Microadventures, United States, Wyoming

January’s Microadventure – Lunar Eclipse in Vedauwoo

What’s a microadventure?  A microadventure is a short bit of adventure that is done close to home.  The concept has been popularized by Alastair Humphreys, who frames it around the idea of being “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives” and with sleeping overnight outdoors.  It doesn’t require airfare, or long road trips, specialized gear, or even (much) money.

Though I’m not keen on sleeping outdoors in Wyoming in January (or any winter, fall, or spring month), I really liked the idea of the microadventure, and decided to include more of them in my life in some manner, especially since I have amazing places not far from home.  I am a bit delayed about talking about the one I took in January thanks to trying to bang out all my Iceland travel adventures uninterrupted… but better late than never!

January 20th was the date of the “Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse,” and I figured that this would be a great excuse to get out of my house on a fairly mild-for-January evening in Wyoming with my camera, even if it meant not getting in bed by my usual 10pm.  Naturally, I could’ve watched the whole eclipse from my backyard, but I wanted something more.  I threw my 70-300mm lens on my Nikon D500 (which had batteries I had not charged since sometime in Iceland in September, and I only could hope they would last long enough to capture the eclipse), dug my tripod out of the pile of final things I never unpacked from all those months earlier, and hopped in my car.

After a quick stop at Starbucks for a large steamer, I headed west on Happy Jack Road out of Cheyenne, with Vedauwoo Road in the Medicine Bow National Forest as my final destination.  This would get me far away from any city light pollution, and would add a bit of the “adventure” feel to the whole thing.  As I began my 30 minute drive, the eclipse began, and I snuck glances of it out of my sunroof.  I always use to go on random drives when I was younger, and I kinda missed the feeling as I cruised along blaring songs on the radio.

The weather was oh so pleasant when I found a spot among the granite rock formations of this gorgeous slice of Wyoming, and I quickly fumbled around with my tripod and different settings, briefly checking google to see if I was getting everything right.  I’m use to photographing race cars, not the moon – let alone an eclipse!  I really kicked myself for not turning this into an overnight adventure and throwing my Subaru Forester-shaped mattress in the back of Fozzy (the name of my beloved car) with some down comforters – but alas, I did not, so I missed out on this chance of seeing if I could successfully car camp in the middle of January.

This area is known for mountain lions, moose, and other furry creatures, so it was a bit unnerving to be out in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, with just my cell phone to serve as a flashlight and one huge camera.  The eclipse continued, and as totality was nearing, the moon turned a rusty color and the wind picked up significantly.  Now, I don’t know if this was just the infamous Wyoming wind just starting up for no reason, or if the eclipse had something to do with it… but definitely chilled things nonetheless.  I continued snapping photos, messing with exposure, and fumbling around with my tripod (I hate tripods…).  The brightness of the full moon dimmed, the Milky Way strung across the sky in its own magnificent way, reminding me of how small I am in the grand scheme of everything in the universe.

Satisfied with the photos I nabbed from my first attempt at photographing a lunar eclipse, I packed up and jumped into my warm car, thankful to be out of the wind.  Thirty minutes later I was back home in Cheyenne, and caught more of the eclipse from my backyard before heading in to look at my photos.

jan-eclipse4WM
January 20, 2019 – Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse – Vedauwoo, Wyoming
jan-eclipseWM
January 20, 2019 – Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse – Vedauwoo, Wyoming
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