Eclipse an experience to remember

By Marlys Good

Poland, Italy, Canada, Great Britain, Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands; Vermont, Nevada, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Colorado, Idaho, as well as people from the far reaches of Wyoming, converged on Greybull to watch Monday’s historic solar eclipse.

It was a “lot of fun” according to Scott McColloch of the Yellowstone Motel, who said his guests included a large party from Warsaw, Poland, that reserved three rooms.

McColloch said some guests left early Monday morning, trying to get to Thermopolis, then Boysen, then Casper, “chasing the eclipse.”

Guests at the Historic Greybull Hotel were mostly from foreign countries, and the majority had booked last year. A spokesman for the hotel said, “They came in Sunday night, left early Monday to go to Shoshoni, and came back here Monday night. They said it took them two and a half hours to get from Shoshoni back through the canyon to Thermopolis.”

The Wheels Motel was filled to capacity, but Chris Harwood said surprisingly the guests “were not as diverse as we expected. There were a lot from Colorado, Montana, Idaho, but quite a few locals,” he said, talking about people with ties from years past to Greybull. “They said this (eclipse) was a good excuse to go back to their old stomping grounds.”

Many of the Wheels guests left Greybull to watch the eclipse closer up. Harwood said, “Some people went to Dubois and said it took them six hours to get back from Dubois to Thermopolis.”

Most of the motels/hotels report “residual” traffic. While some guests checked out Monday morning, many tourists returning from points further south came through Greybull Monday night and were happy to find some rooms available.

Scott McColloch remarked on what a boon to the motels the eclipse proved to be. He said there was a definite drop in motorcycle traffic, but it has been picking up. He thought many cyclists had postponed trips because of the predicted rise in traffic.

A host of Greybull residents headed south to watch the eclipse. The “host” included Max and Carrie Mazur and McKenzie and Todd and Sarah Mazur Zeller who joined Mike Mazur and his wife in Lander. They drove down Sunday night, and sat in Mike’s back yard for the entire two hours.

Carrie said the “darkness” lasted for 70 seconds, but it wasn’t “totally” dark. “It was dark above, you could see a couple of planets and a few stars, but there was sunset in all directions, 360-degrees of sunset.”

An unforgettable experience; one they will long remember, as will they remember the traffic as they headed home. Coming from Lander to Riverton was no problem as most of the traffic was going in the opposite lane – people heading back to Utah, Colorado, etc.

Going from Shoshoni north was a different story. Traffic heading through Wind River Canyon was backed up clear to the small town.

Connie Craft and husband Tom Gustafson chose a spot north of Lysite as their personal eclipse-viewing area. Although a more secluded spot than Shoshoni, Riverton, or Lander, there were still people around who had also chosen it as a good spot to be.

Connie said it was not “totally” dark it was “pretty darn dark and the lights on the wells in that area, shone bright as stars.

Connie and Tom had been watching seven antelope in the hills. It was “dusky” and they were running, changing directions, running. “We didn’t know if they were running because of the changes in the light and temperature or just because they were being antelope, but it added to the eclipse experience. All in all, it was an amazing experience and we were so grateful to have been able to take it all in.”