest in driving to Wyoming to see the eclipse. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this now but I wasn’t sure how much difference it would make to drive twelve hours round-trip to see 100% of the eclipse when we could have stayed home and seen 95%. It’s not like me to be so unadventurous but being that we’re deep in the busiest six weeks of our lives, it wasn’t a chunk of time I easily gave up. But the hype won me over and on Sunday morning I woke up after a long night’s work ready to get in the truck and see if we could find our own sliver of wilderness in Wyoming to experience “totality”. Boy am I glad we did. What we experienced at 11:40am this morning is going to be hard for me to put in to words but since I know not everyone was lucky enough to be in the path of 100% eclipse (aka Totality) today, I’m going to try…
About an hour before the moon was supposed to eclipse the sun, Mark handed me the welding mask and said “check it out”. I looked towards the sun and sure enough, there was the moon creeping in to the path of the sun. In that moment, it hit me that something really special was about to happen.
For the next hour, the world around us changed in a way I’ve never seen and probably never will again. The intensity of the sun very slowly began to fade. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped. At 10am I was sweating, it was a warm, summer day like any other. At 11:15am I put on my puffy and watched the quality of light become cinematic, almost artificial in it’s feel.
At about 11:35 my shadow was beginning to disappear. It was the middle of the day and it was getting darker and darker by the second.
11:40am and the moon is 100% blocking the sun. Day has turned to night, right before my eyes. Everything is still, the wind has stopped. I see stars. Then I look up and see the moon surrounded by the hallow of the sun. My mind is blown. I struggle to document it and take it all in all at the same time. I understand how quickly you remove yourself from a moment as soon as you put a camera to your face so I take a few pictures and then stop and revel in the most phenomenal two minutes of my life.
Two minutes later and the sun and moon are no longer perfectly aligned. Like a light on a dimmer switch, the Earth is lighting up again. The wind picks back up and the temperature starts to rise.
For the next hour Mark and I sit and discuss the sun, the stars, our galaxy and our fortune and sheer luck to be here on this planet. The moment of the eclipse so fleeting, so surreal that we question if it really happened.
Just a few of the words that come to mind now that I sit and watch the sunset as though it’s just another day even though today was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed.
Three hours following the eclipse we decided to pack it up and head home or at least drive part way. We’d chosen a pretty remote area of Wyoming and felt pretty confident traffic would not be an issue. We could not have been more wrong. About an hour in to our drive, traffic slowed to a crawl. All we could see for miles ahead was bumper to bumper traffic. We tend to twitch at the sight of traffic as though we suffer some kind of allergy to crowds so it came as no surprise to me that minutes later we’d U-turned and found the nearest two track dirt road to detour on. What became a long and bumpy albeit scenic detour, turned in to the decision to pop the top, wait it out and try again tomorrow. So now I sit at another beautiful Wyoming campsite surrounded by nothing but the expanse of the wilderness, howling coyotes and the whistling wind. Tomorrow we’ll return home and back to our routines but today…today will be burned in to my memory forever.
The BLM road we’d chosen to take us in to the path of totality:
Although we saw people camped everywhere, we managed to find a corner of BLM all to ourselves:
When you’re not in the mood to pack and forget half your camera gear:
A 360 degree sunset at 11:40 in the morning:
After attempting to drive home but deciding against it due to the insane amount of traffic, we found this gorgeous spot to camp another night. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful two days to spend in Wyoming:
What an experience! If you were fortunate enough to experience totality, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!