The Great Solar Eclipse of August 2017
What does a solar eclipse have to do with trails, trail riding, and camping with livestock, you ask? Whatever you want it to, I say! I think experiencing a total eclipse would be a pretty unique event anywhere. Add a great horse ride or camping trip and the memories become even better!
What is a Solar Eclipse?
During an eclipse the Earth, Moon and Sun line up. Kind of like a cosmic billiard shot. Due to this wonderful celestial coincidence. The Moon, directly between the Sun and Earth, casts a shadow about 70 miles wide, on the earth. If you’re in that shadow (called the umbra), you’ll see a total eclipse.
This doesn’t happen very often. The last total eclipse in the U.S. was in 1979 and the weather was lousy so most people couldn’t see it. This year on August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible from sea to shining sea. Barring clouds, more Americans should be able to see this one than ever before as it passes across the continent.
The eclipse will start on the west coast in Oregon and trace a 67-mile wide path east across the country, finally exiting the U.S from South Carolina. At any given location, the total eclipse will last for only about 2 or 3 minutes.
Where to Watch the Eclipse?
Anyone within the path of totality can see this total solar eclipse. Observers outside the path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. My feeling on it is “go total or go home”. If you’re going to take the time and effort to view this event you might as well go all the way and ensure that you’re in an area where you’ll experience the full effect.
Here’s a list of 51 equine friendly areas in 10 different states where you’ll be able to see one of the most spectacular things you will ever see in your life.
The light show begins on the beach between Lincoln City and Newport at 10:15am. Some of the best areas to watch the eclipse in the Beaver State include these six areas:
Willamette Mission State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/willamette-mission-state-park/ ) – With a well-equipped horse camp and camp sites that you can reserve this may be a good place to be. If the weather cooperates.
Molalla River Rec Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/molalla-river-recreation-area/ ) – Primarily a day use area, the Hardy Creek Trailhead givesexcellent access to over 25 miles of interconnected trails that loop and meander above the Molalla River.
Silver Falls State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/howard-creek-horse-camp-silver-falls-state-park/ ) The “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system boasts the Howard Creek Horse Camp. Reservations are highly recommended!
Triangle Lake Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/triangle-lake-horse-camp/ ) – Tucked inside the Mount Hood National Forest the Triangle Lake camp offers 8 first come first serve camp sites.
Cyrus Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/cyrus-horse-camp/ ) – Nestled in the Crooked River National Grasslands recreational area. The camp offers lots of room to park, and view the skies, and 7 camp sites as well as easy riding. Unfortunately, reservations are not accepted so get here early.
Allen Creek Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/allen-creek-horse-camp/ ) – Another first come first served horse camp, Allen Creek offers 5 camp sites and lots of cross country riding.
The path of the eclipse across the Gem State will take it over 5 popular equine areas where you and your furry friends can experience the weird wonder of totality. Depending on your surroundings, as totality nears you may experience strange things. You’ll notice a resemblance to the onset of night, though not exactly. Shadows will look different. Most breezes will dissipate and birds will stop chirping. A 10°–15° F drop in temperature is not unusual.
Wilson Corral (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/wilson-corral/ ) – The Boise National Forest’s Wilson Corral makes a great starting point for rides within the zone of totality.
Bull Trout Lake (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/bull-trout-lake-horse-camp/ ) – Make your reservations now for this well-appointed horse camp north of Boise.
Wapiti Creek Trail (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/wapiti-creek-trailhead/ ) It’s not camping but the already spectacular views from the Wapiti Creek Trail will be even more so during the eclipse.
Palisades Creek Campground (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/palisades-creek-campground/ ) – This popular campground in eastern Idaho will be even more popular. Make your reservations early.
The path of the eclipse will roll through the Cowboy State where these two horsey areas are great places to observe.
Teton Canyon Campground (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/teton-canyon-campground/ ) – While this camp is in Wyoming it’s easiest to get there from Idaho!
Edness K. Wilkins State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/edness-k-wilkins-state-park/ ) with 3 miles of day use trails to explore this park near Casper is in the middle of the zone of totality.
Five areas within the Cornhusker State will have excellent viewing opportunities. But be sure to be on time as the shadow will travel the entire length of the state in only 8 minutes!
Fort Robinson State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/fort-robinson-state-park/ ) The park’s shady campgrounds offer a wide range of horse camping experiences from electrical hookup sites to more primitive sites. Reservations are required.
Natick Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/natick-horse-camp/ ) – Located in the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest; Nebraska’s (and the world’s) largest man-made forest offers miles upon miles of riding through vast prairie grasslands of sand and in the forests of pines.
Whitetail Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/whitetail-horse-camp/ ) – Also in the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest (but on the other end), this campground offers riders 9 corral, 10 camp sites, and even vault toilets.
Wilderness Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/wilderness-park/ ) – Another day riding area to share the eclipse with your horse!
