As an estimated one million persons swarmed over Wyoming to be benighted by the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, many appeared to have the same idea about the ideal viewing location.
On the Bridger-Teton National Forest road to Green River Lakes in Sublette County, hundreds upon hundreds of campers parked their RVs, set up their tents, off-loaded their ATVs and prepped their barbecue grills for the show. At the Green River Lakes campground, trailhead, parking lot and boat ramp, viewers occupied every available spot. The overflow of cars, trucks and campers lined both sides of about a mile of access roads. Every conceivable vessel, seaworthy and otherwise, plied the lake waters as dozens of families and groups set up for lakeside viewing.
The crowds didn’t thin out much several miles into the Bridger Wilderness where it was virtually impossible to find a campsite out of view of others. Yet civility reigned, and visitors were willing to tolerate others’ close presence that, at other times, would have seemed intrusive.
Squaretop Mountain, 11,695 feet, was an altar of awe as the eclipse lined up behind it. In the photograph above, flows from the Gannett Peak headwaters (at 13,809 feet, the highest point on the path of totality) course down the drainage toward the Sea of Cortez. A pair of lovers from Colorado who camped on an island added the pinprick of light in the middle of the picture when they briefly turned on a headlamp during totality.
UPDATE — Aug. 25. Bridger-Teton National Forest employees estimated there were 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles on the road to Green River Lakes and Union Pass for the eclipse. Pinedale District Ranger Rob Hoelscher said workers counted 1,500 vehicles leaving the area in the 3 hour after the event. The agency closed the road to the lakes to inbound traffic for about 1.5 hours after the eclipse on Monday. Closure allowed the exodus on the dusty byway to proceed safely with one-way traffic only. The road over Union Pass remained open.