Machu Picchu Monday Eclipse Version

And it’s not even Monday.

It’s been a crazy week since we returned from Wyoming & the lovely Shoshone National Forest to see the Great Solar Eclipse 2017. We’re trying to keep up with a variety of work related projects, family issues, and just the normal day to day stuff. Watching the news seems mesmerizing as we watch the destruction and displacement of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Daily temperatures have been climbing to 105F, and our brains have turned to mush, hence the tardy post.

We’d like to share our recent adventure here…

Before The Eclipse

We made our way to Wyoming with a side detour to Bryce Canyon National Park. It had been a while, so we had forgotten the grand beauty of the area.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

After a night there, we meandered to Green River, Wyoming for a rest before “heading into the wild.”

Green River WY in 1890 (photo : wyomingtalesandtrails.com)

As we reached the forest areas, we saw some antelope:

Antelope

We had picked the Shoshone National Forest near Dubois, Wyoming, as it seemed to be a less populated area, and was just about center in the line of Totality.

Shoshone National Forest is near Grand Teton/Yellowstone

Line of Totality near Dubois WY

We checked out a couple of campgrounds, but as we were tent camping we were unable to use the facilities (hard side only.) After exploring a few nearby back roads, and not finding anything with a pleasing view, we headed deeper into the National Forest, but not before meeting a ranger who showered us with loads of info, solar viewing glasses, and a banner for the grand event:

NFS Eclipse 2017 banner

These came in handy. Thanks NFS!

Shoshone National Forest had a 14,000+ acre fire in 2016. We climbed the forest roads through the burned forest areas, but soon found a green area with a sweeping view. There were many dead trees. The whole area has been greatly damaged by the Pine Bark Beetle.

Weekend Camp

We camped for the weekend. Friday was quiet and idyllic, but as the weekend wore on, the cars and Atv’s became more frequent. Our spot was off of the intersection of two Forest Service roads, so many cars would stop and look at maps before speeding off and leaving us with clouds of dust rolling up. Other than that, we had a magnificent view and it was serene and a terrific spot to just hang out and relax.

It was one of those rare times today when there was no phone, no internet, and only us. One of our coffee clients has “screen free Saturday” with his family. We had no choice (we liked it!)

Our view, Shoshone National Forest Wyoming

Our well traveled tent

Ah, the woods at last!

Some cows strolled by – this is open range ranch country.

Eclipse Day

Finally, Monday came. The day started out a little hazy, but as the morning grew later, the haze lifted, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We waited for the moment with our glasses, and little by little the moon began to cover the sun. Without the glasses, the day appeared normal in every way. The sun was as brilliant as ever.

Knowing that we had miles to go, and wanting to get a jump as soon as possible after totality, we packed everything up, and moved the car to the road for the final half hour before the total eclipse began.

I’m sure there has been a million words written about the eclipse, but here’s my meager offering:

The last few minutes before totality were somewhat surreal. The sky began to darken to an eerie twilight, and the ambience became absolutely quiet, as if to announce the eclipse. Yrma and I went back and forth between looking around, and slipping on the glasses to see the last little sliver of the sun vanish.

We’re ready for the eclipse, thanks NFS!

Totality

Suddenly, it was totality. I had expected something memorable, truly special really. What I wasn’t prepared for was the strong, deep emotional wave that swept over me in those two minutes. It was totally visceral, and profound. Words fail, but I did see a later video with an announcer from the Weather Channel, and she was crying and practically speechless. That’s how it was. It was unlike any other thing in my life ever…

We embraced, we marveled, we were blown away. We began to notice stars, and little flecks of red, all the while the stunning solar corona. Then, there was the first return of the sun. I put my finger up to enjoy a few seconds more of the corona, but the day was already returning.

When I see the awe of a solar eclipse, and the incredible precision of the builders of Machu Picchu, I’m reminded that there are things that we still don’t completely understand about ourselves, the world, and how this all works together.

Not a one of my pictures came out for the eclipse, here’s one from Sky and Telescope Magazine:

Eclipse 2017 (photo : Sky and Telescope)

 

Ready to hit the road…we see a deer!

We wound down the dirt roads back to the highway & waved to the ranger as we left. We raced to Dubois, and onto Lander where we encountered gridlock, and it was several hours before we were back on I-80 and headed for Utah, I-15, and the long trek to Las Vegas before returning home to Arizona. What an adventure!

And of course, here’s a Machu Picchu pic:

Machu Picchu, Peru