Sometimes I write a blog because I want to pass on information about a neat place to visit or a cool photo shoot I had...
This time, I want to share the experience simply because I want to hold on tight to each little detail. It was a bit of a life changing experience.
My husband and I learned about the eclipse a year prior to it happening.
We were out in Grand Targhee and met a couple at the very top of the mountain. We were there for the views. They were there to "scout." They were die-hard Eclipsers who had traveled all the way from North Carolina just to scout out the location for the following year's eclipse! They gave us all the details about the path of totality and the rareness of an event like this in the entire United States.
We were intrigued and made note that perhaps we could incorporate it into our summer 2017 road trip.
And sure enough, a year later, we drove over 1,100 miles in a van with two kids and the dog. We spent a week right out in the Teton Valley area. However, as the eclipse date approached and the herds and herds of eclipse-viewers started to roll in to the Jackson, Wyoming area - we left! We drove all the way back across the state of Wyoming and set ourselves up in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
The night before the eclipse, the excitement reached our veins too! Even though we were over 120 miles from the line of "totality" -- the restaurant we were at was totally packed (on a Sunday night!) with folks getting ready to gear up and head out in the morning. Clouds were predicted to cover our original viewing spot of Alliance, Nebraska. In fact, they were predicted to shroud the entire state of Iowa and almost all of Nebraska. Lucky for us, it looked like if we headed south and just a bit west (out of our way but oh well!) we'd be in the clear.
So, my family got up at 5am and packed up absolutely everything we had with us ( we weren't returning to Hot Springs that evening) and headed southwest.
We first drove through very thick fog.
Then we drove down a dirt road for miles and miles. We were getting very close to Agate National Monument in Nebraska.
We pulled over at the crest of a hill where there was an entrance to a farm field. And that is where we parked!
We had found our spot! It was in the line of totality and cloud-free! (There was still a bit of a haze in the air from the Canadian wildfires.)
The farmer stopped by in his truck. He was kind and super excited. He said he had never seen so many cars there before. While we sat there - cars from all around the United States zipped by us on this small dirt road in the middle of farm fields. There was excitement in the air!
We really had no idea what to expect. Besides talking to the Eclipse-scouting-couple a year prior, we had not done much homework. Our cell phones did not have connections so we couldn't look up the time or the "schedule" of events.
So, we were forced to just sit back and wait. Quite nice actually!
It was only about 10:30 am and it was hot, windy and very sunny in that farmer field.
Arlo was still in his pajamas from the 5am wake up. Cy asked to sit in the car for a bit in the air conditioning.
We had been listening to a Harry Potter audiobook while on our long car rides so I got out my iPhone and played that while we laid on the blanket.
Then the boys noticed that the sun looked like "Pacman." It was partially shaded. It had begun!
It took a while (maybe 20 minutes) for the sun to be covered by the moon in its entirety. Thats when I snapped most of these photos.
We also noticed that the wind had STOPPED! It was very quiet.
And we were all getting cold.
I ran up to the car and grabbed all of our sweatshirts.
Then the moon fully covered the sun and stayed like that for about two minutes. I wish it would have been longer. It went so fast! I told my husband I was totally torn between watching the actual event and watching my family watch it. Both gave me great pleasure.
Arlo hooted and hollered like he was watching a football game. He also noticed the first "star" (which we later thought may have been a planet.)
Cy was on his feet moving all around during the two minutes. He pointed out that there was a sunset in EVERY direction. We had not prepared by reading ahead so that was all a shock to us.
And what it looked like -- is something we will never forget. It was glowing and dark at the same time. It was magical. It was so worth the drive and the early wake up.
When it was over, Arlo said "Can we do that again!?"
Seeing the sun and moon (which we pretty much take for granted every day) go through such enormous changes right in front of our eyes was incredible. Makes you feel a little different after seeing that. A little more in awe of our world.❤️
It was truly a special memory for my family.