The hype for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse started in 2014 here in the land of the Grand Tetons. Teton Valley Idaho and Jackson Hole Wyoming were in the path of 100% totality. All hotels within 100 miles were booked three years in advance. Locals were renting their homes for ungodly amounts of money. No doubt we were to be inundated by millions of people for this once in a zillion year event.
Well good news folks – millions of people didn’t come to Teton Valley. Sure, it was busy. But isn’t it always busy in August?
Of course, with all the buildup businesses were prepared for the onslaught of people. Some of the restaurants here in Victor, Idaho limited their menus. This messed up my dinner plans with family one night. And much worse, greedy gas station owners jacked up their price .40 more cents per gallon.
Regardless of how many people really came to Victor for the Total Solar Eclipse, Granny and I were prepared for possible challenges. Our gas tanks were full and we had plenty of food and beer to enjoy the phenomenon. Best of all we had my brother and sister and their families.
Though my brother suggested we watch from the Gros Ventre months back, Granny and I kept the family right here on the property of downtown Victor. This way we wouldn’t have to deal with traffic had there been millions of people. Plus we wanted to celebrate. And when it comes to celebrating there’s no place like home.
The actual Solar Eclipse started in Victor at 10:16 AM. To be honest, I thought I knew exactly what to expect and so did most people I talked to. The thing is though, I’ve never been through one of these nor had anyone I talked with. The experience was quite different.
First of all, when the eclipse started I expected it to begin to get dark. Instead the light change was hardly noticeable even though you could easily see the moon blocking out the sun. I’d say it didn’t start to become darker until at least half the sun was blocked.
When ¾ of the sun was blocked, it still was by no means dark, but there was a strange light across Teton Valley. It wasn’t like going into sunset like I anticipated. The lighting was just plain bizarre and photos don’t accurately tell the story.
When we were five minutes from totality is when it finally got darker. It’s plain and simple – you had to be here. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The moon was wholly and perfectly blocking the sun. There was the glimmering white glow around the dark circle. As you stared in utter awe you began to notice some planets as bright as in the night sky and then the stars. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and nor could anyone else. All bird life went silent and cheers echoed throughout the valley. Once again, unexplainable.
The last insane unexpected thing that happened was the drop in temperature. Victor went from 80° to 60° in less than five minutes. Then it took at least an hour before the heat came back. Getting cold makes total sense but putting on a sweatshirt at noon never crossed my mind.
I made sure to be home for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. My smartest move in a long time. I know everyone around the US experienced this marvel, but if you weren’t in the 100% totality zone you missed out. Once again, this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!