Gathering for the eclipse

Unless you are living under a rock – a possibility if you read this blog – you have heard about the solar eclipse happening on August 21st. Well, so have I (and Kerri too). So our original route changed a bit when we heard about a get-together of a few friends in the the Sawtooth Mountains, just outside of Stanley, Idaho. Now, I would have already jumped at the opportunity to return to the Sawtooth Mountains, but toss in a few good fellow full-timers in the mix and things are sounding great. Then add in that it would be in the path of Totality for the eclipse? Yea, I’m there! (Kerri too).

We arrived two weeks before the eclipse, ensuring that we would be able to find a spot in the forest considering the town was expecting to grow from a few dozen year-round residents to somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people over the weekend. We overstocked our fridge and water tanks the week before so there was no reason to drive into town for days on either side of the big event, of course.

Over the two week period leading up to the Eclipse, the gathering swelled to about 15 RVs occupying this small parcel of public land. We are packed in fairly tight, as you can see, but we had this road all to ourselves – protected by a closed gate a quarter mile closer to the road. And it is here that we all got together each night for our annual helping of socializing, drinking, eating, and a whole lot of laughing.

On the day of the eclipse, we were gathered before 10AM – early than many of these people even crawl out of bed on a normal day – and started the celebrations. It took about an hour for the moon to slowly inch it’s way to the full blockage of the sun, where we all kept busy eating, drinking (yes already that early in the morning), and occasionally looking up into the sky with our eclipse glasses.


The difference between a 95% eclipse (a minute or two before) and totality was night and day, literally. The forest was darkened and the temperature dropped more than 20 degrees, not that it stopped anyone in our group from the enjoyment of it all.Β I did not even attempt (very hard) to take any photographs, leaving that to the professionals. Instead just keeping my face to the sky and enjoy it to the max. I hear that another is expected in the USA in 7 years. If you missed totality this time around, I fully recommend making plans to be at a location that provides 100% coverage when that one comes around. It will blow your mind!Β And it is here I will stop this post. Not because I do not care to write about it, but because it is simply impossible for *me* to put into writing just how crazy-amazing the experience of that 2 minutes and 11 seconds was. I am man enough to admit that it brought me to tears as I stood there with my jaw on the floor of the forest (thankfully no one stepped on it).

Here are some Instagram photos from others in the gathering and one, from Gus [not in attendance] at the bottom that does a great job representing what is in my memory;

A post shared by Lauri & Jase (@wanderwasi) on

This is why the best eclipse gatherings must include craft time. Eclipse boxes!

A post shared by wandering_amanda (@wandering_amanda) on

The point where this completely awful timelapse stops is the point where I looked up at the sky, put my phone down, and cried. Indescribable. #pathoftotality

A post shared by Kerri McHaleπŸŒ²πŸŒ΅πŸŒŠπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ (@asolojourner) on

A post shared by @gm3sf on

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4 Responses

  1. Michele Overacker says:

    How wonderful that you and Kerri were able to experience this!

  2. LenSatic says:

    Glad you guys were able to see it. We were in WY about 30 miles north of Torrington and had 2:30.

    A few interesting things about Earth: it orbits in a zone where water exists in all three states, liquid, gas, and solid. It’s tilted about 11 degrees which gives us our 4 seasons during its elliptical orbit. And, we get eclipses like this because the moon and the sun are the same relative size in the sky. All of these things make us pretty rare in the galaxy.

    Happy trails!


  3. Kevin Pulver says:

    We took a last-minute 1200 mile trip home to Nebraska to see the eclipse and are so glad we did. I did not cry, but I agree wholeheartedly with you that it is totally awe inspiring! We found a spot on a hill and a pasture with a windmill and a new stock tank full of crystal clear water. Our children had as much fun playing in the water as they did watching the eclipse.

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