Indian Cave State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/indian-cave-state-park/ ) – A dedicated equestrian camp with 12 corrals and 16 miles of trails to enjoy will make your eclipse visit a good one.
I’ve identified thirteen equine friendly areas within the Show Me State where you’ll be able to observe totality. With the south side of St. Louis in the path and the multitude of parks in the area lots of folks will have a chance to watch.
Honey Creek Conservation Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/honey-creek-conservation-area/ ) – Multiple camp areas and 15 miles of trails. What more is there to say?
Smithville Lake (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/smithville-lake/ ) – With an extensive horse camp and well over 26 miles of trails that hug the southern shoreline of Smithville Lake this is a wonderful place to horse ride and horse camp in Missouri!
Watkins Mill State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/watkins-mill-state-park/ ) – A day use area with 4 miles of trails to enjoy.
Dry Fork Recreation Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/dry-fork-recreational-area/ ) – The equestrian trailhead for the Cedar Creek trail this area offers 8 campsites no reservations.
Canaan Conservation Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/canaan-conservation-area/ ) A day use area with 11 miles of trails.
St. Louis area:
Dr. Edmund Babler Memorial State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/dr-edmund-babler-memorial-state-park/ ) – 6 miles of day use trails.
Bluff View Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/bluff-view-park/ ) – 5 miles of day use trails.
Greensfelder Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/greensfelder-park/ ) – Camping and 20 miles of trails.
Route 66 State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/route-66-state-park/ ) – 8 miles of day use trails.
Castlewood State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/castlewood-state-park/ ) – 14 miles of day use horse trails.
St. Francois State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/st-francois-state-park/ ) – Over 10 miles of day use horse friendly trails to explore.
Apple Creek Conservation Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/apple-creek-conservation-area/ ) 5 miles of day use horse trails.
Trail of Tears State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/trail-of-tears-state-park/ ) 9 miles of day use trails in the Indian Creek Wild Area, a 1,300-acre area located in one of the most rugged areas of the Mississippi River hills.
Two equine areas in the Land of Lincoln will have wonderful views inside the path of totality.
Ferne Clyffe State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/ferne-clyffe-state-park/ ) 15 miles of trails and an equestrian campground.
The southwestern part of the Bluegrass State is where the happenings will be, and you are urged to get there and be a part of it.
Higginson-Henry Wildlife Management Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/higginson-henry-wildlife-management-area/ ) 9 miles of day use trails
Pennyrile Forest State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/pennyrile-forest-state-park/ ) 40 miles of trails and a horse camp!
Land Between the Lakes; Wranglers Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/land-between-the-lakes-national-recreation-area-wranglers-camp/ ) – Over a 100 miles of horse trails and a dedicated horse camp with 220 sites!
The Volunteer State has fabulous horse and mule riding throughout the state and five areas that will have a very special ride on 21st.
Percy Warner Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/percy-warner-park/ ) – 10 miles of day use trails.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/cedars-of-lebanon-state-park/ ) – 13 miles of trails.
Cordell Hull Lake (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/cordell-hull-lake/ ) – 22 miles of horse trails to explore and even horse camping for after the event!
Lost Corral Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/lost-corral-horse-camp/ ) 20 miles of horse trails and 20 camp sites.
The Tar Heel State has two fab places to ride and watch the show.
Tsali Recreation Area (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/tsali-recreation-area/ ) 40 miles of trails and even horse friendly camping!
Dupont State Forest (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/du-pont-state-forest/ ) 100s of miles of trails and camping.
All good things come to an end. Don’t despair though, there are 8 excellent horse areas to view within the Palmetto State before the eclipse departs the U.S.
Whetstone Horse Camp (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/whetstone-horse-camp/ ) 28 miles of trail and 20 camp spots
Fants Grove Trails (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/fants-grove-trails/ ) 15 miles of trails.
Long Cane Horse Trail (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/long-cane-horse-trail/ ) 27 miles of trails and 40 camp sites.
Saluda Shoals Park (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/saluda-shoals-park/ ) 2 miles of day use trails.
Manchester State Forest (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/manchester-state-forest/ ) One the more popular areas in the sandhills region of South Carolina, Manchester State Forest has about 20 miles of riding opportunities in three main loop trails.
Jericho Horse Trail (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/jericho-horse-trail/ ) – The 19-mile loop trail traverses a wide array of habitat types, from mature longleaf pine stands to bottom land hardwood drains, and offers captivating scenery to visitors.
Tuxbury Horse Trail (https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/tuxbury-horse-trail/ ) – 14 miles of day use trails. Trails are open year ‘round but the most popular times are fall, winter, and spring, to avoid the worst of summer’s heat and insects.
I think it’s amazing. The band of the shadow will cross the width of the United States in only 1h 33m – less than the length of a movie! Plan to be in the path. It’ll have you asking “When’s the next one?”!
It is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays – even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse, you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun or use an alternate indirect method.
This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.
During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but it’s crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses.