I’m almost speechless.
I just saw the eclipse in totality from the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, ground zero for the path.
Among natural occurrences, it was the most stunning and breathtaking event I’ve ever seen.
On this road trip, I’ve also had other firsts: first time traveling in an RV, first time in Oregon, first time hugging redwood trees. It’s been surreal. I’m traveling with one of my best friends, her boyfriend and her brother (some of them were on the Mount Whitney trip).
But the solar eclipse. I’ll take a moment to describe it and set the scene. We drove for two and a half days from LA to Southern Oregon to reach the prime destination within the path of totality. Jon and Ryan were research maniacs, finding the best location for viewing. We finally reached the beach with lots of time to set up photography gear and we were excited and so ready — even though we didn’t know exactly what to expect in totality. The beach was decorated with other viewers but not many tourists. Most people seemed to live in walking distance (and left immediately after totality, probably to get back to work on a Monday morning). We were clearly the excited SoCal tourists wearing down jackets because we’re unused to Oregon summers!
We had the special glasses and Mylar film for the camera lenses. At the beginning of the eclipse, we looked directly at the sun and the sky was black. We saw a tiny dimple removed from the sphere. Over the next hour and thirteen minutes, the perfect round sun looked like a cantaloupe wedge down to a sliver.
We turned around, toward the incoming tide, and were surprised to see a “fogbow.” It was an arc perfectly captured and full of fog. I’d never seen this before but apparently fogbows happen in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska often. One thing to note: there had been tons of discussion about visiting the coast in Oregon versus driving east and going to a viewing spot more inland. We took a gamble and went to the coast, after researching and driving all night and well into the morning. It could not have been better. The town of Lincoln City was adorable and welcoming, and our viewing spot on the beach was sublime.
As soon as we were a few minutes from totality, I felt a new energy surround the beach. Someone was ringing bells, everyone was anticipatory. The sky turned a blue-gray color and the temperature dropped rapidly. Suddenly, we were able to remove our glasses. Looking up, the sun was completely covered by the moon and a diamond ring was surrounding it. There were “Bailey’s beads,” or little rubies strung along the diamond corona. The corona was bright and sparkly! Tears streamed down my cheeks and my friend Stephanie jumped and shouted! We hugged, danced, were stupefied with awe! In two short minutes, my life was forever changed. I decided then and there that I would not miss another solar eclipse.
We stayed through the complete eclipse, discussing everything we’d seen and experienced in that brief totality. Our words: Epic! Celestial epiphany! Otherworldly! Exponentially better than imagined! Ethereal! Sublime! Electric! Surpassed every expectation! Shock. We expected partial, but totality was an orb that cannot be described! This day felt hopeful in a time that has felt so bleak.
It was amazing to experience something celestial and rare. And at this moment in time, it was apolitical and neutral. It made me remember how small we are and how big the universe is. Totality was awesome and inspiring. For those who were only able to view partiality, I hope you see totality in 2024 and understand what I’m describing.
Thank you to Stephanie, Ryan and Jon for this amazing adventure. We’re planning the next American eclipse in 2024 and we’re discussing travel to South America for the eclipse in 2019. Antartica 2021, anyone?!
All of these incredible photos are from Ryan Pastorek. The great eclipse pictures (and more of his work) can be found on his website.