It was another scorcher as we made our way into Spokane. Our campground was situated just enough in the hills north of the city that we had some relief there, but the heat became absolutely oppressive as we made our way south.
When we finally found a parking spot (it was a weekend and there was quite a bit of construction), we stepped out of the truck and instinctively knew we would not be staying long. If we were sweating immediately, we certainly could not expect the girls to do much better.
However, there were so many things we wanted to see, so we narrowed it down to walking to the Upper Falls and stopping at a playground along the way. The falls were really cool, and of course seeing the things all around them made us only want to explore more, but we simply had to keep it short.
While Bird and I put our feet in the sandbox at a shaded area of a playground, Will and Daisy found some relief under a tree. Bird could have stayed and played in that cool sand all day (and I really could not argue), so there was some minor protesting when we went to leave. She is so go-with-the-flow, though, that after a second of being upset, she got excited for the rest of our plans (mostly because there were chicken nuggets involved) and went merrily along her way.
After we got her nuggets (and lunch for us, too), we made our way toward Mount Spokane State Park. We had no intentions of doing any hiking and simply wanted to go to the top of a mountain. After purchasing our Discover Pass at the kiosk at the park office, we made our way up. Unfortunately, the roads were not well marked, so we saw just about all of them before making our way to the summit. It was a beautiful drive, but signage never hurt anyone.
We just so happened to make our trip to the summit on the clearest day of any during our stay. The smoke had been pretty thick, and based on comments from other visitors at the top, visibility had been terrible the day before. While there was definitely a haze in the air, we were able to see a lot of the landscape below, including several lakes and mountains in the distance.
As we were driving up, we noticed a plume of smoke billowing from a mountain across the valley. When we reached the summit, the plume had grown, and as we made our way back down, it only continued to grow. Unfortunately, a fire had started earlier in the afternoon and grew incredibly rapidly, eventually covering over 15,000 acres within the next couple of days and forcing many evacuations. Up to this point, we had experienced the smoke and witnessed crews putting out a small brush fire along the highway, but seeing this was something different altogether. It added some perspective to our quick trip up the mountain.
We ended the day with our hearts going out to those affected by the fire and made our way back down to our campground, grateful the fire was a safe distance away. We certainly did not stay cool, but we had so much fun exploring. Spokane is a city I would love to return to in cooler weather. It seemed really clean and fun and there was so much we were not able to see. We will just add it to our growing list of places to return to.