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Eclipse 2017: where the fit should travel

5 places athletes should go to see the Great American Total Solar Eclipse

On August 21st, a total solar eclipse—when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the former and casting a dark shadow over the latter—will occur for the first time in America since 1979. Whether or not there's any scientific evidence to back this up, it’s an incredible natural astronomical phenomenon to behold. NASA points out that solar eclipses have been interpreted as “portents of doom” by virtually every known civilization, and scientists still believe they can induce psychological effects. World-renowned astrologer Susan Miller, who runs the popular astrology website Astrologyzone.com, adds that eclipses are dramatic “wild cards,” and they are tools that the universe uses to get us to pay attention to areas in our life that need to change.

This month, the eclipse will last no longer than two minutes and 40 seconds starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina, passing through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. For optimal viewing, it’s best to be within the eclipse’s path of totality (where the moon will totally eclipse the sun). Space.com offers a state-by-state guide, but here are five destinations to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event that are also known for active, outdoor adventures.

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  • Bend, Oregon

    Bend, Oregon

    A three-hour drive from Portland, Bend is popular for outdoor enthusiasts largely because of Williamette National Forest. It’s sprawling with mountains, lakes, volcanic caters, and even lava river caves. Visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, forest bathing, fishing, and cycling. Oregon is the first place to see the eclipse in America, so Bend has garnered national attention.

    Eat: Mother’s Café is known for crowd-pleasing, healthy dishes like its signature Mother’s Bowl, a breakfast bowl with chia seed pudding, puree of kale, lemon juice, ginger, mango, and hemp milk.

    Stay: All hotels in Bend are fully booked but Tumalo State Park is a popular camping spot. 

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  • Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Idaho Falls, Idaho

    The Green River Belt in Idaho Falls attracts athletes of all types with its sublime scenery along the Snake River. There’s a waterfall, art sculptures, and Japanese gardens, which makes it a visually engaging workout for cyclists, runners, and skateboarders. Other natural attractions abound like Hell’s Half Acre (an unusual geological formation) and excellent rapids for whitewater rafting in and around Yellowstone. Idaho Falls is the closest metropolitan area to any of Yellowstone Park’s entrances.

    Eat: Opened in 1994, SnakeBite restaurant is an institution with great steaks and a popular Hell's Canyon Chicken Sandwich (cajun-spiced grilled chicken and green chili), perfect for “cheat” days, though there are healthy items like salads on the menu as well.

    Stay: The Hilton Garden Inn still has rooms and Airbnb’s are still booking up. 

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  • Casper, Wyoming

    Casper, Wyoming

    The mountain town of Casper is a magnet for nature lovers because of a wealth of activities and breathtaking landscapes. In the warmer months, visitors go fishing, hiking, and biking on dozens of mountain trails (from beginner to advanced), and during the winter, skiing (even night skiing) is the allure.

    Eat: Breakfast/brunch/lunch spot, Eggington’s, is all the rage for fresh, creative, and hearty egg dishes, from benedicts to frittatas. 

    Stay: Casper is one of the most sought-after locations to view the eclipse; hotels have been sold out for more than three years. Visitors can still camp in various campgrounds like the family-friendly Pete’s Draw Campground, though they will be crowded. 

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  • Kansas City, Missouri

    Kansas City, Missouri

    Kansas City is a bonafide sports town. Outdoor activities have long been community-driven for those who like to exercise in packs. Weekly yoga in the park is ubiquitous, and Trail Nerds is a group of running enthusiasts that meet once a week in the beautiful parks. Cycling Kanas City has daily groups hitting the town on two wheels. Kansas City is on the eclipse path but you'll get a better view by driving an hour north along I-35.

    Eat: Café Gratitude is a healthy, plant-based restaurant with the same concept of famed Café Gratitude in Los Angeles (though they are not the same company). 

    Stay: While there are no rooms available now, check HotelTonight and Hotels.com for last-minute availability closer to the dates. 

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  • Nashville, Tennessee

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Nashville, the only major US city fully in center of the eclipse path, is in close proximity to almost a dozen great lakes. Percy Priest Lake and Radnor Lake make great settings for water skiing, fly fishing, kayaking and SUP. Trails abound in Cedars of Lebanon State Park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. 

    Eat: Avo is a hip spot with a raw vegan menu as well as healthy cocktails.

    Stay: The city is hovering near full occupancy (both hotels and Airbnbs) over eclipse weekend but you can still find rooms with sites like Hotels.com, Jetsetter.com and apps like HotelTonight, which shows last-minute room availability up to two days before booking. Or, bring your tent to Nashville Koa, a popular campground, if you’re feeling extra adventurous. 

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