It’s been a little quiet for term three, you see I was on long service leave and spent a fabulous time exploring the Pacific North West of America. Initially I went there with my husband to be in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse, but as it is such a long way, we decided to stay longer and get in some hiking. It meant being away from my class for the term, but I knew they were being looked after, so I put my energy into this adventure.
Solar Eclipse August 21st 2017
For the first time in quite a while a Solar eclipse was visible across most of USA. Keen astronomers, we had known about this event and had booked our accomodation many years in advance. We were able to film the entire process as the moon passed over the Sun. Our vantage spot was in a small town called Driggs, where thankfully the conditions for viewing were excellent, here are a few snap shots.
Peter is getting ready to film the process.
The Moon begins to cross the path of the Sun.
As the Moon begins to cover more and more of the Sun the light gets dimmer. The air gets colder. We notice birds flying home to their nests.
Totality, we see the corona dancing and some solar flares. We begin to see stars, you can see Jupiter. It is amazing, there is a lot of excited whoops and hollers.
The Moon continues to block the sunlight, but as it moves on its way, we begin to see Sunlight and the diamond ring effect begins.
The Moon keeps moving, the eclipse is over. Daylight has resumed and life gets back to normal
The entire eclipse took over two hours, with totality lasting just 2 min 40 seconds. It was awesome.
From then on we spent the next 6 weeks hiking some fantastic places, experiencing the grandeur of the Rockies and great parks in that neck of the woods.
Our first hiking was in The Tetons
Our next stop was Yellowstone National Park. A spectacular geothermal area that had me in my geological element. A lot of wildlife roaming about including large carnivorous ones, so we had to be quite alert. So much to see… never enough time.
From there we went to The Saw Tooth Ranges a relatively young mountain range which certainly lived up to its name. The jagged peaks were stunning. Fantastic place to hike. This was true wilderness…bears everywhere!
Our next stop was Columbia River Gorge, sadly wildfires were to cause us a few problems. This area was lush and green, a contrast to the mountainous vegetation of the Rockies.
Mount Rainier would be our next destination, a towering ice covered dormant volcano, that sadly was obscured by the relentless smoke from a plague of wildfires. This park had many hikes, ranging from rainforest trails, to alpine glacial treks. We were like kids in a lolly shop! Which ones to do?
The Cascades were close by, so we couldn’t go past without a hike or three! These are called the American Alps and rightly so.
Around the corner was Glacier National Park which drew us in too! How could we resist the views, a lot of hard yakka to get there mind you.
We left that amazing alpine scenery for some more rainforest hikes at Sol Duc, another geothermal area. That required a trip on a ferry.
Our final hiking destination before going back to Seattle and home was Forks in Washington State. This town may have been famous for the Twilight movies but for us it was the Ho River and spectacular rainforest walks that were the draw card.
While I certainly missed my class during term three, I was kept quite busy taking in the wonders that the wilderness of the Pacific North West had to offer.