Idaho and the Sawtooths – Part 1
The eclipse of 2017 was a long-awaited event. My original notes were lost, but the pictures remain and I will try to add details where I can recall anything particularly poetic.
I travelled with my friends Alkis and Hugo. We’d initially planned to go to northern Oregon and view the eclipse from somewhere near the PCT around Sisters, but the fires in that area had made that impossible. One of the reasons that Alkis and I make such a superb travel duo is his ability to plan and be organised where I have no inclination to do so (forever thank you!!) and my ability to adapt calmly when plans change. So we actually drove a little further than planned, to Stanley in Idaho, after a day or so planning in Portland, OR.
The Sawtooth mountains themselves are incredible, reminiscent of the Sierra Nevada in California but by contrast entirely deserted. More than a couple of miles from the main road and there was nobody to be found. Exactly the way I like it.
We didn’t cover vast miles, having no need to with the variety available to us in such a small area. We focussed on finding a place to camp with a good view out to where the eclipse would be. I recall a rather long night with a persistent bear in camp, after the others had (it transpired) neglected to hang the food bag after dinner, but we were otherwise largely undisturbed. Another long night was spent trying to capture the milky way beside a starlit lake.
The day of the eclipse dawned hazy but bright and conditions were excellent. The camp site we’d selected was already ours, and we whiled away the morning taking photos, doing handstands, and generally enjoying the surroundings.
The moment of the eclipse was something else. The light vanished from the world. The birds stopped singing. But it was sudden, not like the gentle onset of night. A chill creeping over skin which had moments before been sun-warmed and bright.
My friends departed shortly thereafter, and I was left in the mountains alone for a couple of days ahead of meeting another friend later on.
I remember hiker baths, and lakes beyond imagining.
Little did I know that life was about to take a rather unexpected turn!