Watching the Eclipse Topless with Kimchi in Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Once I heard about the eclipse, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was going to go see it.

So I switched shifts with a co-worker at my weekend job, booked a hotel in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and tried to convince Ian to go with me.

Ian had to work so he didn’t want to go, but when I mentioned Rosetta’s, he gave in and we packed the cooler, the pooch, and headed south.

Turns out, everyone else had the same idea we did. We spent a total of 30 hours on the road there and back to see the total solar eclipse (for reference, Asheville, North Carolina is only an 8-hour drive from my place).

It was absolutely and completely worth it to be present for this spellbinding moment.

Nantahala National Forest

We planned on going to Lake Santeelah, North Carolina, but due to traffic and the beauty of the Nantahala National Forest in Topton, North Carolina, we didn’t make it there. We found this beautiful picnic area by a river—the perfect place to watch the eclipse!

The river was private beneath a bridge right along a road. I have no idea where we were since the GPS didn’t work. It was amazing!

We were so excited to find this perfect, private spot.

In order to ensure no one else would try to watch the eclipse with us, we went topless. We figured it was the best way to create awkwardness and prevent anyone from invading our privacy.

Plus, it’s not illegal to be topless in North Carolina, which is pretty cool.

 

While we waited for the total eclipse (the partial eclipse had already started while we set up our picnic), we took pictures, played with Lisbeth, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, occasionally glancing up at the sun with our glasses.

Gosh, we look like dorks. Fortunately, our glasses weren’t too expensive. $15 with shipping.

Here are some of the pictures we took while we waited for totality.

Loving the fresh buzz on me! It’s really interesting how the light changed as the moon passed over the sun. It was an incredible experience.

The Kimchi

If you don’t know what kimchi is, don’t let the following photo throw you off. It’s fermented vegetables and really good for you. It contains probiotics and is extremely tasty; Ian and I eat it all the time.

So we had some during our picnic before the total eclipse and got some really funny—and weird—photos, including this one here.

Ian said I looked like a zombie either throwing up or consuming some type of bloodied meat. This is actually a piece of fermented napa cabbage. This particular type of kimchi is spicy!

In case anyone is wondering what exactly I’m eating, it’s this delicious stuff here.

 

Ian and I buy this all the time; it’s extremely spicy and I would absolutely not recommend eating it by itself, but there you go.

 

It’s best when it’s eaten with other foods. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a dish to eat it in and I forgot to bring forks, so here we are in the national forest eating it like zombies with bloodied fingers and a huge appetite.

 

 

Totality

We meditated for a few minutes before totality happened. The darkness happened really fast and then all the sudden it was there. The sky seemed to be shimmering while we stared up at the moon blocking the sun’s light. It was dazzling. I have no other way of describing it.

I did start crying a little because it’s a weird feeling when you do something and you know that you’re never going to do it again. I know that I probably won’t travel to see another eclipse, so seeing this gorgeous, amazing total solar eclipse in my life was the epitome of beauty and sacredness.

Ian and I stood there together in what felt like a dream for the two minutes and thirty seconds of totality, then we watched the sun emerge again together by the river.

eclipse 2017

This is the best photo I have of totality. It does not capture it at all.

And some photos after the sun joined us again.

jenn ryan

jenn ryan

We waited for the eclipse to almost totally end before leaving. It was an experience that I was so grateful to have. A huge thank you to my fiance Ian for taking these photos.

Shirt: Butterfly Cropped Shirt by Gaia Conceptions

Necklace: Handmade vintage piece by local jewelry vendor Minxes Trinkets

Then, of course, we got a bunch of Rosetta’s on the way home. So although we were on the road for 12 hours for what should have been an 8-hour drive, we had vegan chili cheese fries, a buddha bowl, and some kick-ass pad thai to make it through.

I love you, North Carolina!

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