Day 61 on the Continental Divide Trail

Day- 61

Date- 8/21/17

Location- Side of trail

Elevation- 7,438 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 26.1 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 907.3 miles

Weather/Temp- clear, eclipse, 70s 

Injuries- none

Pain level- none

Spirits/Morale- tired

Wildlife encounters- none

Human Beings encountered on trail- 3

Thru hikers encountered on trail- 2 nobo

Days without shower- 3

Days without laundry- 8

Hunger/craving- greasy food

It seems Stomper and I are a bad influence on each other in the mornings. It was close to freezing this morning, and we didn’t get hiking until almost 9am. We didn’t really care, because today was a special day; today was eclipse day. 

We ambled along checking the sky for any signs of the eclipse beginning. Our zone was slated to begin seeing it at around 10:30am.  As 10:30 came and went, I noticed no real difference in the sun or lighting. We kept hiking. 

Shortly after 11 am I began to notice the ambient light was dimming. There wasn’t a cloud in sight, so the eclipse was the only explanation. We hurried up the tree covered climb we were on, then ducked off the trail to a clear rocky outcropping that had a clear view of our star. 

We decided to make it a lunch eclipse, as we got out our food and prepared for the show. I set my camera up on time lapse and pointed it at the sun. The ambient light began to dim more and more, but if I glanced at the sun with my peripherals, there was no noticeable dimming, and no sign of the moon’s silhouette. I couldn’t even see it on my phone recording. I guess I needed the fancy NASA glasses to catch any of the action that wasn’t the dimming of the earth. 

It wasn’t even as dark as a cloudy day when it suddenly began to get brighter. Me and Stomp looked at each other…”That was it?” We both said. I thought we were in the totality zone? Funny enough, all I could think about were all the people who paid all that money to watch the eclipse in Yellowstone. They were even further into the totality gray zone than we were now, so it must have been even less spectacular. Anyways, I’m sure I’m coming across bitter, but I feel like this “phenomenon” was really, really built up and sensationalized. I have no access to the news or internet right now, so I can’t confirm if I was perhaps further from the totality zone than what I thought, or if what I experienced was typical for someone not wearing magic glasses. Either way, I’m curious to see an official recording of the event when I get into town. 

The late start and the eclipse put a massive dent in our day, but like I said, we really weren’t sweating it. It was another day, physically easy, but with no shortage of river crossings. Nothing fantastical to speak of happened besides our usual conversations, as well as a run in with a lone forestry worker who was cutting blowdowns off the trail with a single person hand saw (a hell of a job). He had two horses, two mules, and a friendly dog to keep him company; not a bad gig. 

Once again, Stomp and I hiked into the dark of night with plans to get an extra 5 or 6 miles knocked out. In the end, we got around three before going nearly half a mile down a wrong trail. We took it as a sign to quit while we were ahead, and called it a day where we stood. Now we’re both cowboy camped beneath the sprawling branches of different conical pines. We have about 27 miles to reach the road into Dubois, Wyoming tomorrow. 

Go to Day 62.


  1. Lucky folks that got to see the eclipse! I will be retired by 2024,so there is no way I am going to miss the next one.

  2. You really have to be on the path of 100% totality. Even a sliver of light from the sun keeps things bright. I was in Clayton Georgia for 2017 totality and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Unreal. If you get a chance go for the 2024 total eclipse. I live right on it’s path. Erie PA.

  3. I wasn’t impressed with this one, my 3rd total eclipse. Guess once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

  4. You must have been out of the totality zone! We were here in southern St. Louis and it was amazing. Everything got dark, the temperature cooled, the crickets started chirping, the street lights came on, and we were able to see planets and some stars and were able to look directly at the moon covering the sun. There will be another in 2024, you’ll have to try again!

  5. So bummed you didn’t get to fully enjoy the total eclipse. Sounds like you were outside of the totality zone, and when you are…it really is no big deal. I’m lucky that where I live was in the path of totality. When totality hit and we took our glasses off, the sparkling ring of light/umbra around the moon took my breath away. It is honestly the most amazing, beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Even beats Thailand’s sunsets. Try for 2024, Mayor! But download an app to make sure you are in the right place for it if you’re on trail 😊

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