Hanford, The Most Radioactive Place in America

Here is my recommended song for this post.

So along with our main unit on the Manhattan Project. We got the oppritunity to go down to Hanford. It was a short trip, only 3 days, but we were able to do a lot of really fun things.

We started the trip by driving all the way down to Portland. Once we reached Portland we went to Powell’s, the largest book store in the world. I’ve always wanted to go, being the reader I am, and I had a lot of fun exploring the store. Now we were tasked with two things to do in the store. We had to find a book on something we are interested in that had a weird name.

I chose this book because I play Ultimate a fair bit and I thought it was funny someone would call it the best sport ever.

After Powell’s we headed to the new Apple store in Portland and there was a shopping mall nearby. We checked that out for a bit then we headed to dinner. We went to a really great wings place. Definetly on the top 5 list. Afterwords we headed to a really cool hotel/movie/restaurant/bar. These two brothers have bought a variety of places in Portland and turned them into hotels or movie theatres and stuff. So we went to an old school which had been repurposed for a hotel along with a movie theatre and a few dinning places. It was really cool to check out how they haven’t really changed too much except the furniture. All the walls and stuff were there and not much was built by way of additions to the structure. Although the movie wasn’t my favorite, Mamma Mia 2, it was still really cool to check the place out.

The next day was a day full of travel. But first we went to a operational reactor at Reed College. We got to see the reactor while it was working and we learned how a reactor works and some of the safety things with working around a reactor. (Sadly we weren’t allowed to take any photos of the reactor)

After the reactor we began our journey along the Columbia river, starting in Portland and going all the way to Richland, which is right next to the Hanford site. We did multiple stops on the way at view points and waterfalls.

Along the way we went to a really interesting museum called the Maryhill Museum of Art.

It was the house of a rich couple from the area. The wife had been really interested in European art, more specifically statues. After they both passed away, the place was turned into an art museum. It was really cool to check some of the stuff and of course we also had a task. We had to create a video on a piece of artwork that made us curious.

We also witnessed a brush fire going on across the river from the museum that was really interesting to see so close.

After the museum we headed to a WWI memorial built by the husband of the rich couple. He was also buried there. It was built as a replica of Stonehenge. There were some pretty awesome views from the monument.

All throughout the day me and the rest of my video group were filming stand-ups and getting b-roll shots for the video.

The next day was the day of interviews and getting tons of footage. We did a tour of the Hanford site and learned about the history of the area and what life was like before the Manhattan Project came to the area. We were able to get some really great interviews and shots of the site.

Then we headed to the Reach museum where we did more filming. The museum was divided into two sections. One of Hanford and the nuclear age, the other on the natural history of the area.

Then we headed to Red Lobster. Home of all you can eat shrimp. I only had 75 but the highest score was Ethan at 140.

Then came the last day of the trip. We spent the morning doing a tour of the B reactor, one of the main reactors used during the Manhattan Project. We did another interview and got some more footage. It was amazing to see just how large the reactor was and all the machinery and things that contributed to its operation.


After the tour we began the long journey home.

This trip was a really good oppritunity to see and truly appreciate what we are learning. Although that’s what the purpose of all our trips is this trip really struck that home to me.  Before going down I had no idea what the Hanford site looked like or really what the actual place felt like. I saw photos of course but that is nothing compared to going there and being on the actual site. I’m really glad we were able to go down and learn about an amazing time in history. Definetly one of my favourite field schools. California was still my favourtie though.

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