Monday, April 08, 2024

House Mountain Hike #189, 4-7-2024: Where's the Solar Eclipse? (published 4-8-2024; article #462)


Where was the solar eclipse? Yesterday afternoon, on Sunday, 4/7/2024, I hiked House Mountain for the 189th time. I expected to see a solar eclipse! Where was it?

What? Was I a day late? I reckon so. The solar eclipse was today. (Source: “2024 Total Eclipse: Where & When,” NASA, last updated 4/6/2024.) Local and national media have been abuzz about the eclipse for days and weeks on end. Today, the weather is cloudy. The sun is being eclipsed by the clouds.

Let's get back to yesterday's hike! Unlike today, the sky was clear, blue, and sunny. The temperature was in the 60s Fahrenheit.

The Hike (including 3 Photographs)

I started hiking up the west trail at 1:59 PM. One of these days, I may buy a trail camera that I can strap to a hiking cap. To record an entire hike would be interesting.

Having hiked up the four lower switchbacks, I started up the six upper switchbacks. I passed one group going up. A couple of groups went by, as they hiked down. After thirty-four minutes, I reached the west bluff. Two groups were already there, so I didn't take any photographs.

Heading east along the ridge trail, I decided to photograph what's left of the old two-seater outhouse. The location is just off the ridge trail and near the Picnic Rock. I took the following photograph at 2:58 PM.

The door was open, but I would not go in there if I were you! The seats are gone, and the holes have been sealed with concrete. The old outhouse is just below and east of where the fire tower once stood.

The fire tower was taken down several decades ago. It was built in 1958, according to the inscription on a concrete foundation.

At 3:07 PM, I took the above photograph. The view looks northeast. One of the five concrete foundations is visible, in the center of the shot. How old is the large tree, which is to the left in the image? The cellphone tower is visible, farther back and centered in the frame. The old outhouse (not visible in the photograph) is down and to the right of the view.

After hiking the short distance east and down, I returned to the ridge trail. The Picnic Rock is just east of where the fire tower once stood.

I took the above photograph at 3:28 PM, just before I recorded the addendum to the podcast episode (in the next section).

That's not my jacket. Someone left it behind. The redbud blooms, in the left of the image, were pleasing to the eye. Several redbud trees were still in bloom.

Years ago, I nicknamed the rock outcropping Picnic Rock. It looks like a giant picnic table. What else would you call it? I am open to suggestions.

The Podcast on “Picnic Rock”

I decided to record an episode of Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (YouTube). Ad-libbing, I ran off at the mouth for about four and a half minutes. The episode is House Mountain Hike 189, 4-7-2024: Where's the Solar Eclipse? (published 4-8-2024; episode 27).

I acted as though I'd thought that the solar eclipse was that day. I was a day early! The addendum includes serious comments, about the passing of my wife's Aunt Mona, a younger brother's upcoming birthday, and my deceased mother-in-law's birthday.


At 3:30 PM, I left the Picnic Rock, to hike west and down the west trail. I met a few hikers. At 4:34 PM, I touching the sign post, which is near the covered picnic table, to mark the end of my hike. Two hours and thirty-five minutes in the woods is better than not having hiked!

When I arrived, the upper parking lot was full. I'd found a location on the shoulder of Hogskin Road, to park my 2006 Frontier. He asked me to photograph him. I did so, at 4:40 PM.

If you read this article, Carol Sue, I can hear you! “That's not Mike's 'Delta Saloon, Suicide Table' cap!” I know, Sis.! In the 10/26/2023 article, I'd promised to wear it, on each House Mountain hike. By habit, I took my older cap that has on it the stick figure of a hiker being struck by lightning. I didn't want to drive back home, change caps, and return to hike. I'll do better next time!

This article is being published after the solar eclipse, still behind the clouds, was supposed to be at its climax. It was anticlimactic. The sky, already darkened by thick clouds, became a little darker. The next article today will be about the eclipse hype that fizzled.

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