All of North America has been abuzz with next Monday's solar eclipse. And why not? It's the first total eclipse the US has seen since 1979!
In case you aren't an astrology expert, being prepared for such a rare occurrence can be tricky. Fortunately, the Darby team is closing shop for the day and has your total guide on best viewing in WNC, as well as gear needed and any extra info that may come in handy.
A couple things to keep in mind:
1) TRAFFIC. Asheville is already a popular spot to visit this time of year. We're recommending heading out super early, or better yet, camp out the night before!
2) Proper eyewear. Don't forget to show up to the trailhead with proper protection from the sun on Monday. Diamond Brand in Asheville has you covered at just $2.50 a pop, but act soon, those puppies are in high demand.
So, where's the Darby team headed for the eclipse?
Erin - Taking dog, Hank and going off the grid. You'll find her at Yellow Mountain near Highlands, NC. At close to 10 miles roundtrip, she's hoping to avoid the masses.
Megan - Franklin, NC. Go big or go home for total solar eclipse.
Julie - Lake Jocassee! Living it up with 3 days on the water.
Angie - Cherokee is the spot to be with some cultural flair as well! In the past, Native Americans would gather and fire guns, beat drums, and make noise so as to frighten the great frog in the sky away, making the sun shine brightly again.
Carly - Currently undecided. It'll be a game time decision.
Isaac - Gorges State Park has been a favorite for years and has some hidden spots deep in the park.
Coral - Keeping it local. No traffic madness for the Darby clan.
Suzanne - Somewhere off the Gulf Coast viewing from a boat and enjoying a much needed vacation.
So, what are we packing? The Darby clients have got you covered in the gear department.
Sierra Designs Summer Moon 3
The best camp spots aren't always the most publicized. With all mesh uppers for optimal star gazing, this lightweight tent has all the space you need for taking into the backcountry with two of your favorite adventure pals (or space for extracurriculars with a loved one, just don't tell us about it). Its two pole setup and $230 price tag makes camping manageable even for your city friends visiting for the show!
Headsweats National Parks Collection
In protection of US National Parks, Headsweats is donating 20% of all proceeds from their NP collection to the National Parks Foundation. Not to mention the Headsweats Eventure sweatband will keep the sweat out of your eyes while you stay stylish on the trail.
Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt
Worried about fighting traffic for the best spot? Solution - get there on Sunday and spend the night under the stars. With 700 Dridown fill, an insulated footbox and hand/arm pockets and without the confines of a sleeping bag, the SD Backcountry Quilt is the perfect lightweight option to a sleeping bag for summer camping.
UCO X-120R Rechargeable Headlamp
Hear a rustle during the 2'+ of eclipse totality as blackness sets in? Well, try and resist the urge to break out the headlamp, but if you MUST, UCO Gear has you covered with 120 lumens of power, thanks to the lithium-ion battery back of the X-120R Headlamp. With the super cozy X-Act Fit System, you'll forget you're even wearing this nifty headlamp .
Astral TR1 Junction
Astral's new trail collection takes all the water ready components of their legendary water shoes paired with a lightweight trail shoe. With water drainage holes up front, sticky G Rubber and a sturdy Top Shank, the TR1's will take you from creek crossing to summit with no problem.
Tailwind Stick Pack Bundle
Some of the best hikes in WNC can get pretty burly. Don't be the one that's stuck huddled trail side depleted of energy while your crew is sharing beers on the top of a mountain. With a perfect ratio of electrolytes, calories and hydration, Tailwind is all you need, all day long. Pro tip - the caffeinated flavors give a little extra boost for those steep climbs!
Feetures Elite Merino+ Collection
A poor choice in socks can ruin a hike. Just ask anyone that dropped out of a thru-hike due to foot blisters. With targeted compression in the arch, a seamless toe and moisture wicking fibers, blisters will be the least of your worries when scrambling to avoid the tourists on Monday. Not to mention the merino line comes with odor free fibers so you can take your TR1's off, worry free!
Aventura Sonnet Hoodie
Let's be honest - you're going to want to look fly for any pictures that may or may not place on Monday. Aventura has all the ladies looking fresh and feeling good with the polyester blended Sonnet Hoodie. When the chill sets in as the sun disappears, the Sonnet has you covered.
Ecoths Carrington Shirt
The Carrington shirt combines the feel of your favorite Coolmax polyester workout shirt with the comfort of organic cotton. Not to mention, the aesthetics will help you blend in like a local at any Asheville brewery afterwards. Feel even better about this purchase knowing that when you pick one up you'll be giving three meals to homeless.
Everyone loves the friend that brings extra snacks. With an assortment of tasty treats ranging from jerky to trail mix, Trailfoody will ensure your entire crew has a full belly come eclipse time.