2017 Eclipse Meetup, Rexburg, Idaho

Join us for possibly the best eclipse viewing location in the US! Watch the moon's shadow race eastward from an extinct volcano!

Monday, August 21, 2017 08:00 am MDT - Monday, August 21, 2017 03:00 pm MDT Local time zone:
Menan Butte, Rexburg, ID (43.786419,-111.973471)
Similar projects worth following

Eclipse 2017 is coming, and this may well be the best place in the United States to watch it from! We'll be in the caldera of an extinct (hopefully) volcano called Menan Butte, just west of Rexburg, Idaho. The path of totality literally runs right over the top of North Menan Butte!! You can't get a better seat for this once in a lifetime event.

But wait -- there's more.  Menan Butte is about 500' above the Snake River Plain, a vast flat plain that stretches off to forever both east and west. From our vantage point we'll be able to watch the Moon's shadow racing eastward across the plain at 1700 miles an hour!! Totality will last for about two minutes, after which we'll be able to turn around and watch the shadow race away towards Wyoming. DO NOT MISS THIS SIGHT!!

Eastern Idaho will offer some of the highest probability of optimal viewing conditions. The Snake River plain is arid and the air is clear and crisp at 4500' above sea level. August is still the dry season in Idaho and we'll have a great chance to have spectacular conditions.

If you're anywhere within a day's drive of Menan Butte, you owe it to yourself to come see the Eclipse from this prime location. I'll be camping on private land west of South Menan Butte -- details to follow on that and exactly where our meetup will be.

  • Achievement Unlocked: Total Eclipse Watched

    Dan Maloney08/23/2017 at 19:40 0 comments

    Unbelievable! There aren't enough superlatives to fully explain what we witnessed on Monday. A quick recap, since I had no service at all over the weekend:

    Our hosts really rolled out the red carpet for us, and I'll never be able to express my thanks for their hospitality. The Gundersons really came through for thousands of people and made this a life experience. So many kids, mine included, will look back on this as a peak moment of their life. I mean, how do you top watching an eclipse from a volcano?

    The weather was crystal perfect, and we could see at least 20 miles in every direction. A range fire that cropped up on Sunday just west of the north butte was quickly extinguished, thankfully, so we had none of the forest fire haze I feared would block our view. There wasn't a cloud in the sky either. Weather conditions were optimal.

    And people conditions were great too. Our little viewing perch on the north rim of the south crater had perhaps a dozen and a half people, some who traveled halfway around the world to be at that spot. The power of making this a shared experience cannot be overstated: do not watch an eclipse alone, of with a small group. Get somewhere with other people so you can feed off each others' excitement. It immeasurable heightened the experience for us.

    Totality was somehow simultaneously everything I heard it would be and nothing at all like I thought it would be. The colors were what threw me for a loop -- silver, black, and deep rich blue all playing together for two and a half magical minutes. Words fail, cameras fail, but what I saw is seared in my memory forever. I hope it was the same for my kids and for everyone up there on the butte.

    And thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi at the HEMMCC. Chris was our constant and welcome companion on this experience, and we also got to meet Mark as well as Mike and Beatrice from Denver. It was good to put faces to names and hang out a bit.

  • T-minus Seven Days and Counting

    Dan Maloney08/14/2017 at 21:21 0 comments

    The HEMMCC shakedown cruise was a smashing success! With a few minor adjustments and a quick brake job on the tow vehicle, all systems are go!

    There's another newsletter from Crater Adventures with some crucial last-minute info that you'll want to read. We're up to 15 different countries as well a people from 33 states that will be in the crater one week from today. They suggest bringing a flag from your state or country; we'll be flying the Idaho flag in addition to Old Glory, not to mention the Jolly Wrencher.

    It's with much relief that I can report that at least here in Northern Idaho, the smoke and haze from the BC and Washington forest fires has at last blown out of the area. We've been steadily in the upper 80s to upper 90s and beyond for the last eight weeks or so, which was beautiful right up until the smoke came in about two weeks back. Seeing conditions would have been challenging here, and a report from a friend passing through Rexburg last week indicated the same issue there, but all that appears to have changed! We have bright crystal blue skies here and the temps are in the 70s. Rexburg seems to be similar now, and the Weather Underground forecast looks extremely favorable for next Monday. Fingers crossed.

    Our plan is to arrive at the campground in time for the dinner on Saturday night. Feel free to stop by the HEMMCC any time and say hi. We're probably going to find something fun to do in the area on Sunday, perhaps a trip to St. Anthony's Dunes, because sand dunes, or maybe we'll try to find a hot spring to soak in. We're still planning a Sunday pot-luck dinner at the campsite, too.

    Monday will be an early start to stake out a spot on South Menan Butte. I'm shooting for the north rim, here-ish if possible -- it may be private property there that's not part of the Crater Adventures access. We'll be there until there's nothing left to see. AFAIK there will be PortaPotties set up in the parking lot inside the crater itself, if that becomes an issue.

    Suggestions: hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE OR DIE!! Do not underestimate how arid Eastern Idaho is. Dewpoints are in the 40s in Rexburg right now, and while it's not Arizona, it's still a desert. Passing out for lack of hydration is an easy way to ruin the eclipse for you and those around you. Drink as much water as you can in the days leading up to the eclipse to build a baseline hydration state, and keep drinking all day. Don't worry about peeing -- you'll probably sweat it all away without even noticing it. 

