Back in August I had done a 14 day road trip through the US and saw some amazing things. When I got back home I decided that I had to go back to see the Solar Eclipse. You see I had to be back in town for 3 days so that left me 15 hours to get back to Idaho for the Eclipse. So my good friend Joel and I jumped in my car on sunday night and started on our adventure.
We made it to the boarder around 11pm and made it through with no problem, there were only a handful of cars which was nice because I was worried that there were going to be more. By about midnight we arrived in Shelby MT, where we topped up the tank and grabbed some snacks. I got a second wind so I kept driving, around 4am I started to fade and Joel took over driving. I caught about 30 minutes of sleep and spent the rest of the time in and out. Around 6 am we made it to our destination a desert just north of Huxberg Idaho. This place was amazing it had sand dunes for days. I had no idea that this was a thing in Idaho, I found it on a map the day before leaving.
We caught about an hour of sleep and then we woke to sunrise, we got up and started scouting the area for our spot. We found a good area and returned with our gear, not an easy task with 40lbs of gear on sand in hot weather haha. We set up our cameras and waited. The eclipse started at 10:30 and when I looked through my solar glasses I saw something I could only describe as incredible, seeing the moon start to slip in front of the sun sent shivers down my neck. We both started to shoot, quickly learning just how fast the sun moved out of frame, learning that standing the tripod all the way up was better than on the ground, finding what exposure times were needed, etc.
As the moon started to cover more of the sun we noticed some pretty rad things, first the skin baking/burning feeling went away, you know the one you get on a super hot clear day, the one where you can feel your skin cook, that went away. But it was still hot. Then we noticed our shadows had secondary shadows, Im not scientist but I am guessing thats the light arriving at two differing angles an times. Leading up to the moments before totality the horizon behind us was dark, this was the moons shadow approaching us. We also noticed atthat point we could take off our sunglasses and not have to squint anymore, the light dimmed enough to look around at ease.
Now it was almost time for the big show in a few seconds we start a 2.5 minute race for totality, we got right to our cameras as the sun vanished, lights out!!!! We both frantically pulled the solar filters from our camera (it is only ok to do this during a total eclipse in the path of totality). Made fast adjustments to the settings and started firing off bracketed shots.
Then I stopped…
Even though this event only took 2.5 minutes it felt much longer. I looked up at the sun with my bare eyes and witnessed the single most amazing thing I’ve even seen, I simply don’t have words to describe the feelings in my mind and in my heart at the moment. The best I have is bliss.
Then I snapped out of it and sprinted to my other camera, rookie mistake here I set up my second camera 30 yards away for a cool landscape shot but I should have placed both cameras near by. I grabbed my landscape shot and then raced back to the other camera. Looking up at the sun at totality our eyes see a violet hue to the glow, but the camera just sees white.
After totality we put the filters back on and finished off the rest of the phases, the whole event lasted a couple of hours. We headed back to the car for some welcomed AC and then began the grid locked ride home. We made it as far as Great Falls MT and had to call it a night we were both bagged, we stayed at Joels favourite motel that had a bar in it called the Sip and Dip, there were mermaids, it was awesome!
In less than 48 hours we were back in Canada with the craziest adventure stored to our memory banks, I know that its moments and adventures like this I will remember for the rest of my life. One day, hopefully a long time from now, I will leaving this earth and this body and as I do I can look back on my life with pride and happiness.