Heidi Benitas carries lugs of rainier cherries to a trailer while picking in the 7-acre Columbia Valley Cherries orchard along South Nile Street in East Wenatchee early Friday morning, June 25, 2021. To beat the heat of the day, picking at the orchard started at 3 a.m. using headlamps.
Brynlee Gapan, 6, and her sister Taylin, 13, splash around in a homemade pool - the back of a pickup lined with a tarp and filled with water - in their East Wenatchee back yard Saturday, June 26, 2021. Their mother, Christina, said they were going to buy a pool but with a newborn in the house she said, "there's no way I' going to keep up with a pool this year."
It's 3 p.m. and quitting time Monday, July 28, 2021, for Brandon Buckmiller, owner of Trademark Masonry, Wenatchee. "I'm trying to stay on schedule," he says of working in the 100+ temperatures. "It's been pretty hectic. Unfortunately I can't take time off." He's putting architectural stone veneer on a new house being build in a development near Highlander Golf Course. If he wasn't in the shade he says he wouldn't be able to work because everything dries out too early.
Maria Luna cleans the hot grill inside her taco wagon, "Taqueria Luna," on South Wenatchee Avenue Monday, July 28, 2021. She says it feels like it's about 130-degrees. The air conditioner on the roof of the small enclosure just blows hot air from the outside but air movement of any kind helps cool the place off.
Donning coat and gloves, Mackenzie Baker, 12, Wenatchee, left, takes instructions from Shannon Salter, center, during Wenatchee Figure Skating Club's skills class Tuesday, June 29, 2021. Without additional air conditioning, the Weinstein Beverage Rink at Town Toyota Center is staying at 67-degrees from the 17,000 square feet of ice on the floor. Just outside, the pavement is at 165-degrees on what could be the hottest day on record for Wenatchee. The last two nights of public skating are this Friday and Saturday from 7-9 p.m. before the rink closes for maintenance until July 18.
The out-of-the-ordinary heat wave we had last week came with great photographic opportunities showing how people were coping.
On the Friday before the hottest temperatures, I headed to a local cherry orchard, noticing Thursday evening it was in the middle of harvest. In my teen years, I had picked fruit and knew heat was hard on cherries.
The orchard owners welcomed me to document their operation. They told me their pickers had started very early with headlamps and had to quit when the temps got to 80 degrees. It was an all-out rush to get the fruit off quickly.
On Saturday, my wife saw a Facebook post about a family using their truck bed as a temporary swimming pool. I was able to get hold of them and photographed their girls as they swam — apparently spending most of the day in the water.
On Monday, I went looking for people working in the heat and found Brandon Buckmiller at 3 p.m., in a sliver of shade finishing up a masonry job. His building schedule is so hectic right now that he said he has to keep working despite the heat.
And reporter Sydnee Gonzalez and I headed out later to find a taco truck for a story on what it’s like inside. I walked in and a blast of heat hit me from the grill. The operator said it was 130-degrees inside.
The next day, I headed to the ice rink to photograph figure skating. Walking into the rink, I first noticed people wearing coats and gloves. At 23 -degrees on the surface of the ice, it was a bit chilly. My exposed legs from wearing shorts became numb and tingled when I went back outside in the 110+ temperatures.
That night, I photographed the AppleSox game. Even at 7:30 p.m., the visiting team was crammed into the shade beside their dugout. Inside it was more like an oven. For the most part, the fans who endured the heat tried finding shade themselves.
On Sunday I went to a brush fire dressed in full wildfire gear. In the sun and next to burning grass and brush near rocks, I was happy to get to my air-conditioned truck after photographing the firefighters who were doing the hard work.
It’s been an interesting week and worthy of a bunch of weather-related photographs.