Chasing the Total Eclipse of the Sun in Wyoming

Chasing the Total Eclipse of the Sun in Wyoming

By August 28, 2017September 1st, 2017Featured, Hiking & Camping Gear, Top 25

Wyoming total eclipse

Or How To Drive To Experience 2 Minutes of a Total Eclipse You May Never See Again

Yes, the total eclipse of the sun was spectacular. Yes, it was incredibly special. We drove from Steamboat Springs through North Park, the towns of Walden, Cowdry, Riverside, and Medicine Bow. We found a dirt road that cut north and drove on it for miles and miles… and then drove more miles… in our determination to find the perfect secluded eclipse spot away from thousands of people who had the exact idea. We kinda felt crazy for the effort.

Fortunately our dirt road idea paid off. The further we went the fewer people we saw pulled over to the side of the road and we found our perfect spot way out on the Wyoming high plains. Far from any town. Far from the crowds we knew were in Jackson Hole, Lander, Casper, and anywhere else that might have a hotel and a gas station.

We settled in for the show with our glasses, camera, snacks, and chairs. When the eclipse first began it wasn’t even noticeable. We were surprised to look through our solar glasses to see the eclipse beginning and the amount of sunlight still beaming down on us. Even when the eclipse reached 50% it was hard to notice an appreciable difference.

But that soon changed.

As the moon traveled its path blocking the sun we compared the dimming eclipse light with the familiar light we know… sunset light, sunrise light and the shadowless light from approaching thunderstorms… nothing compared. We were experiencing a new world. We felt like we were on a new planet.

The eclipse shadow approached us from the northwest but the crazy thing was how much light there was to the south and east! The temperature easily dropped 10 to 12 degrees. We stared up into the sky with our solar glasses covering our eyes and watched the thinnest sliver of sunlight disappear. The instant the moon blocked the sun everything went black since the glasses are so dark. But the second we took the glasses off and realized what we were seeing – it was a shock of spectacular!

Looking at the corona, seeing the sphere of light, knowing the sun should be blinding us but witnessing the total eclipse in its place was stunning. Where do you look to take it all in? Look around you to take in light you’ve never seen before? Look up at the sun and the moon and the corona that you’ve never seen before? Take a picture to record it the best you can? Sit still and only look up?

Once the eclipse was over and comprehension slowly came around we realized how special an event this was. Perhaps it will be a once in a lifetime event for me. Maybe. I understand how people become total eclipse chasers. The few minutes you have to take it all in is not enough. For now I can only dream of it for more of it.

About half way home we realized it would have been crazy not to make the effort to see it.

Leave a Reply