If you've paid any attention, it's pretty clear we didn't lay out the most efficient route for our Northwest swing this year. After leaving family in Western Washington, we headed back to the east side.
At least this time, Mt. Rainier was out in all it's glory. It was even visible when we got to Yakima, once again crossing over White Pass. I wasn't about to tackle Ft. Lewis traffic from Olympia to be able to drive Chinook Pass!
We settled in to a site at Hood Park
in Burbank, Washington. Hood Park is a Corp of Engineers campground located at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The sites at this park are electric only, but the availability of electric was an important consideration!
The campground is quite beautiful and the price was exceptionally good. I would have snagged one of the riverfront sites, but they were already booked up when I made reservations four months ago. The campground was full every day we were there.
The Tri-Cities are located along the Columbia and Snake Rivers with a handful of bridges connecting them. Over the years, Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco have grown together so that their borders are essentially indistinguishable. These cities are closely associated with the Hanford Project and home to the first production plutonium reactor in the world.
Our reason for visiting Eastern Washington in late June was to attend the 8th Annual Tri-Cities Geocoin Challenge
. I thought about it two years ago but the temps were 115 degrees or so. I chickened out last year because I come to Washington to avoid the heat, but we took the gamble this year and hit the jackpot with temps mostly in the 80's.
The event runs for four days, with the Saturday challenge by far the best attended day. This year they had over 700 people attend the event.
Turk wasn't too sure of the crowds but appreciated the attention he got. I think he was a bit jealous when BJ and I got a picture with Signal, geocaching's mascot.
The theme for this year's event was Fire and Ice with a nod to the lava and glaciers that shaped the area. The listing of the caches to be found was frozen into individual bags for ice for each team.
Caches were scattered equally across the municipalities which made for a lot of driving, but we knew that in advance. We were glad that we took the time to load the caches into our Garmin Nuvi for driving instructions as well as into my handheld GPS.
The event was based out of Sacajawea State Park which had temporary tent camping available. The tents came in all sizes! I was glad we'd booked a spot with electric service across the river where our air conditioner got used the most it's been used in at least a year.
They had some great food trucks at most of the events, and huge boxes of donuts at the final park clean-up event.
If you found at least seven of the eight special caches in each municipality, you received a set of trackable geocoins. Yes, four coins for the four municipalities in the Tri-Cities. West Richland apparently doesn't count or didn't exist when the Tri-Cities moniker was bestowed on the area.
Temps did hit 101 Sunday afternoon but that was still way better than what the Phoenix area was experiencing.