This year has been the year of trying new things and backpacking is one of them. We didn’t get to go as many times this summer as I would have liked, but backpacking in Wind Rivers last week was really special.
We had been planning on doing this trip all summer, but it wasn’t until we got there did we realize that we would be there during the solar eclipse and that Wind Rivers would be in the path of totality. We weren’t very excited about this, knowing that the crowd was going to be huge, but the more we learned about the eclipse, we got excited to be a part of it.
We started out on Saturday at 4 AM. We knew we’d have to get to the trail head very early, just to get a parking spot. At 5:45 we pulled in and snagged the last spot in the lot. We waited for the sun to come up, than started our hike out to Island Lake. The first day we hiked 12 miles passed breathtaking lakes, through lush pine forests, and wild flower meadows.
The terrain turned rocky the closer we got to Island Lake. But wow was it beautiful!
There were a lot of tents set up already, but we were able to get a spot. We were so tired from getting up so early that we took a nap before dinner and went to sleep right when the sun went down.
The next day we left our tent set up and headed further into Titcomb Basin. It is a truly fairy tail setting that reminded us of movies like, The Hobbit or Lord of The Rings. It was so green without a cloud in the sky. We hiked to the second lake within the basin before turning around to head back to our tent.
After a short rest we packed up and began making our way back out. We stopped at Seneca Lake for the night and found a much more private campsite. We made a small fire and looked at the stars before calling it a night.
On the third and final day of our trip the solar eclipse was going to begin around 10:20AM. We packed up our stuff after an oatmeal breakfast and hit the trail. As the total solar eclipse was approaching we found a huge rock to sit and watch, right over Seneca Lake.
The experience as a whole was like nothing I’d ever seen. Even with just a sliver of the sun left shinning, it was surprisingly bright. But then it got dark and the stars came out and there was a beautiful glow on the horizon that was similar to a sunset. The anticipation leading to this moment was crazy! It was very exciting to hear so many other people around us cheering and clapping as we all watched this spectacular thing happen.
It all ended much too soon, it was so fast in fact that it was almost hard to commit to memory, and not even the best photos can capture all the emotions that swept over us. The shadows were sharp and the contrast seemed to be turned up all around us. I had to put on long sleeves because the temperature dropped, just like it would at night time.
It’s hard to put it all into words, but I’m glad it was something we were able to experience. That event is nothing but proof of how powerful our God is and how delicate we are on Earth. He can literally make the sun disappear if he wants, and he chose to make it a beautiful, awe-inspiring spectacle that brought us together as a nation, even if just for a few minutes.
I will never forget August 21st, 2017 not just because of the masterpiece we witnessed in the grandest of backdrops, but because of the way the whole thing reminded me of how gracious and wonderful our Savior is. I feel lucky to be sharing this story with all of you, but I’ve written it all down selfishly, because I don’t want to EVER forget how GREAT our God is!
Lindsey, Gerrit, Oakley, and Ella
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”