Where will you be at 10:19 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21? That’s the day of the total solar eclipse, and unless you’ve been living in a cave you probably know that the state of Wyoming is in the viewing hot spot, since the eclipse’s path of totality passes through the state’s central region.
Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is north of that path, but my hometown of Cody is still a great place to see this rare event, with only 98.05 percent obscuration. In other words, Cody will be a pretty darn good place to see this rare astral event.
I am planning to ditch work that day and watch the event with a group of friends. When we stopped by to purchase our special eclipse glasses from the Cody Visitor Center, we asked the knowledgeable folks there for some ideas on where in Cody to go for the best viewing. They gave us a bunch of ideas, and we’re continuing to mull our options.
One place we’re considering is Beck Lake Park, a city park near the Yellowstone Regional Airport that shows off our big Wyoming sky and has a bunch of amenities. My friends and I love to bike, so we might just head out on one of the trails and find a quiet spot to watch the show.
Another option is the Buffalo Bill State Park on the shore of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. One of the reasons I am drawn to the reservoir is because it has such clear links to our town’s founder. Buffalo Bill was a talented town planner, and he knew that the town and the ranches that surround it would need a reliable water source. Work on the Buffalo Bill Dam was completed in 1910. The park itself has campsites, so if we settle on this option, we will likely camp out and boat to the middle of the reservoir to watch the main event.
There’s also the Four Bear Trail, a Bureau of Land Management area to the west of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. My friend the equestrian will bring horses to ride on a trail that summits at about 7,600 feet and offers spectacular views of the North Fork Shoshone River Valley and the volcanic spires and red rock formations in the region. We may get lucky and see golden eagles and mountain bluebirds as we look to the skies.
If we don’t have quite enough time to head to the outlying regions of Cody, we may just bring a blanket and our coffees and breakfast sandwiches from Rocky Mountain MoJoe and settle in at Cody’s City Park right in the center of town. I love this park, and so do the folks who plan Cody’s events and festivals. There’s an outdoor stage for music and other performances, and lots of manicured grass for picnics.
The charming town of Meeteetse is another possibility, and if we go there, we’ll surely be stopping for some handmade chocolate truffles from the Meeteetse Chocolatier. Meeteetse may be the most fitting of places to meet friends to view a total solar eclipse because the name of the town is derived from an Indian phrase that means “meeting place.” The town has an old-fashioned wooden boardwalk on both sides of the main street, and it’s not hard to picture Butch Cassidy riding through town and banking at the Meeteetse Bank. He actually did that, and the notorious bank robber assured his friends that the Meeteetse Bank was safe from robberies so they could be comfortable banking there.
No matter where my friends and I end up viewing it, viewing the total solar eclipse in Cody is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although there is a total solar eclipse about every 18 months somewhere on Earth, this is the last time this century when the path is carved through Wyoming.
Until next time, I’m making plans and loving life here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.