Solar Eclipse 2017

My husband is a huge nerd. Like, he’s maybe the biggest nerd I’ve ever met which is why I fell in love with him. He loves all things science. He should have been born with wings and the ability to fly through the stars.

He also has a pretty rad job and he never ceases to amaze me with the creativity and passion that he puts into his work. He can think up some pretty amazing things and that’s what he did when he created this amazing eclipse event with Olympia Beer, Red Barn Communications (from Olympia, WA) and the entire family at the Imperial Stock Ranch.

First, let me tell you about the property where we camped for this event. This is my third time going to Maupin, Oregon to the Imperial Stock Ranch which saddles the town of Shaniko as well. It’s around 145 years old with more than 32,000 acres of ranch land. The Imperial Stock Ranch is the only privately owned Ranch with their headquarters being a part of the National Historic district that sustainably produces a wide variety of all natural animal products in the state of Oregon. It’s a family run organization with Dan and Jeanie Carver and their daughter Susie and her family and their son Blaine and his family all acting together as different spokes on a wheel to uphold the integrity and quality of what the ranch produces.

You may have already seen some of Jeanie’s wool when Ralph Lauren used her wool to make the 2014 Winter Olympics sweaters.

I don’t get into the moon and the stars stuff, I really don’t, not like Andy does, not even close. I think it’s amazing but I can’t wrap my head around it. Honestly it terrifies me to think of the vastness of the universe. I knew this Eclipse event was a once in a lifetime thing and I love camping so I was excited for this event, don’t get me wrong. I love the property we were on and I was looking forward to getting to learn more and experience this event in such a special setting. But even knowing all I knew previous to it, nothing would prepare me for how special this was and how lucky I was to experience it.

Tents set up on one of the wheat fields on the property for a night of star gazing and a morning of eclipse watching.

The day started with us arriving to a wheat field where all of the tents were set up. A musician played acoustic music in the background and there was a row of telescopes set up for the impending star gazing. A catering company had a giant smoker set up with Tri Tip and Turkey, getting ready for dinner. A silent auction was going on with items donated from Olympia beer, Imperial Stock Ranch, Red Barn Communications and more. All going to benefit charities in the area.

As the sun started to set the clouds in the sky turned a cotton candy pink. I can’t think of a better lighting for dinner. They even had NASA superstar Adam Steltzner as a guest speaker. If you are unfamiliar with who he is, he’s been with NASA for 25 years. He is a NASA engineer who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He’s worked on several flight projects including Galileo, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rovers. Turns out he’s a pretty down to earth guy as well as a rockstar space explorer.

NASA engineer, Adam Steltzner with Red Barn Communications owner, Brit.

Ranch owner Dan Carver speaking.

Jeanie and Dan Carver speaking about the ranch.

Proud wife moment when Andy spoke, thanking the ranch family and all who attended the event.

Us with NASA engineer Adam Steltzner.

As I said before, this was not my first trip to the ranch but I had actually never experienced it at night. With 32,000 acres of property, the light pollution is at a minimum. I’ve never seen the Milky Way look like milk with the naked eye. I felt like Lucy staring into a sky of diamonds. We are on pretty flat land in the high desert of Oregon and the night sky and stars completely enveloped us like a blanket. I was only equipped with my cell phone so I couldn’t capture any of the stars in the sky with that. Luckily we had the very talented photographer, Silas Sao on hand to capture what this night sky looked like. The photos below are his work. Absolutely breathtaking.

To be standing outside just taking in the stars like that is something that I’ll never forget. I’ve camped all across the United States but too often light pollution gets in the way and you can never really appreciate the stars for what they are. I’ll never forget this incredible experience.

Monday August 21st had us waking up with the sun and out of our tents by 6:00 am. You could feel the energy in everyone as they buzzed around getting set up for the eclipse. I could smell breakfast being prepared by the catering company. I could feel the excitement exuding from everyone.

When the eclipse started around 9:00 am it was bright, sunny and hot outside. Slowly the temperature dropped until it was sweater weather at 10:20 when the full eclipse came. In the hour leading up to the full eclipse I experienced a range of emotions. At first I thought I was being weird old normal anxiety ridden Christina, but I’ve looked into it and tons of people in the path of totality felt the same. It was other worldly to be exact. I had an intense feeling of nausea at times, Andy said he felt like he might pass out, chill bumps covered my entire body. When the sun was covered 100% by the moon I started laughing and crying simultaneously. I couldn’t control it. For 58 seconds we were able to look at the moon covering the sun without protective eye wear. It was such a rush and one of the most amazing and weird feelings I’ve ever had. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by this but wow. I’m so ready for the next eclipse. Dare I say that this was a life altering experience? For me, I believe it was.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from the actual eclipse with links below that for Olympia, the Imperial Stock Ranch, Red Barn Communications, and photographer Silas Sao.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next adventure!

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