Last week, I made the long journey to John Day, Oregon with Adam’s parents to watch the solar eclipse with all of the other crazy eclipsers. Adam was supposed to join us, but sadly he had to go to China last minute for work – what a bummer! The three of us left Seattle on Saturday afternoon and got to Hermiston, Oregon around 6pm. We stayed in a hotel that night and then drove the rest of the way to John Day on Sunday morning. We arrived around 3pm and I’m still amazed that we hardly ran into any eclipse traffic!
We set up a makeshift campsite that afternoon on rather lumpy, slopy terrain near Dixie Butte. I slept horribly that night, not only because I was incredibly uncomfortable and cold, but also because all I could think about was how dry the trees were in that area, and how stupid some people can be (we had quite a few rowdy neighbors that night). My mind kept jumping to worst case scenario situations. “Oh my God, what if someone throws a cigarette on the ground?” “How on Earth will all these people get down this bumpy road if lightning strikes a tree?” “Does everyone here even realize they’re not supposed to have campfires out here?! What if they have no idea? What if ALL of them start a campfire?!” Eventually, though, I was able to pass out and get a few hours of sleep.
In the morning, we grabbed our day packs and hiked up Dixie Butte. We got to the top around 8:30. From there, all we could do was wait.
It was fun chatting with other people about the eclipse (one guy and his daughter drove all the way from Wisconsin to see it!). There were lots of super-fan eclipse nerds there of course, as well as hardcore photographers with tons of expensive gear. I sort of felt like a dope since I hadn’t even really thought about how I wanted to document the eclipse. In the end, I decided to set up a time lapse on my phone (watch that below) and then I also took some photos and videos with my DSLR.
Unfortunately, I didn’t buy any filters for my camera, so I couldn’t take any direct photos of the eclipse, but I was able to snap that first photo I posted up top when the eclipse was in its totality!
Because of where John Day is located, we were able to get two full minutes of awesomeness and I must admit – it was well worth the hype! I can’t really explain it, but it was so strange. I was shaking the entire time; that’s how excited I was! It was super hot all morning with the sun beating down on us, but right when the eclipse started, it got colder and colder as the wind started to pick up. I eventually had to put on my puffy jacket! Crazy to imagine that I was just sweating ten minutes prior. Watching the shadow creep in over us was incredible, and being able to see the stars and the planets so clearly that early in the morning was eerie. We had such a perfect view. The video down below isn’t great, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of what it felt like. Around the 27 second mark, you can hear a woman yell, “I LOVE EVERYBODY!!!” haha.
After it was over, everyone marched back down to their campsites and packed up to head home. We took a bit of a detour to go around John Day and thankfully, ended up missing a lot of the heavy traffic back to Seattle. It was still a really long drive, and even though we left our campsite around 12:30, we didn’t get home until after 10pm that night. Uff-da! It was still earlier than I had anticipated, though, so it’s hard to complain! All-in-all it was a great trip and such an amazing experience. I’m just sad Adam wasn’t there to join us! Did you watch the eclipse??