Mission eSUPcalypse. How my friends and I SUP-supported ourselves away from the crowds to view the solar eclipse in totality.
If you saw the 2017 eclipse in totality, then you're probably still reeling on the experience. If you didn't see the eclipse in totality, you're probably sick of hearing about it. But I don't care. Wyoming was already crowded enough with people that were stoked on it. ;)
But where my friends and I were was completely secluded. The world could have ended while we were in that canyon and we wouldn't have known.
And that's the beauty of river trips.
Here are the deets to how we pulled off a SUP-supported trip in Wendover Canyon, and saw the #2017solareclipse in totality while we were at it.
The idea and planning for Mission eSUPcalypse was done purely by JB, who started Altitude Paddleboards, which is a SUP and surf shop in Littleton, Colorado (Yes, there is surfing near Littleton. Check out the River Run Park Wave!). I was invited by John Blackshire, who is my Hala Gear teammate and who also started and runs the Colorado SUP Club, a non-profit dedicated to growing the sport of SUP in Colorado. Together the three of us paddled Wendover Canyon in Wyoming.
I started the adventure by sleeping in my van in a random hotel parking lot after working in Longmont and waking up to the guys at 3:30 am on August 19th. We did a quick transfer of gear between cars, then rallied up north to Wendover Canyon, Wyoming.
Wendover Canyon is beautiful 15 mile stretch of North Platte River. Although we did it as an over-nighter, I highly recommend doing this as a day-trip because we had special permission to camp.
Set the shuttle at the take-out in Wendover where Cottonwood Creek confluences with the North Platte River. Plug in these coordinates in Google Maps for the pin: (42.326092, -104.872833)
This is a dirt road that does not require FWD or high-clearance. The take-out from the river view is characterized by a big bridge on river right just after you exit the canyon. There is an osprey nest on a tall, man-made post on river left. Take out on river right, just under the rail road bridge.
The put-in is located in Glendo, Wyoming in Glendo State Park. You will have to pay an entry fee to the park and tell them that you are headed to the power plant. Then you will drive to the power plant (follow the signs). Here are the GPS coordinates to where we put in: (42.463823, -104.954922)
We rigged all of our gear on our Hala Fames and Hala Dazes. It is a very calm stretch of river, with the only notable rapid about half-way through. It is known as the Haystacks. It's a pretty fun wave train.
We battled a head wind for a lot of our paddling, but it was not too bad since we weren't in a rush. It was a relaxing weekend on the river.
And if I ever go again, I'm definitely bringing a fly rod because the fishing there looked amazing. All in all, I highly recommend Wendover Canyon for anyone getting into river SUP! Glendo State Park also has a reservoir, which is a great place to start on a SUP before taking it to the river.
Here's a link to another site that can give some more details for your trip.
The Solar Eclipse:
We camped at the base of a 250 foot cliff and scrambled up to the top the morning of the eclipse (August 20th). On the way up we found a bobcat bedding area, which was pretty neat. There were no sign of humans on our hike, so naturally we contemplated how long it had been since a person had hiked up that cliff before we climbed it. Hence, the reasoning behind why we decided that Native American Dubstep music was a suitable choice for our "spirit journey" for our cliff-top eclipse party. Thank you A Tribe Called Red for creating the perfect music for the occasion. ;)
This video pretty much sums it up as best as anyone can describe the utter awe you experience while viewing the eclipse in totality:
And the next question everyone asks me is, "How was the traffic?"
And as expected... it was pretty bad. It took us about 5 hours to get from Glendo to just North of Cheyanne. When there is no traffic it usually takes about an hour and a half. The freeway was flooded with abandoned cars that ran out of gas, and the exits and entries were completely packed with cars containing drivers and families that were sleeping.
But the perks of van life is that as soon as I was too tired to drive, I simply pulled over and slept in my own bed for a few hours. I woke up at 5 am and drove the rest of the way without traffic and made it back in time for a long, sleepy day at work.