A Very Special Post: Douchepacker is Officially off the Market (Total Eclipse Trip Report)

We discussed many plans for this past weekends Total Solar Eclipse.  We had thought about just staying in town which would allow us to view a 99.4% elipse and we also briefly had plans to go to Central Oregon where we would be in the 99.6% range, but with a long travel time to the Path of Totality.  In the end we settled on just staying in town and going to Mt Tabor to view the eclipse.

However, I got a hankering to look and see what back country areas were in the POT.  Many were in central/eastern Oregon and a long drive away. The traffic was predicted to be fucking horrendous.  Other National Forest and wilderness areas were closed due to ongoing wildfires.  This left one area in the POT that I thought was realistic and would have few crowds: Mt Hood National Forest, specifically the border of Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and Roaring River Wilderness along FS road 4610.

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An old growth cedar fell and took the trail with it

Road 4610  appears to be a 4WD through road on the map, however it has essentially been blocked for years due to a bad washout.  Only dirt bikes or 4WD vehicles with a winch can make it onto this road past a certain point.   From the north, there is one good trail to access this area via Salmon Butte that looked useful to me.

After reaching the summit of Salmon Butte after 3000+ feet of climbing, you take an unmaintained, usually unmarked trail (on maps) a couple of miles down to the perpetually silent and empty Road 4610.  This is a trail few go on, but enough to keep the  path obvious.  The trail itself is just an old decommissioned road, but the forest is taking it back.

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Unmaintained trail down the south side of Salmon Butte.

As you walk ESE along Road 4610, you cross into the POT.  Not too much longer along the road and you reach the abandoned Hambone Springs Campground.

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Once past this curve, we enter the POT

I used a map from a Forest Service twitter account that showed the POT as guidance.  I then estimated its location on my Caltopo map.  As you can see, the campground is *just* inside the POT.  Any further along 4610 and we just go deeper into the POT.

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Black= POT Red=Hiking route (9 miles or so)

This is a camp I’ve been to once before and it’s pretty damn remote as far as this part of Oregon goes.  I only saw a couple of bikepackers on that whole trip.  On this trip we saw two motorcylists and two 4WD vehicles, whom came to that area specifically to see the eclipse as well.  We saw zero backpackers out here. This area is about as remote as it gets in the Mt Hood NF.

The campground is nice, there is a spring nearby and nice flat spots to sleep on.  Someone was nice enough to construct a table  The best part is that we were the only people there.  It’s very inaccessible and left off of some maps.  I was banking on this to work in our favor, because everywhere was predicted to crowded as fuck.  My planning paid off.

I was really nervous that I hadn’t estimated the POT accurately.  This was an important event to see, not only because it will never happen in this area again, but that I decided to propose to my girlfriend on this trip as well.

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The shadows were really amazing to see
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Weird Ribbon shadows and projections in the web of my fingers

Luckily, we were in the POT and my estimates were correct, but we didn’t actually know that until the sun was completely blocked.   The eclipse itself was amazing and if you can pull it off, witness a total Solar Eclipse in your lifetime.  I thought it was vastly over hyped beforehand, but it was really unbelievable, an experience of a lifetime!

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It was completely dark during the Totality; my flash went off

After the Totality had passed I proposed to her and SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We’re over the moon 🙂

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She said YES!
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On the return trip, this is the summit of Salmon Butte looking north
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