Posted by: Curtis Utley Jefferson County
This past weekend my family and I decided to brave the hordes and experience a solar eclipse in its totality. I must admit we were nervous about the trip being a huge waste of time spent idling in gridlock traffic due to all the media hype. I know this was the case for many Coloradans who ventured due North to Wyoming, but not for us. We woke up early on Saturday morning and drove northeast up I-76 to Ogallala Nebraska only slowing down once for the cone zone where I-76 merges with I-80 just past the state line. We camped at Lake McConaughy, my favorite beach in North America, where the sand is white, fine textured and wonderful for squishing between your toes and playing with Tonka trucks. I thought the lake would have been packed to the gills with eager eclipse watchers but alas, there was plenty of room to pitch our tent.
|Plenty of room for more tents at Lake McConaughy|
|My favorite beach in North America, Lake McConaughy|
On Monday, still worried about the hordes of people navigating toward the path of totality, we left the lake at 8:00 a.m. to travel 25 miles North to the town of Arthur to watch the twelve O’clock show. Traffic was heavy but moved at the speed limit. Once we reached Arthur we made a game day decision to press North another 2 miles where we could be away from the crowds.
|Old Hwy 61 (Right) next to New Hwy 61 (Left)|
|Ipomopsis longiflora Growing along Hwy 61|
|Christy and Calvin testing the eclipse glasses|
|Our total eclipse viewing location|
The total eclipse was amazing! One thing I learned is the sky does not go completely dark, more like 10 minutes after sundown, dark enough to see Venus, but not the milky way. What I found very impressive was the 360-degree sunset effect on the horizon, truly a site to see. If you missed being in the path of totality this time I encourage you to put it on your bucket list for the next total eclipse of the sun.