The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Total Skiclipse of the Heart

Hannah Kothari
Total eclipse viewed on Sugarloaf Mountain on April 8, 2024.

April 8, 3:52 a.m. (AKA way too early in the morning) 

Scrambling out of bed to the all-too familiar sound of my alarm, I nearly convinced myself it wasn’t worth it. I had seen a sliver of the last eclipse in Texas in 2017, and my eighth grade recollection told me that it wasn’t all too memorable.

Why was I up before four in the morning you ask? Parking. Nearly 10,000 people were headed to our eclipse viewing location of choice, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the mountain had stated that parking was due to be scarce. By 10 a.m., the mountain’s social media had posted that they were fresh out of parking. Remaining guests had no choice but to park on the highway leading up to the mountain, and hike the rest of the way to the resort.

8:50 a.m.

After a smooth hour and 45 minute drive (and a nearly two hour wait in the car enviously spectating as other vehicles made stovetop coffee and bacon), I’m making my first turns of the day on arguably my favorite mountain in the world, located in the path of eclipse totality in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. The group of friends that I ventured up to the mountain with had devised a plan for the day – ski as much as you’d like until 12:30 p.m., then meet at the base of the lift that would bring us closest to the summit. 

Hannah Kothari skiing down Hayburner, a trail on Sugarloaf Mountain. (Sugarloaf Mountain)

12:45 p.m.

I added my skis to the rows and rows of pairs that were beginning to accumulate at the base of the summit, and proceeded to hike the rest of the way with just my poles and my friends. Once we made it to the top of Sugarloaf, we set up camp for the next two hours, unpacking sandwiches made in haste the previous evening. 

Hundreds of pairs of skis lined up around the base of Sugarloaf’s summit. (William Morris)

2:18 p.m.

After a quick nap, a few bites of sandwich, and a glimpse of the sheer amount of people around, the eclipse began. Cheering emerged from the crowd of nearly 800 people around us, followed by a few “oohs” and “ahs” as the bottom right hand corner of the sun began to be obscured by the floating rock that orbits the Earth. 

Hundreds of spectators gathered around the peak of Sugarloaf, preparing to view the eclipse. (Hannah Kothari)

Sometime in between 2:18 p.m.  and 2:28 p.m.

Alternating between occasional glances at the scenery around me and peeks at the sun (through ISO certified viewing glasses, of course), we enjoyed the view above and around us. With such a clear day, both Sunday River and the White Mountains in New Hampshire were visible from where we were situated, and we watched as the shadow slowly rolled over the neighboring state before making its way to us.

Sunday River and the White Mountains of N.H visible from the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain. (Hannah Kothari)

I was amazed as the temperature began to drop. The day started out relatively warm, in the 50s, but I could feel it dropping as the amount of sun overhead lessened. In the last few minutes before totality, the eclipse glasses were glued to my head, and I watched as the sun entirely disappeared from the sky above.

3:29 p.m.

Total eclipses, sunrise, and sunset visible from the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain. (Samuel Gleicher)

Cheers roared from each and every direction. It was happening. The darkness set in, and before I could fully process what was occurring, I glanced to my right. Familiar sunset shades of red and purple emerged, and then I heard “wait, is that a sunrise?” from my left. Indeed, the sun was both simultaneously setting and rising. Hues both deep and bright painted the sky on either side of me; with remarkable sights from every direction, I nearly forgot to look up at the star of the show.

The sun was fully covered by the moon, a magical ring shining around it. Planets became visible. There was so much to soak in, before I had even fully realized it, sunlight began to hit the Whites in New Hampshire, all too quickly approaching us at the peak of Sugarloaf. We got to see as the light grew closer and closer, until a sliver of the sun was visible yet again. 

3:33 p.m. 

The sun came back into view after nearly two and a half minutes of totality, and I realized how truly frigid it had gotten at the peak. In just a few minutes, the temperature dropped from about 40 degrees at the peak to just above 20 degrees. I went from shedding layers to needing hand warmers. I had no idea that this meant that the mountain, which was covered in slushy snow due to the above-freezing temperatures, had entirely frozen over during totality. 

The last run down to the base of the mountain was incredible; I was still reeling from the magic that I had witnessed at the peak, in absolute awe of both nature and the sight which I had the privilege of experiencing. 


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About the Contributor
Hannah Kothari
Hannah Kothari, Digital Editor
Hannah is a sophomore from Houston, Texas, majoring in Politics. When she isn’t completing an infinite amount of reading for her classes, she enjoys sneaking off to nearby mountains to hike and ski, snapping pictures of Maine’s natural beauty, and working on her newfound hobby of crochet. If you haven’t heard from her in a few hours, chances are she’s on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain. Previously, Hannah wrote for five magazine publications in her hometown of Houston. Her love for journalism was born in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and her time at The Bates Student has continued to cultivate her passion for the art.

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  • M

    Margaret RobertsApr 12, 2024 at 5:50 PM

    Very nice review of the eclipse, mountain and experience . Well done…I see the makings of a journalist!

  • H

    HelenApr 11, 2024 at 3:22 PM

    Enjoyed the article, with all the photos. Felt as if I was watching the eclipse with you. Thanks