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Posted by Sam Kearney on

How do you convey a life changing experience in a blog post? How on earth can you retell every detail? What you saw, how it made you feel, the lingering effects of the single greatest natural phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

We joined a few hundred people at the top of Wayah Bald near Franklin, NC, and set up our spot near a couple of App State students, a hiking couple with their dog, and some hippies from New Jersey (they exist!). The clouds obstructed the view of the sun for hours; you could feel the tension building. The sporadic fluffy white puffs quickly congregated into large, looming, densely grey shields.

First contact had been made, and we couldn’t see a thing. But after a few minutes, and a few collective prayers, all of a sudden the sky started to open up (it is a known fact that Mother Nature LOVES drama). Looking through our solar glasses, the edges of the clouds gave the amber crescent sun a distinct Halloween-y feel. It was beautiful.

The clouds continued to taunt the crowd, but we had faith, and sure enough by the time totality hit, we had nothing but clear, deep neon indigo skies. It was really, truly, literally awesome. Shadows grew crisp, the air was cooler, there was a sunset on every inch of that horizon, brilliant oranges and golds raced around the mountain tops.

To talk about the eclipse, to post a transitional image (taken and edited by my very talented partner), it’s so much more than what happened in the sky. It was a celebration! There were pan flutes and steel tone drums (courtesy of the Jersey Hippies), there were cheers, elated cries, hugs, and a crescendo of cricket songs. Two minutes felt like twenty.

After the headliner left the stage, people began to pack up and leave. The truly dedicated umbraphiles stayed and watched the moon gracefully fade away from the sun's path. You could hear celebrations echoing from different mountaintops in the distance, as they got to experience totality moments later.

Having taken it all in, we left the bald sweaty, dirty, tired, and forever changed.

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