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Eclipse watchers pack summit of Pikes Peak

Viewers say crowds, traffic not as bad as expected

Eclipse watchers pack summit of Pikes...

PIKES PEAK, Colo. - America's Mountain more than lived up to its title Monday as people from across the country and the world covered the summit of Pikes Peak for the total eclipse.

Mya Dao, of New York City, was one of the visitors.

"This is my first time up here," she said.  "You have open spaces here.  New York City is all buildings.  Here, you can see everything.  No light pollution.  This experience is amazing.  Out of this world."

Geoff and Banba Lipton of Colorado Springs were the first to arrive atop the 14,115-foot summit.

"There was a line at the gate when it opened, but not a long one," Banba Lipton said.  "And the drive up wasn't congested at all.

"I didn't want to drive anywhere far," her husband said.  "I like that I can see it up close here in my own backyard."

The last total eclipse above the Peak was in late July of 1878.

Hundreds of people filled the parking lot and came with glasses, telescopes and chairs.

"My friend and I didn't have glasses but we came anyway," said Lori Klingler of Wisconsin.  "We found some people who had extras.  Otherwise, we wouldn't have seen it.  The clouds stayed away, so that was good."

The area was in the 90 percent totality of darkness range and people said the sky was noticeably different.

"My dog didn't like it," said Steve, of California, holding his dog on a leash.  "He was depressed and acting weird.  I've heard than an eclipse affects animals and I saw it happen today."

Danielle Baki of Colorado Springs allowed her two children to skip school for the day.

"Something like this rarely happens," she said.  "And it's not often something an entire family can enjoy together.  Who knows we'll ever see it again?"

The eclipse wasn't just about science.  It brought people together.

"It leaves me with memories of how things happen," he said.  "Around the time of the eclipse, my son got married.  Then we saw a marriage proposal here today.  We made new friends."

Earl's wife, Wendy, had a simpler reaction.

"For me, just being here with him is the memory I'll always cherish," she said.

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