Saturday, September 2, 2017

Whazoo's Penumbra Umbra...Or Chasing the Moon Shadow, Moon Shadow

So were the words I kept hearing in my head on this trip, sung by Cat Stevens in Moon Shadow, Moon Shadow. This was actually a week after the Penumbra Umbra, (thanks for the title Silversand!)  and Lynn and I were looking for any remnants of the eclipse in the mountains of Idaho, at the highest point you can get to in a 4wheel drive vehicle. Yes, it is the highest dirt road in the whole state. Not that I care to brag.

The road starts off east of Stanley and we had fairly clear sailing the first day. Passing by an old ghost town we were surprised to see that the ghosts were Trump fans. 

The road clum, climbed, about 1,500 feet in three miles. It was steep enough and rocky enough that the camper slid back about 2-3 inches, something that's never happened before. As all things must, it moved forward again on the way down, hah. Hitting the brakes once or twice made sure of it.

It was a typical Idaho day, that's to say it was fantastic and eastern Idaho has become a favorite area with a mix of openness and trees.

The skies were fairly clear when we made the top at 10,500 feet and we were surprised to still see some patches of snow. 

Bailey knew that she was top dog this weekend, being so high up in the mountains.

There was a lake I wanted to hike to, or try. It was fifteen hundred feet down though, and no elevator back up. 

Home is where the camper is, though I've heard it said otherwise.

My first order of business was to look for remnants of the eclipse. I was thinking surely I'd find it up here.

Well, this was the only eclipse I could find. It was a partial eclipse and I was partially happy, as I was partially blind from looking directly at it. Of course I could hear Manfred Mann singing "Blinded By The Light."

Without Grandkids to photo I was back to old tricks, posting too many pictures of trucks, dogs and dirt roads.

The wind was howling, or was that the dogs? 

A walk was taken to see some of those high delights. It was stunning.

I apologize for all the same-o-samo pictures. Wait a minute, this is my website and I can post what I like. I'll apologize anyway...

A very strange sight to see were these cables running across the open ground. We followed them a ways to find them going west downhill towards the lake, and back east as far as we could see.

The views were endless yet marred by slight distant smoke from forest fires. Something that seems to be a regular issue these days in any mountains. And I heard the Sanford Townsend Band sing "Smoke From A Distant Fire."

There's a camper in there somewhere, put on those good glasses.

I thought that rock looked a little like Groucho Marks. Well? Ok don't say it, I'll blame it on the altitude. Wait, did it just wink?!

If I had a small office here, could I call it the Post Office? Argh, we're walking we're walking...

The other beauty of this place was that we were alone on the top of the world.

With the moon setting behind the sun, I knew it would be fruitless to look for remnants of the Penumbra that night.

I have to ask, does that look like a golden chariot to you? 

The best picture ever taken of me. And that was my bad side.

I had thought the wind would clear out the smoke yet there it was, more than the night before. I knew that after the hike we'd be leaving this top of Idaho, the views were gone.

The Mormon Crickets were out and about. Not as large as I've seen yet battered and deep fried would taste just the same.

We started the hike down to the lake. Key word...started.

It was a conundrum. The closer we got the farther away it seemed, and the steeper the hill became.
Yes indeed, it was even a strain to walk back to the truck from that point.

The view east back down was disturbing...

As we drove down the mountain my very observant wife noticed a brown roof in the trees up the canyon. I was merely watching the road. That treacherous road with the sheer drop on my side. Funny isn't it, how we as drivers can daydream or look at scenery going up or down when the passenger is on the outside looking straight down. But when us divers are on the outside, none of anything but watching that road.

We parked and started the walk to find that building. Passing a tree with a huge piece of bark laying on the ground I thought it would make a great set of chaps. Or not...

Little dog, big bark.

Duke likes to hang out with his buds. His buds, his, well anyway. He had a blooming good time in the water.

The blooming was all around.

Notice to the prospective owners, she leans a little.

I'll call this a peek-a-poo view of the outhouse. I don't know why...

And there I was, sitting on my can. My rusty ol can.

It was an old boarding house. With more than one outhouse which surely made the miners crappy, I mean happy.

A few views of the interior...

Notice to prospector buyers, needs a little TLC.

Oh geez, another one-holer. In the kitchen no less. Must be the cooks private privy. 

And I asked myself, why carry this heavy ol stove out here instead of leaving it inside? Was it an outdoor kitchen?

A neat shaft with rails coming out of it....

also water and a cave-in. 

We've all heard about tipping the outhouse with someone in it, I'll hope there wasn't. That made a total of five outhouses incl the remains of one. There might be more, no sh*t!

On down that road we drove, the history lesson over.
Quite funny though, coming down we could see the trees blocking out one key letter.

We drove on not knowing where to go next since we had planned on two nights on top of Idaho.
And that's how we find most of these wonderful places.

And Penumbra Umbra.

We had one other stop I wanted to make up Yankee Fork Road, a place called Loon Creek.
On the way up there is this huge dredge sitting in a very small pond. According to the history of the area it did an enormous amount of work pulling up rocks from the nearby creek bottom and to separate the gold, the work itself being sheer dredgery. There is a tour inside but we were wanting to get on to our next camp.

I took this picture of the enormous mine across the canyon, just in Case.

Recently and very well graded this road also came with a pucker factor.

Twenty-five miles later, and after the road de-graded, we got within two miles of Loon Creek and were stopped by a large fallen tree, no pictures. It was 90Âș at 6,000 feet, too hot for us to enjoy even if the tree didn't stop us. I could have driven down and around it like someone else had, but in tall dead grass we chose not to, it wasn't just a quick detour. These days are different than days past and the chance of starting a fire off the exhaust stopped me. 

But yet again we were surprised at the history there and the work people used to do to mine for metals. How did they get these things back there??

This dude actually had a trailer tongue attached,

We decided to drive back up to higher altitude for shade and cooler air. Driving around a corner we had just done an hour before...

It spooked us a bit knowing we were a long way back and we didn't know which way the road ran, so we did. We ran back through the mountains to get farther away. Feeling comfortable where we were we set up camp and walked out to the dirt road...

We packed up and ran again.

It was unreal and seemed to follow us but I'm sure that was our fright and uninformed thoughts. We didn't know exactly where it was, more than one, direction it/they were burning and again which exact direction the road took. Finally cresting a pass over to the Yankee Fork side I stopped for this so apropos picture.

We camped on this side of the mountains and woke to ash covered camp chairs and terrible skies.

One of our daughters and husband had given me a selfie stick for a gift and we took a few minutes to figure the thing out, hah. "Did I just take a picture Dear?"

Holy Smokes! (yes I did thank you) It works! Watch out Whazoo website, more selfies coming your way in the future!!

In the meantime I could hear the Platters singing "Smoke Gets In My Eyes"

The drive back into Stanley gave no hint as to the incredible Sawtooth Mountains behind it.

There was another fire or two on the drive back to Boise and the skies were dark the entire way. clearing up only when we hit the Boise/Treasure Valley floor. It reminded me of living in San Bernardino CA in the late sixties with many days the sun being only an orange orb in the sky.

While this trip did not eclipse any other trip we've taken in our wonderful camper, it was a good trip and with fire was a real eye-opener...

Here are the few pics I took of the Umbra from our home near Boise. At 99.5% it was an awesome thing to see. My pics were taken through my welders glass with my 135mm lens. Quite boring actually, well...

And of course this was the 99.5% that we got here at home...wait, what the?!
Well I'll be a sun of a gun.