    Personally, I'd plan to some ready to hike. You can pay to get a ride up to the top, but if you're in shape, the walk will be great. Just remember that the top of the butte is almost exactly a mile above sea level, and if you're not used to higher altitudes, the thinner air will kick your butt. Take it easy, and don't become a causality that someone else will have to deal with.

    Plan ahead for traffic. The newsletter mentioned above has information on that. Best bet -- be there at least a day before the eclipse, and plan to stay put until well after it's over. Eastern Idaho roads were not built to handle as much traffic as they'll see next week, so it's best to avoid the issue insofar as you can.

  • Eleven days and counting...

    Dan Maloney08/11/2017 at 01:26 0 comments

    Everything is shaping up nicely. Just 11 days to go. The Hackaday Eclipse Meetup Mobile Command Center (HEMMCC) is coming along. We're taking it for a shakedown camp-out this weekend, and I'm doing an upgrade to the front brakes of our tow vehicle.

    I ordered a large Hackaday banner for the camp site, so it should be easy to find us -- just look for the giant Jolly Wrencher! I'm also working on a sun-moon-eclipse themed play list for our Sunday night get together. I think we'll call it a pot luck dinner since we can't carry in too much food. But we'll at least try to have some hot dogs for the grille, so don't be shy about coming.

    For those of you worried about weather, all I can say is so far, looking good. While here in North Idaho we haven't seen the sun for a few days because of smoke from the forest fires in BC, Montana, and Washington, down in Rexburg the weather looks good. There are no air quality warnings for the Rexburg area like there are here, so barring an incident we should be good. Weather Underground's extended forecast is almost to Eclipse Day, but going into the weekend looks like highs in the 80s and clear. Nighttime lows are getting down into the 40s, so make sure your ready for a chilly night.

    That's it for now. I'll post pictures of the HEMMCCC when I get the banner. Oh, and I'll have 20 pairs of Hackaday eclipse meetup glasses, proudly emblazoned with the Jolly Wrencher! Come and get 'em!

  • Thirteen Countries, a Picnic Dinner, and a Mobile Command Post

    Dan Maloney07/27/2017 at 21:28 0 comments

    Just got a newsletter from the fellow who's hosting our camping adventure and it sounds like this is shaping up to be a huge deal. He's got people coming from 13 different countries and 21 states -- even people from states close to other parts of the path of totality are flocking to Idaho! Sounds like it's going to be a great time. He's even hosting a Saturday night dinner, picnic style. Details in the newsletter.

    As for the Hackaday Meetup, we've switched from rough camping to "glamping" -- we bought a 23' travel trailer. Not really just for the occasion, since we'd been planning on doing it anyway. But this seemed like a great excuse to get into the North Idaho lifestyle. The trailer, henceforth referred to as the Hackaday Eclipse Meetup Mobile Command Center (HEMMCC), will be somewhere in the "A" lot west of South Menan Butte. Detailed location to follow, but just look for the big Jolly Wrencher banner.

    And depending on interest, we might host a Sunday evening Hackaday get-together at the HMCCMC. We'll bust out the grill and cook up something good. Details to follow.

  • Watch those peepers!

    Dan Maloney07/23/2017 at 19:11 0 comments

    Got you eclipse glasses yet? If so, you might want to check them:

    NASA Warns Of Unsafe Eclipse Glasses: How To Tell You Have Bought One That Meets Viewing Standards

    We bought these glasses from Amazon and they appear to be up to snuff. And so stylish.

  • Quick update on accommodations

    Dan Maloney07/22/2017 at 15:52 0 comments

    There are exactly zero hotels at Menan Buttes, and the nearest hotels in Rexburg have been booked solid for months. We actually had to book rooms in Twin Falls, about a 3-hour drive away. But the thought of getting up at oh-dark-thirty to drive up to the butte didn't sound awesome, nor did getting stuck in traffic and having to watch the eclipse from the side of some road.

    So we decided to book a camping space on private land near South Menan Butte and try our hand at car camping. A couple of enterprising private land owners that together own and farm on the butte are renting out overnight camping and day parking spaces for the eclipse. Check them out at Crater Adventures

    Please note: I have no affiliation with Crater Adventures, and I'm not endorsing them or their operation in any way. It's just what I chose to do to see the eclipse and have a place to stay. I have exchanged a couple of emails with the proprietor and he seems like a solid guy doing his best to make a few bucks and have this be a comfortable, safe, family friendly event. But anything can happen -- it's not like he or anyone else has a lot of experience with hosting thousands of people for a celestial event. If you have any doubts, hit his website and maybe shoot him an email. You may also want to check the BLM website for North Menan Butte for hiking and camping information. (That's "Bureau of Land Management" for those confused by the shared initialism and current events.)

  • View from the Top

    Dan Maloney07/22/2017 at 15:34 0 comments

    Wonder what it looks like from the top of an extinct volcano? Wonder no more:

    How are you going to beat those views?

View all 7 event logs

Enjoy this event?



Interested in attending?

Become a member to follow this event or host your own