Day 9: Eclipse Day at Bryce Canyon NP!

A beautiful day for an eclipse – clear blue sky and just a little wind!

I started the day at the park by just driving up the scenic drive again, this time capturing it in real time on my camera to compare with the time-lapse that I took yesterday.  After that I parked the car at Sunrise Point and headed off to hike the Navajo Loop Trail.

The Navajo loop is a 1.3 mile trail that goes down 0.6 miles and then back up 0.7 miles if you go in the clockwise direction.  Yesterday near the end of my 6 mile hike I took the 0.6 mile section up.  So today I went down that side and came back up the other way which I hadn’t seen yet.  On this leg which is called “Wall Street” the trail goes through a narrow slot canyon which makes for some spectacular views up the vertical walls to the open sky and also through the canyon looking at the switchbacks you have to climb to get out.  It took me about an hour to do this given all the photos I had to stop and take;-)

After that I headed to the Bryce Canyon Lodge and had a leisurely lunch.  From there I headed back to my car since I had seen enough of the canyon for awhile.  Just did a little reading and relaxing until about 3:30 when I headed down the road to grab a shuttle ride out to Bryce Point.  Turns out I should have taken that time to check my equipment – I had forgotten my tripod back at camp.  I was going to be forced to take pictures of the eclipse the hard way.

Made it out to Bryce Point about 4 pm and got myself situated right on the rim across from the Bryce Amphitheater.  There were hundreds of people at Bryce Point and I don’t know how many at the other sites.  Chatted with a nice couple from Eugene, OR while waiting for the show to start.  She’s French Canadian and he’s Czech and they had also lived in Owatonna, MN for awhile in the 80s.

DSC_0190

It took me a few tries to dial in the settings on my camera to get images of the sun (should have had a neutral density filter…) but I finally got as best as could be.  The sun was still too bright for about the first half – even though I could see through the eclipse glasses the transit, it still caused overexposure of the sun.  But as the moon got a bit more than halfway across the sun, I could start to see a crescent in my images.  Then at the maximum I got the image above.  I then continued snapping photos through the remainder of the eclipse – all the way to sunset.  I’m going to assemble a time lapse of this as well but unfortunately since I did this all handheld I’m going to have to crop a lot of images otherwise it’ll be jumping all over the place.

After that it was a bit of waiting for the shuttle ride back to my car (or close to my car anyway).  Not sure if it’s always so disorganized, they also had one bus break down, but I think I waited nearly an hour.  This was after also sitting through the entire eclipse – most people had headed to the busses just after the maximum.  Then it was back to camp and bed.  On to Zion tomorrow!

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