August 20, 2017
Highway 26 – Mile 2092 (2084-2092)
Got everything packed up this morning and headed to McDonald’s for breakfast before hitting the road. We had to hitch a ride for a drive of over 100 miles, that would take over 2 hours in a straight shot. We ended up doing it in 3 separate hitches and it took around 6 hours in total. The first hitch out of Bend probably took the longest to get, but eventually a woman agreed to take us as far as Redmond. She had her two little kids in the truck with her, so that was fun. In Redmond, we got picked up fairly quickly by a guy who could take us as far as Madras.
As we neared Madras, we finally got to see what all the fuss about the eclipse was really about. People had been anticipating gridlocked traffic and massive crowds, and so far we hadn’t really seen any evidence of that. But in Madras, which falls right in the zone of totality, traffic slowed to a crawl, and the streets were choked with people. Pop-up shops on the side of the road advertised “official” eclipse merchandise: t-shirts, posters, candy, and of the course the fantastically silly-looking eclipse glasses. Grassy fields had been turned into parking lot campgrounds packed bumper to bumper with RVs and wall to wall with tents. Our hitch told us he drove through the town once a week and usually saw maybe a couple of people on the streets. It was madness.
“Welcome to Solar Town”
He dropped us off at the local Subway, where we stopped for a quick lunch break before continuing on the next leg of our journey. We eventually got a ride with a guy who took us right to where the trail crosses Highway 26. It was after 5pm by the time we started hiking, but we wanted to get as close to Timberline Lodge as possible for the breakfast buffet tomorrow. The evening hike was actually quite nice. The northern Oregon forest was lush and green, and it kind of felt like I was in Middle Earth on my way to Rivendell, especially with the golden light of evening slanting through the trees.
We reached a campsite about 2 miles before the lodge and set up camp for the night. I realized I was probably one dinner short for this section, but wasn’t super hungry anyway so I went right to bed without. I randomly started feeling a bit nauseous as we approached camp, so I really hope I’m feeling well enough tomorrow to take full advantage of the buffet.