Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spring, Summer, and the Great Eclipse In Teton Valley

On August 21, we experienced what might have been the biggest event in Driggs history: a Total Solar Eclipse. Build-up and preparations began over two years ago throughout Teton Valley, including the towns of Tetonia & Victor, plus nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Forecasts of over 100,000 visitors didn't seem to quite materialize, but the entire region was definitely crowded - I even saw a few folks on the trails.

As for the event itself: it blew away expectations. I've seen some incredible sights over the years, especially here in Teton Country...but nothing compared to this. From high up in the Big Hole Mountains west of Driggs, on a knoll I knew would provide unobstructed & quiet views, I watched it all unfold. As totality approached and the sky grew dark, there was complete stillness accompanied by a power that was palpable. Insects, butterflies, and birds all ceased their movements in the minutes before; the wind completely stopped; and suddenly, all focus was on the halo surrounding a dark moon - the sun's corona.

It was like looking into the soul of the universe, while the horizon was aglow with a 360-degree midday sunset.  I found myself howling and then crying, and could hear a few others doing the same from surrounding peaks in the hills. Totality was two-minutes, which felt like ten-seconds, and left an impression that will last a lifetime. I now understand why people chase Eclipses.


From that once-in-a-lifetime experience, it's tough going back to pickup where my blog left off in late winter. This is the longest I've ever gone between posts - life, work, being in a funk, and simply falling out of the habit - but I'm not giving up on this thing and will give it a shot with a few of my favorite photos & memories from the intervening 6 months. Like an eclipse, it's almost all a blur at this point.

There was a trip to the desert - all the way to Tucson.

An epic hike with cousin & nephews in Zion's Park.

Spring bike rides with Doug & James, near Boise.

Golf with longtime buddy Cole. 

A spring work seminar with dad and brother Mark.

An Ironman 70.3 in St. George, with good friends & my cousin Wade, plus great support from my sister there. Then learning I'd been dealing with a torn hamstring for several months.

Frequent rainbows in Driggs, as deep high country snowpack lingered well into June.

Pole Canyon with Gene, mid-June. He obviously wanted a better view. 

Being involved with the Teton Region Composite Mountain Bike team was a highlight again this summer.

My little house - base camp for 5+ years now - still feels good.

Mom & dad visited over the 4th of July, and devoured some huckleberry milkshakes in Victor.

I won my age division at the local Pierre's Hole 50k mountain bike race again this year, up at Grand Targhee. Such an awesome event, and it just keeps growing. 

As summer winds down in paradise: Teton Valley has become busier, like it was ten years ago - but it feels less speculative and more sustainable these days. So I appreciate serene moments like this, and the farming that continues amidst such grand mountain scenery & recreation...for now.