Chasing A Solar Eclipse in Mongolia

The Washington Post has published an interesting article on the lengths that some people will go to to experience a total solar eclipse. In this case, the author of the story traveled all the way to Mongolia, venturing far into the countryside for the two minute and four second long experience of watching the moon pass over the sun, casting it’s shadow on the Earth below.

Writer Pamela West begins the story by informing us that she spent 46 hours in airplanes, another 39 hours in airports, and then endured 16 hours in a van just so she could arrive in a place that had been deemed a prime viewing location for last summer’s total solar eclipse. All of that travel time for those precious two minutes and four seconds.

Mongolia has been the emerging hot spot for adventure travel over the past few years. It’s remote vistas and steppes have begun to lure an increasing number of backpackers and trekkers looking to get away from the more traditional tourist destinations.Outside of the capital city of Ulan Bator, the Mongolian people still live a traditional way of life that has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. Many are still nomadic, they live in their traditional gers, and have few, if any modern conveniences. The lure of that simple culture is strong and very appealing.

Eventually West, and her companions, get their solar eclipse, making the journey all worth while. She decribes the experience eloquently, and then launches into plans to chase her next eclipse to other remote places. Her story is an interesting one, and a good reminder that it doesn’t really matter why you travel to the places you do. What matters is that you go, and you take in as much of the experience that you can while you are there.

And in case you are wondering, the next total solar eclipse will be seen across India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China on July 22 of this year. If you can’t make that one, your best bet is Easter Island on July 22nd of next year. Staying closer to home the next eclipse to hit North America isn’t until August 21st of 2017. Start making your plans now!