If it weren’t for the eerie twilight that crept over Bend, a passer-by oblivious to the total solar eclipse Monday morning might have thought the top of Pilot Butte was covered in sunbathers.
With eyes turned to the sun in cardboard eclipse glasses, hundreds of people gathered atop the dormant volcano, many in lawn chairs, to watch the moon cover 99.6 percent of the sun. At the optimum viewing moment, the crowd whooped and applauded. One man cheered on the moon.
People watched from the Old Mill District, too. Families gathered on the grass for the eclipse. Kayakers pulled to the side of the Deschutes River.
Climbing Pilot Butte is an everyday activity for Adrianne Goodrich, 42, of Bend. To see so many fellow hikers Monday was somewhat surreal.
Goodrich was joined by her husband, Ben Goodrich, 40, their children Addison, 9, and Griffin, 5, and their chocolate Labrador, Gus.
For many locals at Pilot Butte, like Kim Clark, 59, of Bend, a registered nurse in presurgery at St. Charles, it just happened to be their day off.
Steve Garretson, an Oregon State Parks interpretive ranger, passed out free eclipse glasses there. He wasn’t too surprised others chose cities in the path of totality over Bend.
“If people are going to the baseball game, they’re not going to stay in the parking lot — they’ll go in the stadium,” he said. Monday afternoon, though, cars with many out-of-state plates, from California to Maryland, filled downtown.
Fiddling with his two camera setups pointed toward the sun, freelance nature photographer David Wajsfelner, 36, of San Francisco, said he and his wife, Amie Gutierrez-Wajsfelner, 33, came to visit family, enjoy Bend and check out the solar event.
The couple left California at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, facing just one slowdown in La Pine at its single stoplight, Gutierrez-Wajsfelner said, and in that area a blunt sign: “The eclipse is canceled, go home.”
They, and thousands of others, ignored it.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org