This week we packed up our mini van and became one of “those people” to drive hours to be in the center line of totality to view the eclipse. Sunday morning we carpooled with our friends from church who have two boys to a campsite in MO.
This was our first time camping together as a family. My cousin and his family who live nearby the campsite came and visited with us which made our weekend! We hadn’t seen them since my wedding 7 years ago and we had a blast catching up!
The next morning we packed every thing up and headed to a spot on the map that my husband had been looking at and thought would be a good viewing spot. After some dirt road driving we got to the spot on the map and it was actually a really pretty park on a lake. Other people there told us that they had found the spot because it was on a list of the 500 best places in the country to view the eclipse. I was very impressed that T had just found it by looking at a map and deciding it looked like a good spot!
We picnicked and entertained ourselves by talking to other people who were there and asking to see their telescopes and viewing boxes that they had brought. Every one was really friendly. We were offered glasses by multiple people and it did my heart good to see how giving and friendly people were. In front of us was a 13 year old boy named Tyler from Chicago who was going to be homeschooling this year. He was interested in astronomy and I’d say he was well on his way to becoming an astronomer! He made our time educational and fun and kept everyone informed about the time and what was happening and what we should be looking for when.
There was a group of tie dye wearing hippies probably in their 70’s who had brought sunflowers to make crowns with. They made E a crown and made her a little flower child. Isn’t she beautiful!?
In these photos below you can see the phenomenon where the shadows from the tree we were under became crescent moon shaped. Tyler was explaining to us what it would look like before it happened but it was hard to believe until we actually saw it! Neat huh!?
E handled the glasses great and showed more interest and understanding in the event than I thought she would.
Somewhere around 80-90 percent totality strange events began to occur but I won’t try to explain them LOL-
You could feel the excitement and energy of everyone around us as the sky began to darken and the bugs grew quiet. “Bailey’s beads!” shouted Tyler and we saw them. Next, “Diamond Ring! Diamond Ring!” It was breathtaking. “Glasses off!” people shouted followed by the groups excited whoops and hollers. We experienced somewhere around 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality. People sat transfixed, and later T and I discuss what it felt like to loose all self consciousness as we experienced the moment. “Glasses on!” and then just as fast as it got dark it got light again and we sat there blinking commenting on how strange the light looked.
T and I decided we better get on the road and try and beat some of the traffic instead of waiting for another couple hours to view C4. Our kids were pretty tired at that point as well. Thinking we could beat the traffic was a laughable idea- it was just as bad as was predicted. It took around 3-4 hours longer to get home than it took to get up there the day before. It was so worth it though. It’s something we got to experience as a family with friends that we’ll be talking about for years.
Here’s some photos we took on the way home while on highway 7. People who live back in CT (where I am from) often comment that they imagine Arkansas as flat and dry and they are so wrong! Aren’t the Ozark’s breathtaking? My photos can’t do this view justice…
While at this look out point we meet some people who told us about the eclipse coming up on April 8, 2024. The center of totality is supposed to be in Hot Springs AR! Looking forward to it!