We finally found a place where we weren’t run off to watch the eclipse. The eclipse itself wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be, but the sharing the experience with our new friends made it special.
After being run off from two camping areas, we finally found our eclipse viewing area. We ended up on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land on a plateau overlooking the Hanna Basin just south of Casper, WY. The clouds began to gather that evening, and although they made for a beautiful sunset, we were concerned that they would impede our eclipse viewing the next day.
Fortunately the eclipse day dawned with perfectly blue skies and we had to take our morning coffee in the shade of our car (notice the chairs on the car’s far side.)
I haven’t talked much about our new friends yet because I wanted to save the best for last. Remember that we met them the second night we camped in Wyoming, and that we all got “asked to move” together (twice.) Whether we became battlefield buddies or we were drawn together by a natural affinity we will never know. But we were extremely lucky to meet David and Brooke who became an integral part our eclipse experience. David had experienced total eclipses before and had downloaded a lot of information as well as a simulation that would tell us what to expect each second of the eclipse. He also set up a video camera to record our experiences during the eclipse. David writes algorithms for a living and Brooke is an empathic counselor. It is not what they do that is so interesting, but that they are both interested in so many things. We never ran out of things to talk about.
One of David’s interests is electric bikes. B has been doing bike touring for years and I recently became interested. David asked if we would like to try his bike out so we of course said yes. We were both thrilled with the bike and will seriously be looking into these in the future. Perhaps soon I will be writing a post called “Maybe I Can Do Electric Bike Touring.” David calls electric bikes the Great Equalizer. I wholeheartedly agree that owning one could compensate for my bad knees, being overweight, out of shape, etc.
At about T-1:30 hours before totality we all gathered beside David’s RV where he had his technology set up. We were charmed that we were invited to participate in the eclipse cleansing ritual that Brooke had prepared. An eclipse symbolizes a fresh start and it’s helpful to cleanse out the bad juju first. First Brooke lit a sagebrush punk and wafted the smoke all around each of us. She then followed this cleanse with the smoke from a sweetgrass punk. After our rituals we felt open to the fresh start that the eclipse would bring us.
About T-45 minutes the shadows began sharpening and you began to notice the air cooling. Notice the depth of Bruce’s and Brooke’s shadows (and the happy expressions on their faces.)
About T-15 before totality. We are so happy we are here to experience this event and that we are together. Everyone is now wearing jackets as the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees.
We told ourselves that we would not waste the precious minutes of totality with taking pictures. We did take a few shots of the sun with our Iphones and Ipad, but they didn’t come out. I did take a shot of the horizon during totality. This is the only time in my life that I’ve seen a “sunset” that stretched 360 degrees around the horizon.
What we did not see but expected to–the stars in the dark sky surrounding the sun, and the sweep of the moon’s shadow across the prairie. Oh well. But we are hooked on the eclipse experience and will be making plans for the next totality in this hemisphere.
We spent the early afternoon talking about the eclipse and our plans. David and Brooke had to leave to get back to work, and we sadly said goodbye to start the third part of Wyoming trip–the relaxing and fun part.