Journey into Darkness: local resident witnesses solar eclipse totality

Published 8:01 am Sunday, April 14, 2024

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In an expedition marked by anticipation, Ben Myers, a local realtor in Washington, North Carolina, embarked on a road trip to Ohio with his mother, Carol Myers, to witness a marvel of the cosmos—the solar eclipse in totality. Their destination, Headlands Beach State Park at Lake Erie, offered a front-row seat to one of nature’s most remarkable displays.

The motivation for their journey was rooted in a previous eclipse experience at Lake Marion in South Carolina in 2017, which left Ben captivated by the phenomenon.

“After seeing the eclipse in 2017, I was hooked,” recounted Ben. “We immediately looked up when the next one was and agreed we’d be in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse.”

Selecting Headlands Beach State Park as their vantage point was strategic. Inspired by the remarkable 360-degree sunset experienced during totality in 2017, Ben sought a similar backdrop against a large body of water, with Lake Erie fitting the bill perfectly. The park’s capacity for large crowds and ample parking solidified its choice as their eclipse-watching venue.

Preparation for the trip was meticulous. Understanding the significance of location for optimal viewing, Ben planned accommodations with flexibility in mind, staying an hour south of Lake Erie to adapt to potential weather changes. Essential to their experience were eclipse glasses and an eclipse timer app, ensuring they didn’t miss a moment of the astronomical event.

Despite concerns about traffic and the potential for “eclipse inflation” affecting the cost of accommodations and services, the Myers faced no significant challenges or price hikes.

“I was expecting heavy traffic however, we did not really encounter much until after the eclipse when leaving the park,” shared Ben.

The eclipse itself was nothing short of spectacular, fulfilling and exceeding Ben’s expectations. The moment of totality, accompanied by the diamond ring effect and the ensuing 360-degree sunset, was shared in awe between mother and son.

“Witnessing solar eclipse totality is awe-inspiring,” explained Ben. “The realization of the physics at play puts into perspective the magnitude of what’s going on in our solar system. It’s awesome in every sense of the word.”

The atmosphere at Headlands Beach State Park was electric, with the crowd’s excitement palpable as totality approached. The shared experience of witnessing the eclipse fostered a sense of community and wonder among the viewers, further enriched by the eruption of cheers and fireworks shortly after the moment of totality.

Reflecting on the journey, Ben emphasized the value of the experience, particularly the joy of sharing it with his mother. The successful execution of their plan and the unforgettable spectacle they witnessed reinforced their resolve to chase future eclipses, possibly venturing overseas for their next celestial adventure.

“The eclipse greatly exceeded my expectations,” said Ben. “I was not sure if seeing one a second time would be as impactful, and it absolutely was.”

For Ben and Carol, the road trip to Ohio was not just about seeing the eclipse; it was a testament to the enduring allure of celestial phenomena and the bonds forged in their pursuit.