Total Solar Eclipse 2017| Rexburg, Idaho

We just got back from one of the most amazing weekends EVER. The total solar eclipse occurred on Monday August 21, 2017. My in laws just so happen to live in Rexburg, Idaho which was in the zone of totality, but also close to Idaho Falls which is one of the places that NASA declared as the best to view the eclipse.

Despite the news for months saying that there would be horrendous crowds of people migrating to Idaho Falls and Rexburg Idaho for the eclipse, our family headed up there too. I questioned my sanity a few times while preparing for our trip because of said stories on the news, and the preparations in case crowds got too rowdy or some catastrophic event like a wild fire was to happen. So, in order to avoid the crowds in, I drove up on Thursday the 17 and headed to my in-laws who just so happen to live in Rexburg, and in the zone of totality.

With a few extra days to spare, my kids enjoyed every moment of time spent with their grandparents on the farm. This included four-wheeler rides to help water the cow, running through the neighbors yard that was flooded for watering, four-wheeler rides just because, throwing rocks and racing sticks in the canal, feeding the goats, harvesting and shucking corn, pulling vegetables from the garden to have fresh for dinner, petting and feeding the neighbors horses, playing in the sprinklers and the ditch, having rides in Grandpa’s bucket of the tractor, roasting weenies and desserts in the fire pit, playing board games, and reading books with Grandma.

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It’s pretty safe to say that every time we visit Rexburg, it’s like Disneyland for my kids! They would all pass out at night from pure exhaustion (which is what this Momma loves!). I am so grateful for my good relationship with my in-laws that I can go visit without my husband and still have such a wonderful time.

On Saturday, everyone else showed up for the eclipse! Sherri and Rick joined us from Vancouver, WA, and my Grandparents came from Midway, Utah. My Uncle Brad and my cousin Matthew also came but not until late Sunday night from Park City. It was such a special weekend too, because my in-laws were able to meet my birth mom Sherri and some of her family!

It was incredible for me to sit back and watch as two families I loved came together. Sunday Rick and Sherri scoped out the perfect spot for us to watch the eclipse the next day. Jess and I made a big dinner for everyone that night which we ate outside, and the day was ended playing some rowdy card games very late into the night.

The next morning we were all up early; anxious for the coming event. After breakfast those of us who wanted to go watch from the spot Rick found caravanned over. It took us about 15 minutes, and we were up on the eastern hills above Rexburg. We had a perfect view of the Menan Butte to the West from where we were, and we were nestled right at the edge of a golden wheat field.

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It really was the perfect spot. We could eventually see the shadow of the moon coming from the West. It was INSANE.

Once the eclipse began around 10:15 AM we had our various glasses and other viewing devices at the ready. The kids were pretty worried about going blind so we also brought a strainer which we projected the various stages of the eclipse onto a brown paper bag. It was actually really pretty!

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Around 11:30 is when the full totality was upon us. We all watched with anticipation as the shadow was bearing down on us from the west. It was moving 2000 MPH! That is SO fast! When the last sliver of light from the sun was covered, we were suddenly in nighttime darkness! We could see stars around us, and even venus! The temperature also dramatically dropped within minutes and we were all shivering.

I wish I could accurately describe how gorgeous the total eclipse was. There was light emanating around the moon in a blueish hue, and I commented that I felt like we were watching a planet be created. It was such a breathtaking sight, and me and several others in our group were moved to tears. It was definitely a life changing event, and I am so grateful I got to witness it with my husband and children. All three of my littles kept commenting after how beautiful it was. Even little Memphis proclaimed: “Mommy that was bootiful!”

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Papa making sure his glasses worked

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Memphis got the hang of them pretty quick!

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My cousin Matthew and my Uncle Brad watching on with Papa

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My Grandma, Sherri, Rick, Papa, Brad, and Matthew

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pretty stylin!

 

If any of you have plans to go and see the next total eclipse in 2024, GO! We are already planning our trip. See ya there!

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XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

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Register Rock | American Falls, Idaho

A few weeks ago, we traveled from Boise East to a small city called Sugar City, Idaho. This is where my husband grew up. The drive was actually quite beautiful, as we followed the Snake river for part of it. When we drove through American Falls, there was an exit sign for “Register Rock”. Curious, I told Jess to pull over so we could check it out. I am so glad we did!

Register Rock, is a prominent piece of history for the emigrants who headed West, whether on the Oregon Trail, or the Mormon pioneers escaping for religious freedom. Apparently this rock was a place where those travelers would stop and make camp, would carve their names into. It’s basically like a guest book.

