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Eclipse!

A rare annular solar eclipse that is visible from home, on a weekend and beautiful weather? This was an event not to be missed. Several of my friends and I packed up some gear and rode to the top of Borel Hill to witness it with a great view of the Pacific.

This was a special event, so I swapped out my Camelbak for standard backpack stuffed with picnic gear and my eclipse viewing equipment. I jammed all of this into the backpack only to discover that it weighed a ton. This was all essential gear, so I just had to haul it all the way up Alpine Road and then to the top of Borel Hill in Russian Ridge. I certainly didn't set any speed records on the way up, but I made it with a bit of energy to spare.

At the top, I unloaded the gear. As this was a picnic, I had brought all of the essentials: a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, two plastic cups, two containers of homemade brownies and a ground cloth.  Once everything was ready, I laid down to enjoy the sunshine and savor the moment.  This is something that never seems to happen on my rides, but I really enjoyed it.  In a few moments, several of my friends showed up and other eclipse watchers seem to come from everywhere.

After sharing some food and drink it, it was time to get cracking on eclipse viewing. Some people wanted to use the "four stacked sets of sunglasses" approach to viewing, but I valued my eyesight too much for this and instead used my pinhole projector to view the eclipse. This elaborate piece of scientific gear was carefully constructed from two pieces of cardboard from a cereal box with a hole very precisely created with a nail in one of them. I, and everyone else, was surprised how well this worked. In fact, it worked so well that I "very precisely" made some more holes with the corkscrew to get multiple images. With one person holding the "lens" and the other holding the "film" (to get better spacing), we were able to get very good images.

We watched through the start, the fullest coverage and a bit more before heading down the mountain due to a few people getting cold from the breeze blowing on their wet clothing. We headed down Cloud's Rest to Alpine Road for a fast return back to our starting point before regrouping for dinner.

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