Forest Road 797 to 395 and back
(1.5 miles, +300/-300 feet).
Okay, so this is kind of a fake entry.
True, Pasta Jay and I got up early and took a nice walk down the forest road near where we camped in the Malheur National Forest. We even turned it into a loop with some easy cross country to get back.
But really, I just want to share our pictures from the Great American Eclipse!
I actually first planned to see this eclipse in 1979 when I was just 9 years old. I missed the total eclipse that year but it was partial in the small town in Oklahoma where I grew up and I brought my telescope so all my classmates could see it. I remember vividly that the newscasters that evening said there wouldn’t be another one in the United States for 38 years—until 2017! I vowed to put myself right in the path of totality for the next one.
About a year ago I tried to book a hotel online, only to discover that all the hotels had been booked for 2 years or more!
So I studied the path of the eclipse and looked for a place far from cities where we could do some easy dispersed camping. Eastern Oregon with its clear desert skies and lovely August weather was perfect. I picked a forest road in the middle of nowhere and thought “surely no one else will have this crazy idea too.”
I was wrong! In fact, at Four Corners, a nearby intersection where two paved forest roads crossed, there were so many people that they brought in dumpsters and porta potties! As we passed I worried that this would be even worse than car camping in a crowded site.
Fortunately, the meadows I had picked for our own camp about a mile away were less crowded, with just 5 or 6 groups spread around, and they were all really polite and quiet.
At sunrise, Pasta Jay and I took our walk.
I set up my old astroscan telescope to project an image of the sun onto a white t-shirt.
By 9:10 or so we were able to see the moon taking its first bite.
As totality neared, I turned the telescope right side up to prepare to take a look at the corona.
Pasta Jay figured out how to take a picture through his mylar eclipse glasses.
The temperature dropped 5 degrees or so and it started getting dark.
And then suddenly, totality!
It’s such a visceral experience, so hard to explain. In an instant, the source of all life on earth just vanishes.
The iPhone doesn’t really capture the dark circle of the moon that we could see during totality:
But Pasta Jay captured a really cool photo of the image we could see in the telescope.
It lasted about three minutes.
And then (thank god!) the sun started to come back.
Once totality was over, we watched the eclipse crescent grow for a little while and then hit the road for the long trip back home.