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50 at 50 - August 25

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 24, 2017

This week’s post is from South Carolina and a trip that has been in the works since late 2016.  I went to Lake Hartwell to be in the path of totality of the Great American Eclipse and it was AWESOME!  Lake Hartwell is a man-made reservoir bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. The lake is created by Hartwell Dam located on the Savannah River and comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles. 

An extended weekend camping trip was the best way to avoid traffic.  We camped at Twin Lakes Campground which is one of the 9 campgrounds managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Hartwell.  The Twin Lakes area also has a day use area with shelters, swimming beach, boat ramp and fishing pier.  

When not swimming or floating in the lake, there were ample opportunities for bird watching.  Lake Hartwell is home to more than 250 species of birds.  When we first arrived, we were greeted by a hawk at our campsite and over the course of our stay, we saw great blue herons, ospreys, and numerous other birds.

The main attraction was the eclipse.  With eclipse viewing glasses in hand, we watched as the moon first crossed in front of the sun.  As 2:37 pm approached, the excitement began to build. The people at the swimming beach got quiet and came to the water’s edge.  The temperature cooled and the sky darkened. Then it happened. The moon completely blocked the sun from view and the corona was visible for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds!

Since this experience, I have found it hard to find the right words to adequately describe what I experienced. Fabulous, amazing, remarkable, breathtaking, and unbelievable are some of the words that come to mind.   

If you were in NC, where most saw only 90-95% totality, you missed the real show!  I encourage you to put this on your bucket list.  Your next opportunity to view a total solar eclipse in the contiguous US is April 8, 2024. The path of totality will enter at Texas and exit through Maine.  That is just a little less than 7 years from now.  Based on the number of people who saw the eclipse on Monday and those who missed it and say they will be in totality in 2024, I think it is time for all of us to make our plans!

For more information on Lake Hartwell visit http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/About/Divisions-and-Offices/Operations-Division/Hartwell-Dam-and-Lake/

PS - it is fun to demonstrate the eclipse with an orange and sausage patty as shown in one of the photos

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Tags:  50at50  eclipse2017  parks  recreation 

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