Thoughts on the Eclipse

I had the eclipse on my calendar for close to a year. My original plan was to travel to southern Virginia so we would be close and able to drive to a place for totality. Unfortunately, my vacation hours got used up in various ways – mostly due to my injuries and feeling bad with asthma. Instead I decided we’d find a place in Shenandoah National Park to view it. I honestly thought that being that little bit more west and south would make a difference (I don’t think it did but whatever).


The view from Bearfence Mountain


I chose Bearfence Mountain for our hike. My daughter doesn’t enjoy long hikes anymore and she really enjoys the rock climbing involved in this one so it made sense.  I thought perhaps ours would be a unique decision but alas it was not. We got there pretty early and found a good spot to stretch out and relax. I don’t know if the eclipse was the cause but my poor son had a terrible headache. I saw other friends post that they, too, also experienced a headache during the couple of hours before/after the eclipse. I suppose it is possible. He felt pretty bad and I felt bad that he was miserable. Once the moon started its path in front of the sun that helped him perk up a bit. Note: When sitting on top of a mountain in the bright sun – take sunscreen. I know, this seems logical but some of us forget. Oops.  At least we had glasses. After all of the warnings out there, I still saw people just looking at the sun through their sunglasses. They pointed their cameras directly at the sun as well. I was a bit surprised at that.


The Crowd


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I went back and forth in my decision on whether or not I wanted to take photos. I don’t have a strong telephoto lens and by the time I really thought about it, I didn’t feel like fighting to find a solar filter. So I decided to take photos during and see if anything interesting happened. I had expected it to get a bit darker than it did. We had almost 80% coverage but it really didn’t did dark. The clouds that moved in did darken the area but what did change was the light. My photos from the time when we were at 80% are weird.  I should have copied them over to post but they are just terrible. I attempted to edit one of them and really couldn’t. That’s how I know it did affect the light whether we could see it or not. Dull is not the right word. Lacking life? The lack of darkness disappointed my daughter. She was all set to have it get dark but felt like she missed out on something. I guess in 7 years we’ll go to Totality and really experience that.





After we watched 80% for a bit we started our hike back down to the car. If everyone tried to get down off of the mountain at the same time it would have taken much longer. As we drove out of the park it was clear our choice was still a good one. Big Meadows was packed. When we first drove past it there were a lot of cars but they had multiplied tremendously by the time we left. I read reports of other mountain top hikes where there were only a handful of people. I guess I should have looked for better options.

Overall, I’m super happy we experienced it. I’m glad I took time off of work and spent it with my kids. Although we could have seen the same thing from home, I think we had less clouds up on the mountain.  Here’s to Eclipse 2024!


About Jennifer G

Nature lover. Being outside keeps me sane and balanced.

Posted on August 23, 2017, in Shenandoah National Park and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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