I wasn't so sure what to expect, with no previous standard to compare to. I was told the surreal experience would be an overwhelming display of the scope of our universe and the corresponding feeling of human insignificance. Without paying much attention, the full eclipse became more and more hyped in my mind as the media coverage and excitement became contagious.
A hundred or so climbers, slackers, and fun seekers all congregated to the path of totality. The bleak desert landscape was quickly filled with fluorescent tents and adventure rigs. The week was filled with folks splitting off into groups to climb granite cracks, launch of the 150 foot bridge swing (between sheriff visits), or try their hand at slack-lining over the canyon (oh Boulder ;)). The climbing was an interesting sort, starting at the top and rappelling into the deep canyons - in order to lead on gear, this required pulling the ropes and committing to the climb out. Not very conducive to pushing the grade.
All this hustle and bustle over the week came to an absolute standstill late Monday morning, as the moon shifted into the path of our sun.
As the sun was slowly blotted out over the next hour, the temperature dropped around 20 degrees. The world became dark, apocalyptic, cold - just as the primal yells and whoops from a hundred climbers rose up out of the canyon, marking the start of the eclipse's totality.
During this minute and a half of complete totality, it's a bit hard to describe the mixture of scenery, emotion, awe, and insignificance felt. The world was absolutely still - the wind stopped suddenly, the crickets came out to chirp, a bat buzzed by the van roof. The world stopped, perspective of time warped.
It was over in just one indescribable moment. The feelings over that day are harder and harder to access, as the memory struggles to retain all it experienced over that brief moment of time. A "once in a lifetime" event has no comparables.
As we retreated north against the flow of eclipse seekers heading back to Colorado, it was obvious why so many people choose to take part in the moment.
I too will be joining the hordes, seeking #totality when the next opportunity arises.