Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Cashiers, North Carolina

I keep humming Carly Simon’s, You’re So Vain…

“Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia…To see the total eclipse of the sun”

We didn’t have to go to Nova Scotia in 2017, but we did go to our mountain home in Cashiers, NC to take part in this rare phenomenon.

Cashiers was in the path of totality. A small town with about 2,000 residents in the winter, it swells to over 10,000 people in the summer and fall.

Many expected huge crowds and with limited access (it is a one crossroad town after all) most people were taking a “this is going to be busier than July 4th”  attitude.  Also being a virtual rain forest especially in the summer, clouds and rain showers could be expected, limiting the effect of the solar eclipse.

The parking lot at Ingles was full for days as people bought groceries and prepared to stay home to watch the eclipse.  Others bought camping supplies, ready to hike and camp in the mountains.

We stocked up on groceries, knowing we would be cooking in most nights.  I imagine many people especially those with out of town guests, held eclipse parties Sunday night.  We celebrated at good friends, Laura and Phil’s house, with a small group of friends.

With large numbers expected on Monday, Dave and I decided to stay out of the crowds.

Our home is close to Panthertown, a 6,295 acre backcountry recreation area. (I call it a wilderness area as there are 2 main road access points, no vehicles allowed, no toliet facilities, lots of lightly marked trails and many faint trace trails.)  We hike in Panthertown all the time and know it very well.

We wanted to watch the eclipse  on Little Green Mountain, one of our favorite lunch stops.   Most times when hiking Little Green Mountain you might see a few people on the trail or at the top.  Many times we see no one.

Zoom in…Little Green is the long rock faced mountain.

Panthertown Valley looking at Little Green Mountain from Salt Rock Gap photo by Kathy Miller

Eclipse day there were a few people…all hoping to capture the special moment.

Looking back to Salt Rock Gap, where we began our trip…a few clouds…

View looking at Salt Rock Gap and Black Mountain from Little Green Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

Sheldon loves hiking!

Sheldon enjoys Little Green Mountain photo by Kathy Miller

Dogs having as much fun as the people…see the clouds developing behind us.

Dogs and people having fun on Little Green Mountain waiting solar eclipse 2017 photo by Kathy Miller

Sheldon with his eclipse glasses…I am still having fun at this point!

Sheldon with his eclipse glasses photo by Kathy Miller

Dave is getting ready…yes we are still having fun!

Dave with his eclipse glasses on ....and the farmers market bag with our lunch photo by Kathy Miller

Our special solar glasses from Zoller’s Hardware…

Special Solar Eclipse Glasses from Zoellers photo by Kathy Miller

And the rain came…(20% chance which is nothing this time of year).

We ran for understory tree coverage…hoping to outlast the shower.

It wasn’t a shower.  It was a monsoon.  At least over the Panthertown Valley.

Dave and I knew we had an hour and 1/2 hour hike out….which means going back down into Panthertown Valley and then back up and out through Salt Rock Gap.  And even though it was pouring, the light was dimming.  Also the temperature was dropping and being soaked meant being chilled.

We started hiking.  Sloshing all the way down Little Green.  At the bottom of the mountain…the floor of the valley, the light kept dimming.  Now we know these trails like the backs of our hands.  We have seen rattlesnakes, bears and thunderstorms before in this valley, but I have never been there after dark.  (I no longer camp).

As the light dimmed, Sheldon came upon a campsite..and through the rain I could see someone sitting at the tent. (Every other camper was out on mountaintops waiting for the eclipse.) We called Sheldon back and continued our trek through the water/path.  I looked back to see the person at the campsite get up and start following us.  It was eerie because through the rain and the dimming light, I could see him behind us.

Dave kept us trekking…as quickly as we could slosh.  Then total nightfall…We stopped…It was totally dark.  I could barely see Dave right next to me and of course could not see Sheldon as he is a black dog.  It was 2:37 in the afternoon and I will never forget it. Total darkness.

And by the way…we saw the camper go off into the woods because he lit up something…a phone? a flashlight?   And we said, “let’s get out of here”.

It slowly grew  lighter and we walked up and out.  By the time we got to Salt Rock Gap the sun was beginning to come out.

I am happy many people were able to see the eclipse.  I am happy I was able to experience the eeriness of total darkness in the afternoon.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.










  • James says:

    Sorry you weren’t able to see the eclipse. At least you now have a great story to tell!

    • KathyMillerTime says:

      Story. What it is all about. I still don’t know why that camper was out in the middle of the woods with the light on

  • Liz Hynson says:

    Kathy this is an excellent article made me feel like I was right there with you.
    Enjoyed it, makes for good memories even if you did not see the eclispse.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Liz, it was an experience. Just think, if you had been there you would have been with us!!! The darkness was eerie, but very neat!

  • Vern says:

    Love reading the story and seeing the photo’s on little green. Especially love the photo of Sheldon with the eclipse glasses.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Love that Sheldon! He had the best time. It did not matter to him whether he saw the eclipse or not. He had more fun running down the mountain in the pouring rain.

  • Nancy says:

    Love your new look….right on for your beautiful image…….

  • Kathy Miller says:

    Thank you Nancy! Always appreciate your readership and your wonderful recipes!

  • Rosalie Jefferson says:

    It was wild on little Talbots’s Island with our two grandsons…7 and 10. Boogie boarding in the surf…picnic lunch under our beach tent…flying the Dragon Kite…then Eclipse time.
    We looked through the gathering clouds (with glasses of course) Yes…we saw it …jumped up and down…screamed…Wow. Seconds later black clouds rolled over…winds gusted to tear down our tent…sheets of rain hit…the beach turned gray with flying wet sand…we were drenched but SOOOOOOOO happy. Would love to send pics…but you site doesn’t allow this.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Rosalie! I am so happy you were able to see the eclipse. Bet your grandsons had a ball.

  • Laura Huffman says:

    You had quite the eclipse adventure and now the story to tell!! So sorry you got rained out at eclipse time. We were on the 8th hole at High Hampton and also had thunderclouds and a little rain, but it stopped, then it didn’t start again until after the totality. We saw the eclipse at several different stages, but it was behind clouds for the totality. The wind changing directions and the darkness were an amazing experience though!! I’m so happy you were with us for dinner Sunday night! (Next time I promise to take YOUR advice on the timing of the meat…..)

    There are very few songs that I really don’t like at all…. and you found one of them! Blinded by the Light…. good grief, who sings a song that sounds exactly like “wrapped up like a…” even if that’s not what it says????? Hahaha!!! Let’s stick with PSA….. sooooo much better!!! Chomp chomp. Love you!!!

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