Solar Eclipse 2021

Nothing beats watching the sun come up from a mountain summit — except maybe walking into the woods in the dead of night, alone, to catch an eclipse.

Hike Length: 7.5 miles (12.07 km)

Total Ascent: 1,800ft (549m)

Intensity: Easy Catskills Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail

Parent Windham High Peak

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sunrise with some clouds


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 Beautiful easy out-and-back.

Hiking Trail Description

It’s been a while since I did a sunrise hike. In mid-June, as the shortest night of the year approaches, sunrise is not long after 5:00 am. This makes the logistics pretty rough.

I set my alarm for 1:00 am and was in my car before 2:00 am.

By 3:00 am, I was hiking briskly past the first trailhead signpost.

The sky was almost cloud free. Jupiter and Saturn were both bright in the southeast. Overheard, the summer Milky Way was clearly visible — I grew up in suburban Dublin, Ireland, and never saw the Milky Way until I first came to The Catskills.

The sky before dawn puts on a truly amazing show. For this shoot, I planned to arrive at my viewpoint at least 30 minutes before sunrise.

This is my favorite time of day. The colors are always bananas.

sky lit by pre-dawn sun
That pre-dawn light, though

I was glad to see I wasn’t the only lunatic hiking at this hour. By the time I arrived, a young botanist and a family group of five or six were all already on the summit.

Long before sunrise, a very clear sun pillar was visible with sun dogs on either side. Sun pillars are created by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere. Sun dogs are made via refraction.

dawn from mountaintop
Dawn June 10, 2021

A line of clouds along the horizon delayed us from seeing the sun for a few minutes.

I started stopping down my cameras so the sky in the following photos looks darker…

sunrise with some clouds

Eventually the moment arrived — almost…

clouded sunrise close-up
Sunrise through clouds

Solar Eclipse 2021

Reminder: Yes, you do absolutely need an effective filter to view any kind of eclipse. And, no, your shades do not count. A pack of cheap solar glasses runs about ten bucks on Amazon.

At last, the sun rose above the cloud line. I managed to score one shot of the eclipse by closing down my DSLR as much as possible and by holding my shades in front of the lens…

partial solar eclipse
Partial solar eclipse 2021

Welp, looks like I should order some cheap solar filters for next time.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Windham High Peak.

If you do this hike, LMK how it went…

Your comments are welcome here…

Trailhead Info for this Hike

Large lot right beside Route 23.

Google Maps Location: 42.312989, -74.190120

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Sketchy service at trailhead but good once you get some elevation. My network is Verizon. YMMV.