Rugged Eclipse Living

In case you've isolated yourself from the world via desert island or limiting cable news, an eclipse happened. The hubs and I drove to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho, to hike into the wilderness with friends from Montana to view the celestial event. I did not, however, take any pictures of the actual eclipse, preferring to experience it as a person and not a photographer. And instead of toting along equipment that requires rechargable batteries, I just brought a 35mm camera and a few rolls of Kodak PX 125 and Fuji Super HG 100 that expired in the 90s. We backpacked a total of 32 miles in the Sawtooth National Wilderness Area, and every single one was a gorgeous adventure.

We honestly didn't think the actual eclipse would be that special, we were mostly just excited to spend four days in relative isolation. But after being warned that there would be more people in Idaho for the eclipse weekend than had ever been in the state in the history of the earth, our thoughts of isolation were subdued. We were pleasantly surprised, though, when our first day on the trail garnered no other hikers or passersby. The next morning was quiet as well, though we did meet up with the masses that afternoon when hitting the popular Sawtooth Lake trail. Luckily, it wasn't horribly packed and there as enough scenery to share. Our third day saw us cresting the western end of Sawtooth Lake and dropping into a basin ravaged by forest fire. It was a bit creepy, but peaceful, as most people decided to stay in the vicinity of the lake. We attempted to climb an unsteady trail to make camp at Hansen Lakes for the eclipse viewing, but went up the wrong side and practically fell back down the mountain. We settled for making camp in a wooded area close to the main trail, and Monday morning headed to a nearby river bed for the main event.

If you've never experienced a total eclipse, you won't know what everyone is talking about. The temperature dropped and the light dimmed, yes, but the moment you can take off your glasses and see the corona of the sun is the part that takes your breath away. We were stunned and giddy while trekking the final miles out to the extremely crowded parking lot. We parted from our Montana friends and initially sought out another camping spot for one more night to avoid the traffic, but decided we were too tired and found one mountain road on Google Maps that wasn't bumper-to-bumper traffic. We ended up at a Howard Johnson shoved behind a Wal-Mart in Boise. I never though a shower at a two-star motel would be a good experience, but washing off every achey, dusty mile (the hot water surprisingly held up the whole time) was akin to going to a day spa.

Relaxing in downtown Boise's  surprisingly bustling downtown was the perfect end to our eclipse extravaganza. Take a look at some of the scenery below, the expired film held up pretty well.

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