August 21, 2017: Hiked Miles 2103.9 to 2125.1 (21.2 total)
We decided last night that we would stay where we were camped in the morning to watch the eclipse since we had an open view of the sky and might not get that up the trail. And since the eclipse didn’t start until 9:00, that meant we got to sleep in! Of course that meant I woke up at 6:00 wide awake. I didn’t even think I was that excited about the eclipse, but when I woke up that was all I could think about.
We had a relaxing morning reading and stretching and laying around in our tent. Our legs and feet were definitely happy for the break. We had a breakfast skillet that we have been carrying around got awhile, waiting for a morning when we have time to cook, so we cooked it up and made some tasty breakfast burritos. I even got to relax and eat breakfast and drink my coffee at my leisure instead of shoving it down my throat to get on the trail. I’m rereading the book Wild right now which is of course about the PCT and how I first learned about the trail after reading it a few years ago. It’s so fun rereading it now that I have been to all the places in the book she talks about and can empathize with her regarding life on the trail. So I enjoyed having time to read this morning. If you haven’t read the book, read it. It’s way better than the movie.
Around 9:00 we put our eclipse glasses on and started watching the sun along with everyone else in Oregon I presume.
The sun seemed way brighter today than normal which I’m not sure is a coincidence or related to the eclipse.
If you look closely at the bottom left-hand side of this picture you can see a crescent shape:
Of course it took over an hour for the eclipse to complete itself so we got some good sunbathing in in the meantime.
From where we were camped, we probably had a 99% view of the total eclipse so it never got completely dark, but it did get earily dusky.
The sand around us started shimmering and I felt like we were in an end-of-the-world movie and the sun was slowly going out. It was so cool. I can’t believe that we just so happened to be in the middle of Oregon in an almost-perfect place to view this once in a lifetime experience. I feel pretty lucky. The world is so neat.
After watching the eclipse we didn’t get started hiking until 10:45 so we had a long day ahead of us. We dove back into the thick forest right away and started crossing some streams on some neat bridges.
We passed this weird tree on the way up:
And then we popped out on a ridge for a sec and then it was back into the trees. We went up and down all morning and finally stopped for lunch around 3:00 at a nice spring with about ten other people. I think a lot of people are section hiking this area.
We ate and hung out at the spring until we were the last ones there and were freezing after the sun disappeared in the trees, and then continued on our climb.
After climbing through the trees for a bit we started to see a few more views, which is always exciting.
Colton saw another bear, but he scared it off before either of of us could pull our phones out to get a picture.
We ended up on the other side of the ridge in the evening and got to watch the sun sink towards the horizon and cast cool shadows all around us through the smokey haze.
We had a great view at the very end of the day as the wind started picking up and trying to blow us off the ridge.
But before long we rounded the ridge and were back in the trees where we made our way down to the infamous Eagle Creek trailhead. The trail is an alternate loop off the PCT, but pretty much everyone takes it because it allows you to walk behind the iconic Eagle Falls. Google Eagle Falls, it looks pretty awesome. Only this year, of course, there’s a fire near the falls so the whole alternate is closed until at least October. And it’s been closed for a couple months already. Grr.
We already knew it was closed, but since there was a creek at the trailhead along with a couple portapotties, a picnic table, and some flat spots to camp, we decided to camp there. Especially since it was already almost 8:00. Who knows, maybe the alternate to the falls will magically open in the morning. Yea, probably not.
Always nice to camp by:
Now it’s dark and not freezing for once. There’s these annoying flies that sound like electric hair buzzers that won’t stop buzzing outside our tent and all the planes flying into Portland keep flying overhead. Definitely a night for ear plugs. But tomorrow we will hike into Cascade Locks where we’ll get a shower and real food and the next day we’ll be walking into Washington. Time is flying by!