Beating the heat

Local residents enjoy the warmest week of the year

Usually after school is back in session, people are thinking about football, pumpkins, brisk weather and wintering their gardens.

But with the hottest weather of the year hitting Camas and Washougal, many are still in full summer mode. During the last week, the Northwest has welcomed several 90-plus degree days, for the first time since last summer.

Ironically, right before the heat wave began Labor Day weekend, weather forecasters had argued that perhaps the Northwest wouldn’t see temperatures more than 90 degrees until 2012.

Local residents are taking advantage of the hot weather, knowing that all too soon, it will be back to rainy, cold days.

The Sandy Swimming Hole, Washougal River, Hathaway Park and Capt. William Clark Park were popular spots for many after school and work this week, or during the day for the younger children and their parents.

On Thursday, as temperatures topped 95 degrees, Kendra Hartranft enjoyed playing in the Columbia River at Clark Park before it became too crowded with others seeking relief from the hot weather. Her children, ages 3 and 1, also built sand castles and ate sandwiches.

“This is my first time here and I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I will definitely be back.”

Hartranft added that she had just returned from sweltering temperatures in Minnesota when the heat wave hit the Northwest.

“But I’m cool with it,” she said. “We’ve hardly used our air conditioning this year so I can’t complain. If I wake up to blue sky, it’s going to be a good day.”

Sanni Davies and three of her four children also were enjoying the warm weather at Clark Park.

“I think this is our tenth time here,” she said. “We really like the beach here, it’s much closer than the coast and a lot warmer. And you can go in the water.”

Davies added that when it’s nice out, the dishes stay in the sink and housework is postponed.

“Around here, you soak up the sun when you can,” she said. “It’s fun to get outside, and when I come here, I always run into people I know.”