28 Aug

I just realized I never wrote about our trip to Wyoming to see the eclipse!

I wasn’t particularly excited to go. Mike and Michaela were pumped, and Mike’s mom and stepdad were really eager, but I was firmly in the “meh” category. Camp? In Wyoming? In a place with no flush toilets or showers? To watch a two-minute-long eclipse?


That being said, I decided to go because I knew it’d be a good family bonding experience. We flew to Denver on a Friday and drove to a campground along Wyoming’s Wind River that night. It ended up being about 12 hours of travel from the time we left our house in San Diego to the time we got to the campground, so we were all bushed. Fortunately, Papa had gone ahead to set up the pop-up trailer, so Mike, Michaela, Nana, and I just had to fall into our beds. (And there were beds! That’s a good thing!)

The next morning, we were able to take stock of our environment. Our camp spot was close to the playground and close but not too close to the bathroom (pit toilets, albeit very clean ones). We were next to the river and had a big shady tree that provided a canopy for our picnic table.

We drove into the nearby town of Thermopolis, which was about 25 miles north of our campground. It was adorable. It’s home to the world’s largest (allegedly) natural hot springs, a great dinosaur museum, and cute restaurants and shops. The next day, we spent even more time there, dividing and conquering; Papa and I went to the dinosaur museum and the others went to the hot springs pool/water park. From there, we drove into the national park and saw bison, and then headed to another national park to see ancient petroglyphs. It was a lot more “culture” that I was expecting out of a camping trip, if that makes sense.

There was lots of traditional camp stuff, too, like hot dogs cooked over the camp fire and s’mores. And let’s face it– that’s the best part of camping, anyway!

Finally, it was time for the eclipse. We flew in on a Friday; the eclipse was Monday starting at about 10:30 a.m. We all donned our matching commemorative eclipse shirts and our eclipse glasses and watched as the sun turned into Pac Man. Then, just after noon, the moon covered the sun and we were treated to 2 minutes, 2 seconds of totality– the full eclipse. It truly was amazing. One of the most awesome (in the traditional sense of the word) events I’ve ever seen.

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The sky got dark and you could see celestial bodies. The temperature dropped. The air felt different somehow. You could look at the sun with no eye protection during totality and see a glowing ring surrounding the dark circle that was the moon. It was so weird and so cool, it’s almost indescribable.

Before I knew it, the moon moved out of the way and we had to put our eclipse glasses on again. We were really worried about traffic on the 400-plus mile drive home, so we took off basically as soon as totality ended. Nana, Mike, Michaela, and I said our goodbyes to Papa and got on the road.

Traffic was definitely worse on the way home– there were some stretches where we crawled like turtles– but we did better than lots of other people, including Mike’s stepfather, who ended up stuck in traffic for 12 hours.

We got back to Denver late, around 10:30 p.m., and Mike and I had to leave for the airport 12 hours later. Michaela was less rushed; she stayed with Nana and Papa for a few more days and flew home solo. It was a whirlwind trip!

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