Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse, eclipsed

This was going to be the Eclipse Epic Backpack Trip of All Time, but then reality intruded, and intruded, and intruded, and intruded, and watch Richard plan Trip A, then Trip B, then Trip C...I think we finally implemented Plan Z when it was all said and done.

The 2017 solar eclipse was going to be in totality about 120 miles north of Roseburg, making landfall on the Oregon coast, near Cape Lookout. Plan A was to grab grandkids and hike to the top of Neahkanie Mountain. Amazingly, there were still rooms available in the area hotels and motels, for a paltry $1,500 a night! That's when Plan B got hatched.

Plan B was pretty cool, in concept. Me and the grandkids would pack in to Table Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, spend a weekend at the lake and see an eclipse, how cool was that? But then the news media began to air and print stories about 2 million visitors from out of state on our narrow two-lane highways, with many erstwhile city folk traipsing off into the woods to start forest fires because they just have to light a campfire in fire season. Hmm, beginning to rethink this. However, the decision was made when the Whitewater Fire opened fire season on the north side of Mount Jefferson. Time for Plan C!

Plan C was to hike to Opie Dildock Pass just north of North Sister. We'd be leaving the 100% total eclipse zone but hey, 98% was not bad, either. But then the Rebel and Separation Fires started flaming up the west side of the Sisters and half of the Three Sisters Wilderness was closed. Plan D, anyone?

Plan D was a backpack in to Park Meadows and Golden Lakes on the east side of the Three Sisters. But that plan also went up in smoke when the Milli Fire started up on Black Crater and nearby Millican Crater. If Black Crater wasn't black before, it is now. More problematic than the smoke and fire, was that road access to the trailhead had been cut off, thanks to good ol' Milli.

Totally giving up on backpacking by now, Plan E was for me, Daweson, and Issiah to drive up to Salem and watch the eclipse with Vic (my sister) and (her) husband John. But coming back from Lassen National Park, the transmission on my Jeep started to give me problems and eventually the transmission had to be replaced. Naturally, the Jeep had to stay in the Jeep hospital for a couple of weeks, precluding any driving up to Salem. Time for Plan F, also known as Plan Fail.

Since we weren't going anywhere, I begged and pleaded with Dollie to loan her car to me and she relented, but not before calling me "car killer" and other such epithets. So me and the boys got up at some ungodly hour to drop off Dollie at work before heading up to the North Bank Deer Habitat. An early morning start would put us atop the Boundary Ridge in time for the sun show. But by now, the North Umpqua Complex Fires were in full fiery glory and the smoke was so thick, we could not even see the sun.

Plan G, or Plan #$&%, as I like to call it, was to watch the eclipse from the driveway at home and wow, we actually pulled that one off! So despite all the plans made, reality intervened several times over. But the way I figure it, Douglas County is due to experience another total eclipse 6 years from now, and the fates owe me big time for that one!

1 comment :

  1. Yeah, I ended up watching the eclipse at Waterfront Park in Portland, four blocks from my place of work. Not totality there either, but it was still pretty cool.