Friday, 6 October 2017

Wyoming, US, #1: Wind River Range and solar eclipse

I haven't posted for more than 3 months, work and life have been quite busy. I will try to do a quick catch up here and in the next posts. We are currently in Boulder, Colorado, US, for 5-6 months as part of a sabbatical and research exchange. As soon as we had purchased a car, about a week after I arrived in Boulder in mid August, we set off to Wyoming to get ready to watch the total solar eclipse on 21st August. We considered a couple of locations, including the Grand Tetons national park and the area west of the park, but we thought (which turned out to be correct) that these areas would get swamped with visitors. In the end we decided on the northeastern side of the Wind River Range, and to go hiking and camping along the Glacier trail. Even here it was, of course, unusually busy, with many people having the same idea. But people spread out along the trail and everyone was very considerate of others when choosing campsites. We found a nice campsite near the tree line around 3200 m altitude, about a day's hiking from the trailhead. On the eclipse day itself, we climbed the local peak of around 3550 m altitude and this turned out to be an excellent spot with fantastic views in all directions. I had decided to just watch and enjoy this one instead of spending the time fiddling with camera settings and carrying a tripod around, so I have very few photos of the eclipse itself. There will be hundreds or thousands of photos of the eclipse floating around the internet, much better than I could take with my equipment, so I am sure everyone now knows what it looks like. I found this the most spectacular total eclipse I have seen so far, maybe because I hardly took any photos and could therefore spend the time to look around and enjoy it, or maybe because of the fantastic location where we could see the shadow approach and leave for a long time. We spent 4 days in this beautiful area before continuing our trip towards the area west of the Grand Teton national park for some more hiking; the latter will be in the next post. Enjoy the photos!

Busy trailhead parking

Start of the Glacier trail

Climbing out of the forest

One of our campsites

Tony following the progress of the eclipse

The shadow is approaching, it is getting dark and cold


The sun is coming back, the shadow moves east

Exploring the lakes near our campsite after the eclipse

Lots of flowers...

...and chipmunks

Hiking back to the car

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