IMG_4572IMG_4571IMG_4569IMG_4568IMG_4565There were other rocks in the area that were also used similarly, but most of them have worn away, or maybe haven’t even been discovered yet.

The rock now is protected by a shelter, and is behind a fence so you can’t touch it. There’s a small window you can peek through to get a good look at the rock though, which was nice.

The oldest inscription I found was 1835! It was very cool to stop and see something like this, especially because I have many pioneer ancestors who made this journey or ones like it across the plains.

After we looked at the rock for a while, we decided to hike for a bit, and I was so glad we did! This area of Idaho is just gorgeous. It’s in Massacre Rocks State Park, which was called so by the emigrants because of the constant fears of being ambushed by the Native Americans above them on the rocks. I would love to come back here and camp!

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It’s amazing what beautiful things we have in our own backyards. I was so glad we decided to pull over when I saw that sign!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Wahclella Falls and the Fish Hatchery at Bonneville Dam in Oregon

What a weekend! We drove up to Portland to visit my family and we definitely packed as much as we could in the 4 days we had up there. I wish we could have stayed longer, but it’s just a good reason to go back! We took two days to explore the breathtaking Columbia Gorge. There’s so many hikes and waterfalls- it would literally take a week maybe two to see it all! Because we have littles and little legs we needed to pick holes that were kid friendly.

The first day we went to the gorge, we hiked Wahclella Falls. It was not a flat or easy hike, and Memphis protested and demanded to be held several times, but we survived. Us out of towners were pretty cold at first and all had our layers on, but by the time we reached the falls I was sweating! The weather here is so unpredictable but we got really lucky and it ended up being sunny and pretty warm.

 

 

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The hike itself was gorgeous. I still cannot get over the moss covered trees! My kids called them “fuzzy trees”. My stepdad Rick was a fountain of knowledge pointing out every plant we passed and telling us what it was stinging nettle, and Poison Oak which thankfully no one walked through or touched! We even picked some delicious wild raspberries along the trail, but also saw salmon berries,Oregon Grapes, and huckleberries! We saw a few garter snakes and Rick picked it up while the littles squealed with delight.

The Falls were quite impressive. The greenery surrounding Wahclella makes it seem like you should be in Ireland instead of Oregon. It was quite magical really. We made our way to the water which was too cold to swim in, but the littles had a good time throwing rocks in the water for a long time. Okay, the adults threw some rocks too! The kids explored a cool dripping cave, and then we headed back down the trail to the cars.

That same day, we visited the Fish Hatchery which is across the road from the Wahclella Trailhead at the Bonneville Dam.

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We saw lots of fish, and even Bigfoot! It was worth driving over to see the hatchery.I had never been to one before, so it was very interesting to walk by all the huge tanks holding the baby fish in them. Tons of tiny fish were leaping out of the water which the kids enjoyed watching. We moved on to the Rainbow Trout which were so vividly colored, and the kids liked throwing in fish food and watching a giant writhing pile of rainbow fish fight over it.

From there, we moved to the sturgeon viewing areas. Man, were these prehistoric fish impressive! They even had a viewing window under their pond so you could watch them swimming underwater. The largest one they had must have been at least 10-15 feet long! Memphis loved looking at their eyes, and Calvin loved to point at the pieces of dead fish along the bottom of their tank. Shay just couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that they are as old as dinosaurs.

Once we were done watching them, we drove up to the actual dam. Inside, we took the elevator down so we were underneath it, and they had these viewing windows where you could watch the fish swimming up the ladder from under the water. We maybe saw one fish from under there, but were much more interested in the alien-like Lamprey which were suctioned to the windows! Their alarmingly sharp little teeth made it look like a horror film! Honestly, I could have watched them all day. I never knew that they are basically leeches and suck the fluids out of the fish they attach to! Calvin started talking to a group of people and told them that “They are basically related to Dracula!” which made us all laugh! He’s such a good tour guide!

We walked outside to watch the fish leap up the ladder from the top of the water. Sadly, we saw plenty of fish but none of them were jumping so we didn’t stay long. We got a good view of the dam from up there, and then called it a day.

It was such a jam-packed day of fun and we really lucked out with the weather being so nice and sunny! I snapped this photo of Memphis when we pulled into my birth mom Sherri’s house.

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You know it was a good day when he’s asleep in the car (which he never does anymore) AND covered in dirt!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette