|Mt. Lassen from Lake Almador|
Today’s lesson, young grasshopper, is that things turn out the way they do, no matter how different that is from how you expect them to be. All the information we had been given was that the best place to view the annular solar eclipse was from Lassen Volcanic National Park, plus there would be an educational presentation at the Information Center auditorium. Life, however, does not always follow what is given out in magazine articles and websites. When, after a morning of hiking around Lake Almador, we arrived at the park entrance, a long line of cars awaited us. The time for the presentation approached, with almost no forward progress. At last, when the entrance kiosk came into view, a Park Ranger informed us that not only was the parking lot full, or about to become so, but that we would not be able to view the entire eclipse from the park. She advised driving to Redding, about 90 miles away. She mentioned the Mineral Vista Point, considerably closer, but thought that the parking area might already be full.
In the tiny town of Mineral, we stopped to chat with the proprietors of the all-purpose lodge/market/general store. A number of people who’d turned back at Lassen had clearly decided that the way to view the eclipse was from the café patio, a cold beer in hand. They didn’t seem to mind that there were some rather large hills to the west. We, on the other hand, decided to try the Vista Point, reserving the lodge parking lot as a backup plan.
|Eclipse Tailgate Party|
I’d had quite a time getting solar eclipse shades for Chris and me. I’d ordered them online from an outfit that shall remain nameless about two weeks before we needed them. After one week, they still had not been shipped, so I emailed them to cancel the order and called Edmund Scientific. A real person was not only able to make sure what I wanted was in stock, but a shipping method that would ensure they arrived before we left. (This is a plug for Edmund Scientific – they delivered on their promise!) As it turns out, the first order arrived the day after we left, making it useless to us but very convenient for the members of the Quaker meeting of which my husband is a member, for he freely distributed them – the eclipse in that area was partial, but at least they could watch it safely.
|Astronomer Charts A Course|
|Using A Hat For A Pinhole Camera (note the crescent sun!)|
We shared solar shades, we shared snacks, we shared knowledge and geekery. We shared kindness and wonder. And then, after a couple of hours, we all went away.