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Chasing the Solar Eclipse

Speeding down a dirt road to chase the solar eclipse

Last Sunday as the annular solar eclipse was making its way down the West Coast, I was surfing in Northern Baja, glancing up at a gloomy sky and wondering if we would get to see it at all.

The eclipse was supposed to peak around 6:38 that evening, so at 6:15 we loaded into our truck and sped down a dirt road away from the coastal fog.

I gotta hand it to my friend Austin — he was pumped and pumping the gas over Mexico-style potholes and bumps on a road none of us had ever been on before.

We were trying to drive as far inland as we could before the sun went down, toward the mountains where we saw a break in the clouds.

Driving toward the mountains where we saw a break in the clouds

The marine layer was thick and gray, and we could barely make out the sun behind the unrelenting cloud cover.

The solar eclipse about to peak out from the clouds

With the truck charging down the desolate farm road, all of us kept our eyes out the windows for any glimpse of the eclipse. The clouds were starting to dissipate and the sky was getting lighter. There was a small window amidst all the gray and I could almost see the sun peeking out.

The sun peeking out from behind the clouds

And then — another hundred yards inland, a perfect crescent appeared in the sky. “Eclipse!” we all shrieked, and the truck screeched to a stop.

The annular solar eclipse seen from Northern Baja

The clouds turned out to be a blessing, because it dimmed the light enough for us to look at the eclipse without special glasses or projections. It looked like a moonrise at dusk.

The annular solar eclipse seen from Northern Baja

The annular solar eclipse seen from Northern Baja

I can’t remember the last time I saw a solar eclipse… but being there in the Wild West of Baja, standing in the middle of a barren expanse of earth, witnessing a rare phenomenon with my friends after paddling in the ocean just hours before… it all seemed so surreal and alive. I could literally feel all the energy lining up that day and connecting me to the cosmos. And as I try to describe it, it’s almost indescribable.

I could never forget that electric feeling.

Shooting pictures of the solar eclipse

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »