We weren’t going to make it for the total eclipse, but a partial is cool too, right? (And while yes, it was—I do regret this decision. It was nothing like the total eclipse. But that’s life, and I really hate driving in heavy traffic.) I picked up my friend Morgan in the Central District slightly after 8 am, she grabbed some peanut butter cookies and rhubarb bread and we headed to North Bend. Around Issaquah WASH-DOT had a very helpful sign “Eclipse today. No stopping on the road!” Thanks guys!
I’m not sure why I thought Rattlesnake Ledge would be quiet. It’s never quiet. We arrived to an overflowing parking lot and other hikers scrambling with blankets and eclipse glasses clutched in their hands. Eerily, despite the cars, we barely saw anyone on our hike up. It became readily apparent that we saw no one because everyone was already up at the ledge. Still, we found a spot large enough to use as a bench and settled in. We spread out our snacks, eavesdropped on the folks near us explaining technicalities, and took photos of shadows through the scrubby foliage.
Around ten it started to feel noticeably cooler and the light felt thinner, but I was surprised with how bright it still was. The temp continued to drop and we could hear folks shouting out the time periodically. Around 10:20 the crowd cheered and clapped. Go nature! And the moon started slipping past again, the crescent moving from the left edge to the top and then widening on the right.
The crowds started to disperse and Morgan and I hung out for a little while to give them some distance. As we headed back down the trees filtered the sun into feathered shapes on the path. By the time we got back to the parking lot it was all over.
A partial eclipse is, obviously, nowhere near as cool as seeing the totality. Still, we got a quick hike in, we hung out with a ton of strangers all excited about nature, and watched trees become pinhole cameras. Not a bad consolation prize.