Saturday, July 29, 2017

Experiencing the Solar Eclipse from atop Max Patch

In case you're one of the very few that hasn't gotten the memo, let me enlighten you: There's a much anticipated, "once in a lifetime" total eclipse of the sun on its way to dazzle those of us lucky enough to be in its path.

Ready or not, it's almost here. August 21, 2017. Save the date, because you don't want to miss it. No matter where you will be in the United States that day, you will see an eclipse, a path of a total eclipse from coast to coast in the midst of ever decreasing partial views.

I've ordered my eclipse glasses and they've arrived and are sitting by the back door, waiting for the day. I've arranged for this year's edition of Granny Camp to coincide with that day. After all, isn't the bonding over a stellar event what grannies are for?

Sad news. Our house is not in the direct path of the total eclipse, according to the eclipse locator I found. We're in the 96.7% range. In order to experience the total 100% at the nearest point, we'll have to drive seventy-five miles southwest into South Carolina.

About an hour and a half distance from my home, yet still in North Carolina, is a better opportunity, even though it is 26 miles away from the nearest total eclipse view. Registering at 99.1% blockage, it's one of my favorite spots on earth, Max Patch.

That's me on top of the world.
Maybe a perfect place to witness a solar eclipse.
Max Patch is a bald, one of several in the western North Carolina mountains. It's a rounded, treeless mountaintop, almost eye level with a few of those mountains in the background. Hike the Appalachian Trail and you'll be there. Or do what I do, drive up and up and up on dirt and gravel roads.

Imagine watching the intersection of the sun and the moon from this spot.

Max Patch was a part of one of my latest books, Back in the Time, a nonfiction about medicine, education and life in general in the nearby communities back in the thirties, forties and fifties. It was the scene of summertime fun for the locals, picnics, ballgames, circuses, even a landing strip for early bi-planes, also the summer pastures for sheep and cattle. The afternoon I took these photographs, it was also the scene of a marriage proposal. I only saw the staging by the friends of the hopeful groom.

I wonder if she said yes.
Max Patch on August 21 will offer a panoramic view of this heavenly event unmatched by any, I'm sure. I'm still in the deciding stage, thinking if I should go there or somewhere else. My issue with this spot, I can only imagine the hordes of equally delighted people that will walk the path to the top. Will there be room for my gang of five? On the mountain, I'm sure. For my car in the parking lot, the teensy, tiny, six or seven space parking lot? No.

So my search for the perfect spot to experience the eclipse goes on.

Enter your zip code here and you will see the percentage the moon will block the sun in your area. And then start looking for the perfect spot.

Catch of the day,


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