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Solar Eclipse on Tumbledown Mountain


Solar eclipse on the summit of Tumbledown Mountain.

This is a story about expectations, luck, and a 12 mile trek up a mountain to see a 99% full solar eclipse.


In the weeks leading up to the eclipse, I'd grown increasingly intrigued by the idea of traveling to view it in totality. But I hadn't considered trying to take the day off, because I'd assumed most of the teachers at my school had already put in for PTO months ago, since they are good planners and I am not. I had no plan and no planned PTO time for April 8th, 2024.


At least not until the week before the eclipse, when our good friends convinced me to take the day off so that we could watch it from the top of Tumbledown. Just below the path of totality, this mountain summit would be almost a full eclipse, without the crowds and traffic. Since every part of me wanted to do this, I went ahead and requested a personal day, with no expectations that it would be approved. As luck would have it, I got the day!


Finn had a school commitment on the 8th and couldn't join us, but Henry was on board...and I was beyond excited to be able to share this experience with him. Tim was all in until he learned the access road to Tumbledown would be closed, resulting in a 4 mile cross-country ski to the trailhead, followed by a long, snowy hike up a mountain - only to do it again in reverse. Since day-long outdoor adventures requiring loads of gear are not my husband's cup of tea, he offered to stay back and watch the dogs. Everyone seemed happy with this scenario, so we forged ahead with our plans.


With so many variables including the weather, potential traffic, amount of snow on the access road for skiing, stamina of our kids and timing of it all, we kept expectations low. In the end, it was a near perfect day.


I won't share too many details. It's impossible to try and describe such a surreal experience, but I will share some pictures and some aha moments from our trip.


Here are some shots of the snowy access road on the ski-in and some muddy sections on our return trip.



Tumbledown has a pond near the summit. It was covered in snow, but still breathtaking.



And the glasses, I honestly couldn't stop laughing.



In the moments leading up to the full eclipse, there was an indescribable energy around us. It was exhilarating and a bit eerie and the light was glowing in ways I'd never witnessed before. It was truly amazing that we were 100 percent sober and not tripping on mushrooms. Again, it's hard to explain. The changing light, the anticipation, the howling at the moon as it covered the sun...that last one bonded us with the other hikers at the summit.


Here is how quickly the light changed between the minutes of 3:25 to 3:30pm.


In the end, we had a day to remember and I learned the secret sauce to successful adventures: low expectations, hopeful attitudes, good friends, good luck and maybe, magic. Some trips include more of these ingredients than others and as I like to say about troublesome adventures and tough life days, "you can't win 'em all." But we had the secret sauce on the day of the solar eclipse and things just...worked out.


If you didn't get a chance to see the eclipse in totality, there is no way of describing the experience in words. You'll just have to head to Iceland in 2026 to see the next one. Put in for that PTO time now and plan to be spellbound.


Two teenage boys on the top of Tumbledown Mountain.

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