Taylor, Maria, and I spent two nights and three days camping at The Land between the Lakes, outside of Paducah, Kentucky. We found a campsite on the shore of Lake Barkley suitable for viewing the coming total eclipse.
We arrived at the Land between the Lakes just after noon on Saturday and began looking for our site. Once we had established our site for the weekend, we drove roughly thirty minutes to the nearest market in the Grand Rivers community to stock up on supplies.
The next morning, after a poor attempt to make campsite pancakes, Taylor and I took Maria to hike a portion of the Canal Loop. The Canal loop turned out to be a very enjoyable time. The towering Kentucky pine trees gave way to occasional access to Lake Barkley and eventually to Kentucky Lake. Maria romped through the wilderness and into the water as Taylor and I worked to keep up.
We finished our hike and decided that we’d go check out the Elk and Bison preserve before making the trek back to our campsite for the night. The weather was far too hot for Elk or Bison to be grazing, so we missed out on that sight and headed back to our campsite for the night. A delicious meal of beef tips, corn, and broccoli ended our day and left us with full bellies as we gazed into the clear night sky.
I’d never been so excited to see a clear morning sky when I thought about the celestial anomaly that we’d be experiencing in a few short hours. I headed into Grand Rivers to gain an internet signal and complete a bit of work. I found a perfect place to sit, eat, and work at Pokey’s Cafe. After a nice breakfast, I sped back to the campsite.
We sat with our toes in the water of Lake Berkley and our eyes on the sky. I couldn’t help but to swoon over the mechanics and precise proportions necessary to allow for such a magnificent event. My excitement swelled as I looked through my glasses and saw the first black spheroid encroach upon the sun.
Roughly one and a half hours later, our surroundings changed. The sky dimmed as the temperature noticeably dropped. Crickets became audible as bugs began to buzz about. The lake water rippled with feeding fish. Shadows became strangely psychedelic, and the awe of boaters and campers alike filled the air. The sun had been totally eclipsed by our moon over the United States of America for the first time in 40 years.
Freshly dumbstruck after our 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality, Taylor and I began to gather our things as the moon proceeded across the sky to once again reveal the brilliance of our sun. Land between the Lakes is a wonderful place to camp, hike, and get away from it all, but Taylor and I will always have the memory of our first total solar eclipse burned into our minds in conjunction with our memories of the Land between the Lakes.