Witnessing a full totality solar eclipse = a dream 25 years in the making

When I was 11 years old, just a wee laddie living in Scotland, there was a full solar eclipse at the bottom of the United Kingdom. Being that I was 11 years old I had never really heard of a solar eclipse so I didn’t think much of it. The day of I was in the car with my Dad and siblings and we were driving up to the very North of Scotland to stay at my Grandparents caravan.

My Dad obviously knew about the eclipse and pulled us over into a layby when it was happening and had glasses for us and we got to see a partial eclipse. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I vowed then that I would see a full eclipse at some point in my life.

In August of 2017 there was another eclipse near me and the path of totality was just below Portland, Oregon so about a 4-5 hour car ride from our house in Seattle. I made plans to go, I took the day off work and then when the day came I read online about all the chaotic travel happening and I chickened out. I was going to be going by myself and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere. So again I saw a partial eclipse.

18 months ago I started looking into the path of totality for the next eclipse. I looked up a bunch of campgrounds in Texas and they were all sold out. So in my frustration I found a middle of nowhere spot in Missouri and hit “find campgrounds near here” and booked the first one I found.

Which lead to Tim and I being at Black River Hideaway Campground on April 8, 2024 to get to see a full solar eclipse. The campground actually turned out to be great and the staff were wonderful and friendly. The weather turned out PERFECT. In the days leading up to it clouds were forecast and I was miserable thinking I was going to miss it. But there was not a cloud to be seen day of, while Texas was mostly clouded in.

The entire campground sat outside their campers and when the moment of totality hit, everyone cheered. It was a neat communal event. We got full totality for over four minutes. I was going to just sit and enjoy it since I had my camera on a tripod with a timer going. But at the last minute I thought, since my Dad was the one who sparked this interest, I should call him. So I grabbed my phone and FaceTime’d him and we got to witness it together which was a nice full circle moment.

If you ever have the chance to see a full solar eclipse I highly recommend it. Just seeing the way the light changes and it going dark in the middle of the day was something I’ll never forget.

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