Science, Tech & Environment

You’re hiking, biking and kayaking your way to the Great American Eclipse

We asked for your eclipse plans, and you delivered. The eclipse is a destination for some, the fulfillment of a childhood dream for others and a memorial for lost loved ones.

We asked you to send us your plans for the eclipse, and you delivered! You wrote and called in to tell us that you’re traveling from Alaska to Illinois, hiking mountains in Idaho and paddling kayaks in South Carolina to catch the Great American Eclipse.

Here are your stories:

Jason Rekulak from Philadelphia is camping with his family at a goat farm in McMinnville, Oregon.

He realized last minute that an already-planned family vacation to the West Coast would bring him within a few hours of the eclipse’s path of totality and rushed to book a place to stay.

"I thought we were going to be staying at a Holiday Inn and probably watching from a parking lot,” Rekulak said. “But instead we're going to be on a 500-acre goat farm.”

The operators of McPhillips farm, where he and his family will be staying, assured him that the event would be family-friendly and inclusive. The guests will include drag queens, senior citizens and the farm’s friendliest goats.

"I don't know if the goats will actually watch the eclipse themselves or if they'll have glasses, or how they'll react when the Earth goes dark. It will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” Rekulak said.

More eclipse coverage:

Listener Mary Langenbrunner wrote in to say she’s thinking of serving tequila sunrise cocktails and moon pies to her neighbors. (Get it? Eclipse-themed snacks!) Addy Hale from Clemson, South Carolina, will be hosting friends at her house, which is smack-dab in the path of totality.

"We have a big field, so we're inviting all of our friends and we're throwing an eclipse party. We'll be cooking out and enjoying everybody's company. And I think everybody is really excited to be in the path of totality right in our backyard!” Hale said.

Eclipse journeys

Listeners who don’t live so close to the eclipse’s path are getting themselves there in interesting ways.

Paul Darbo is taking his annual motorcycle trip with his son up the West Coast to watch the eclipse in Salem, Oregon.

“I’m very excited, this is going to be an extremely exciting day for my son and I,” Darbo said.

A husband and wife from North Carolina are kayaking Lake Monticello in South Carolina during the eclipse.

The World listener who wrote in with the farthest journey is Christine Fik, who’s bringing her infant son to Carbondale, Illinois, for the eclipse.

“I am so excited to be able to share this with my son!” she wrote “Pretty cool first birthday road trip!”

A listener-submitted eclipse song

Listener John Garvey, who is traveling to Nashville to watch the eclipse, sent us this eclipse song.

An eclipse memorial

The eclipse-watching trip that Damir Pevec is organizing to the Grand Teton mountain range will be more somber than most. Her daughter, Aleksija Pevec Kays, who was battling breast cancer when she learned about the eclipse, hoped to watch it herself with friends and family.

“In April she heard about the total eclipse and was ecstatic about it,” Pevec wrote. “She asked me if I can get some friends and family to experience it all together.”

Kays picked out a location outside of Jackson Hill, Wyoming, to watch the eclipse. But in July, she died of breast cancer.

Shortly after she passed away, Pevec and more than a dozen other friends and family members decided to pursue the trip anyway, as a memorial to her.

“So … we are departing Santa Barbara and Los Angeles for the Grand Tetons to view this incredible phenomena in her honor and in her memory,” Pevec wrote in an email to The World.

A lifelong dream fulfilled

For listener Kathy Shrout of Preston, Kentucky, this Monday marks the end of 51 years of anticipation.

“I have waited since I was 10 years old…to see this eclipse,” Shrout said.

When Shrout was a schoolgirl, a teacher gave her a Little Golden Book about the solar system that listed the dates for future eclipses.

“I knew I’d never go very far from Kentucky, and I happened to see one way off in 2017 that would hit the edge of Kentucky and Tennessee. And I thought to myself, 'Well I’ll never live that long!' ” Shrout said.

But she never forgot the date. At the time, Shrout was obsessed with outer space and desperately wanted to be an astronaut.

“It stuck in my head, all these years, it stuck in my head. I think I’m just so enamored about that I can’t stop thinking about it once I found out,” she said.

Shrout is taking her family to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to camp out Sunday night and watch the eclipse together Monday. She says she’s driving her family crazy with her anticipation.

“It's an exciting thing for me, and I can't stop talking about it,” Shrout said.

Photos from eclipse chaser Terry Cuttle

The sky is dark blue there is an eclipse in the right side of the image, on top of a three-level pagoda-style building.

This is an eclipse over the Great Wall of China in 2008.


Courtesy Terry Cuttle

A close-up image of a total solar eclipse is mostly black with just a hint of light peeking around the sun with a bright burst of white light at the top

Terry Cuttle took this photo of a 2005 eclipse over the South Pacific Ocean.


Courtesy Terry Cuttle

Terry Cutler wears a blue shirt and khaki shorts and on a sandy beach with a bunch of photography equipment for taking pictures of eclipses.

Terry Cuttle is shown with his photography gear set up on the atoll of Anaa in French Polynesia in 2010.


Courtesy Terry Cuttle

A crowd of people are gathered to watch a total solar eclipse surrounded by tall palm trees. In the center, the total eclipse hangs over the ocean. The moon is a black dot surrounded by a white glowing light and the sky is a deep blue.

This is an eclipse in Queensland, Australia, in 2012.


Courtesy Terry and Leila Cuttle

Send us your eclipse photos

Share your photos and stories to Instagram or Twitter and tag @pritheworld and @PRI and we’ll re-post them below.

In Science, Tech & Environment.

Tagged: citizen science astronomy astrophyics solar eclipse NASA.