August 20-21, 2017
At Grand Canyon I wasn’t in the path of totality for the August 21st solar eclipse so I settled with camping on the Kaibab National Forest at Marble View for a 73.4% partial solar eclipse, and no crowd.
I left work 59 minutes early on my Friday (Sunday August 20) because we were given that time off for viewing the eclipse the next day on my first of three days off. After a little last minute packing of the camper I hit the road by 5pm and even with a bison jam along the way made it out of the park to Marble View before dark, just barely.
Probably the quickest I’ve driven to Marble View at 25-30/mph on 14 miles of damp gravel roads with dips full of water, a few larger puddles, and on slopes a wee bit of water flowed in the driving tracks. Truck needs a bath between this and the Crazy Jug puddle two weeks ago.
The clouds played hide and seek with the sun acting as a better filter than the store bought one I have from the 2012 annular eclipse.
Although it wasn’t really noticeably darker the temperature dropped and the quality of low light was most unusual. A hawk put up a ruckus, turkey vultures soared far away and way up high, raven announced a fly by, and again hawk sounded not happy at all.
As I processed photos in the camper in the afternoon a patchwork of sunshine and shadows moved across the Marble Platform below. A storm rolled through bringing gentle and brief rain along with the rumble of thunder. Can it be cloudy and clear at the same time?
Maybe I’ll be able to experience the next full eclipse in 2024 in the USA. Or maybe in July 2019 in South America, December 2020 in southern Africa, or April 2023 in Australia. Wherever I am for any solar eclipse I will always remember Arija. Known as a nature woman to her friends and family, a long time online friend who lived in Australia and is no longer with us who shared this story in 2012.
“We watched one about 40 years ago with a heap of scientists and students in an open meadow far from the city. The experience was primeval. The guys just concentrated on the sun while I became mostly aware of what was happening in my surroundings and how awesome such an event would have been to primitive people. As the light lessened, the birds headed for their roosting spots, those left behind or slow on the uptake flew with agitated calls as the light grew dim. There were half a dozen horses watching us over the fence, at the full eclipse, when darkness engulfs you like a curtain of death and the temperature drops, they all stampeded as one and the drumming of their receding hooves just added to the breathless eeriness of the moment. I felt so privileged to have experienced this wonder and know I will not live to see another. Remember me when you enjoy the next one.”
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