Monday, August 21, 2017

Totality!!!- Idaho

Idaho Falls is on the map!!
It is so unbelievable that a total solar eclipse, after 38 years of absence over the US, is going right over Raya's house!  
Is it 11:33 yet?!

This is, after all, why we are all here.
That and it is Phil's birthday!! 
Phil, for your birthday, you can have pie for breakfast- no judgments. 

We are getting pretty excited... 
let the Total Solar Eclipse 2017 countdown begin!

A colander works great!

What do you do while you are waiting for a total solar eclipse!?
There is no right way to pass the time.
Raya's neighbors prepare to have us over for a big post-Total Solar Eclipse BBQ Bash.
Val and Sean go for a bike ride.
Phil takes pictures.
I play the banjo.  (Any requests?)

Alright, alright.  I will STOP playing the banjo!
That wasn't the kind of request I was anticipating...

Ahhhh!!   Almost!!

Look how pretty the lighting gets right before totality.
It is so unbelievable how little sun it takes to make daylight!
Even when the sun was over 99% covered, it was STILL light!

And then there was darkness.
The sun, which I have seen rise and set thousands of times, is now an unfamiliar object to me.
This was so much more amazing than I ever would have imagined.  I couldn't tell if my goosebumps were a result of the cold or the awe inspiring sight.

What a different an eclipse makes.

It is difficult to put into words, but our reaction is a good start.
(If you weren't there our commentary probably won't be as interesting as it is to us.)
A total solar eclipse is one of the most amazing experiences in this world.  Now, when I see a photograph of totality, I am transported back to this moment of goosebumps and a blackened sun.

One minute and 46 seconds later...the Diamond Ring Effect begins.

The street lights were confused, as were the birds and the animals at the zoo.  
What a sight to be seen!

Idaho was so prepared on so many levels.

Hmmm, I guess Idaho could only be so prepared.
We wanted to get home by tomorrow, late afternoon, so we left after the post-Total Solar Eclipse BBQ Bash.  

This doesn't look so bad, except it was completely inaccurate.  
Instead of five hours and 34 minutes to get to our hotel, it took us that long to get to Pocatello! 
Had we turned around when we were eating dinner in Pocatello, it would have taken 45 minutes to return.  (Believe me, we thought about it.)  

Would I have missed two prep days and the first day of school with the students if I were to do it all over again?  YES!
Had I seen this 'driveshed' image (which was actually posted on would I have still gone?  YES!  
Had I known that Maps was going to be so inaccurate, would we have waited at Raya and Josh's and left at 4:00am the following day?  YES!  Oh well, you live and you learn.  
We will have it down for the next solar eclipse.

April 8th, 2024!!
Who is with me?!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Second Contact- Idaho

Josh had some clients that wanted to raft the Snake river, since they were in town to see the eclipse as well, and because there was extra room on the raft, and I had never done it before, I was chosen to do the trip twice!  Once with my new friends and once with the Idaho eclipse crew.  

We drove about an hour away, just over the border of Wyoming.

This was taken after we hit our first rapid and ALMOST flipped.
Kyle (who was in the front) fell in and I got nervous (even though we were prepped as to what to do) so I turned to Josh for advice, but he wasn't there.  He was thrown overboard too!  (It is never encouraging when the captain is in the drink.)  We later heard that a lot of people flipped there today.  The rapids are constantly changing so it doesn't matter how many times you have done the river, there is always an element of surprise.  

The eight mile stretch of the Snake is so pretty.  It would be nicer if it didn't parallel the highway, but I guess city planners take advantage where they can.  At least there are no houses.

Related image
The Snake river is the largest tributary to the Columbia river.  
It is 1,078 miles long, but broken up with several dams so the entire distance is not navigable straight through. 

Photographers from the company Float-o-graphs spend their days right here, taking pictures of people going through Big Kahuna, a class III rapid.

Big Kahuna.

We didn't flip! 
I am sure that the Float-o-graph photographers are constantly entertained.  This section of the river gets pretty busy since Big Kahuna is the biggest rapid on the Snake.

First trip down the Snake. ✅

 Our crew was waiting for us at the end of the eight mile section.  We had lunch (it is surprising how hungry you are after three hours of rafting!) and then headed back to the launch ramp.  Raya and Josh's friends' John George and Brad, along with Josh, planned to kayak while the rest of us hopped into the boat.  Raya was our white water guide.
 There were a lot more adventure seekers now than at 8am, but the river is long enough to spread out a bit.

Let's do this!

Why does Josh look so happy?
At one point (or maybe two) John George lost his paddle.  Which meant that Josh could taunt him as he floated down the river backwards, headed for rapids.  

I think this section is called Shit Creek.

Val wanted to try John George's kayak so they switched.  As soon as John George got into the craft he got comfortable.  There was no way he was going to get back into his kayak.  I think initially they both thought they were tricking the other person, so I guess it all worked out.
Val went through Big Kahuna with no issues.

This is another group hitting Big Kahuna rapids.

After watching the other group, Phil is practicing being scared.

I, on the other hand, don't need the practice.

Raya and Eric are such show offs!
I forgot all about the photographers on the cliff...
It is much scarier being in the front.
  The quality of these pictures aren't great.  We purchased them, but these are just photographs of floatographs.

Osprey and several bald eagles (including babies) were spotted flying around us.

Champagne gets its name due to the 70 foot underwater waterfall which creates bubbles.  It is dangerous because if you happen to flip, jump in here, or get too close for whatever reason, you can get sucked down.

Thank you, Raya and Josh!

What an amazing day white river rafting on the Snake river!
In order from left to right- Raya, Brad, Val, me, John George (below), Eric, Phil, Sean and Josh.

Driving in this part of the country is so beautiful, and pleasantly underpopulated. 

Tomorrow is officially Phil's birthday but because it is our last night here, and no one eats pie for breakfast, we celebrated tonight.
Happy (almost) birthday, Phil!!