Mile 1865.4 to 1887.
We woke up in our forested camp with tall moss covered trees standing high overhead. Little pockets of gray sky peaked through the branches and pine needles. Not a great spot to view the eclipse.
We all started down the trail, and I looked at the topographical maps. It seemed like we would stay on or around the top of a ridge for a few miles, which was good. Now we just needed to be on the correct side of the ridge and not have trees towering over us. After about 10 minutes of walking, we encountered two southbounders and Vipr asked them if there was a good spot to view the eclipse up ahead. They said there was about two miles up on a bunch of rocks. It might not be comfortable, but you could see the sky.
Well, they were right. It was a great place to see the sun and sky, but it was on an uncomfortable rock slope. Another problem was that we still had about 3 hours before the solar eclipse would be at its fullest and about 2 hours before it would even start.
As it turned out, we had service so Vipr and Fun Dip played with their phones and Bedazzled and I tried to find comfortable spots and snacked. A couple of other hikers passed by, but none of them stopped.
When things finally got going, Vipr and Fun Dip pulled out their eclipse glasses. Apparently, they had been handing them out for free in Etna. When we went through, however, nothing was being distributed :-(. Luckily, Vipr and Fun Dip shared and we all got to watch as the moon slowly crossed in front of the sun.
As it did so, our surroundings got darker and the temperature dropped noticeably. It was pretty cool. Not the most mind blowing or memorable thing to happen on trail, but certainly something unique to experience. The coolest part was that we were the only four people on that side of the mountain and we had the whole experience to ourselves. I heard that other more populated areas and cities were overcrowded and full of gridlock.
After our 3 hour break, we continued on to a late lunch around 1:00 near Windigo Pass. There was a large water cache that broke up the 30 mile waterless stretch. A Forest Service guy drove up at the end of our lunch and started chatting with us. Before we knew it, he brought over a bag of fresh fruit and let us have our pick. I got a peach, plum, and orange!
After another late start after lunch, we continued on through a furry forest draped with what I believe is Spanish Moss.
We eventually climbed up high again and passed by some beautiful looking lakes that were visible just at the edges of all the smoke. This would be a nice section of trail to come back to.
The end of the day was coming, and we were approaching Summit Lake. The plan was to sleep at the Forest Service campground on the lake. Bedazzled and I were up ahead of the sisters and when we first came to Summit Lake, we got off the trail and went down to the water to check it out. It was one of the most beautiful lakes we have encountered on trail and quite large too.
We found some campsites along the shore and decided to camp there instead of heading 1.5 miles further up shore to the campground. Vipr and Fun Dip must have passed by and stayed on trail while we were at the shoreline so Bedazzled and I ended up with a secluded and private campsite all to ourselves.
As we ate dinner, we watched loons or some similar type of water fowl dive below the surface of the water and hunt for its own dinner. I would love to come back to Summit Lake in the future and recommend it to anyone in Central Oregon.