August 26, 2017


Apologies to all the eclipse totality seekers and chasers of the world!  I laughed, I derided and, mostly, I huffed and puffed about having to drive to Idaho to view it.

My husband is a smart cookie! We avoided Oregon, except for the tiniest south east corner of it. We also missed the 'going-to' traffic by traveling 3 days before the event.

We discovered Abert Rim, a giant basalt wall that goes on forever. It is over 30 miles of soaring cliffs. Then there was Abert Lake!  There is nothing worse than observing a huge geological phenomenon and realizing you left your Roadside Geology books at home. Never again! (I wish I had a dollar for every time one of us said that!)

We found the perfect spot for viewing the eclipse. The Payette River was 20 feet to the north of us, a small mill pond sat 10 feet south of us. Hills surrounded the area but for enough away that our view of the sun and moon's dance would be unobstructed.

We set the cameras up just before sunrise. Frank and our nephew, Joseph, kicked back for some quick naps while I wandered around snapping shots of the hills slowly lighting up. My brother-in-law John warned us to be aware of mountain lions but I figured we were in Idaho and two out of three people are armed, no problem!

Light came fast. There was absolutely no wind! The Payette River sang a peaceful morning song, soon joined by the birds.

Once the sun rose, the saturation of color on the hills was intense. Yellow hills turned orange, both in and out of the mill pond reflections.

The guys woke up. We enjoyed a little breakfast of granola bars and boiled eggs. Sad to say that we passed a Dutch Bros and a Starbucks on our way out to the site from my in-laws (best hosts in the world) but both coffee places are closed at a quarter to crazy in the morning. Cold bottled water is good!

We hung a large quilt on the car, white side up. We read that just prior to some total eclipses there is a strange phenomenon called 'shadow bands'. They look like snakes slithering across the landscape but only last seconds.

Then we waited!

"Joseph, would you like another granola bar?"


And waited a bit more! We had three cameras on tripods, so we caught many different aspects of the transition.

In the meantime, the crowd grew around us. A large van with three boys and an off-leash dog who absolutely ignored the three adults as the 'grown-ups' screamed the names of the miscreants.

"Donny, get away from the water!"  Splash! Splash!
"Teddy, not too deep, get back here!"  Splashing to the deeper middle!
"Fido, get out of the water!"  Splash! Splash!

Then a large, diesel engine truck pulled up, ran his air conditioning for a loud, annoying bit! We ended up liking him because he pulled his speakers out and played his music loud enough to block off some of annoying van-people. He played Van Morrison! It was good.

Lots of people on social media reported that, just prior to Totality, the area got quiet. Birds stopped singing. A peaceful energy seemed to settle. We did not feel that at all prior to the awaited event.

All the colors of the hills and river lost their glorious saturation and became muddy.

We photographed the shadows of our hands, and the auras were clearly visible in the photos.

I probably don't need to remind you that I wasn't on the Yay!-We're-Going-To-See-The-Eclipse bandwagon. Thankfully, I had a good book, though a small pint of schnapps might have been nice.

Frank suddenly yelled, "Check out the quilt!"  Alternating waves of dark and light, dark and light moved across it. I caught a short video of it.  For those of you old enough to see old black and white television, remember when the station signed off for the night and the rolling bars would flash across the screen? That's a little what it looked like, except it was definitely more  X-Files!  You could almost feel them running through you.

They disappeared  just as quickly and as they had appeared.

Full, honest to goodness Totality. We shot a couple of shots and then lost it.

There was a huge crowd on the other side of the pond who cheered and applauded.

We abandoned the cameras and stood, mouths gaping, goose-bumps rolling up and down our bodies, tears rolling down our faces.

It was incredible, almost heavenly yet primal. 

Going to have to brush up on my 'un poquito' amount of Spanish because I want to be in Argentina in 2019 for the next total eclipse.

Can't tell you what a impact it had on all of us.  I will never make fun of Eclipse Followers again because I've decided to be one!

All I can say is, "WHOA!"


  1. Hi Toni. WOW! Thank you for this goose-bumps infused post. It felt like I was with you witnessing the eclipse. The photographs are stunning. I can see why you'd be converted by such an experience! Would love to see the video of the quilt with its black and white dancing stripes.

    1. I'll try and upload the video. May need some IT assistance from Frank. Debra was right, it was incredible!

  2. nice photos, toni. it was cloudy in philly and we saw nothing. meh.

    1. Bummer.

      Everyone here at home said the smoke was so thick from fires that they could barely see the 98%.

  3. Told ya. TOLD YA! Glad you are now a totality worshipper too, LOL! I've never heard of the "shadow bands" effect before -- that sounds SO neat and how lucky were you to see it!

    1. You were soooooooo right! I'll never question you again! I am a total Totality worshiper now!


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