Hydrant Hunting is a fairly simple exercise: walk (or ride, or drive) around until you come across a fire hydrant, then take a picture with it. The bigger question is why hunt for hydrants? To understand for myself, I asked Fire Chief Ben Steketee for a list of every fire hydrant in Hillsboro, which he gladly provided (it’s public information) and then accompanied two seasoned Hydrant Hunters, Ellie and Abby Frye, on a series of expeditions around Hillsboro.
When did you start looking for fire hydrants?
E Probably about last year. We were in Kansas City, and I saw a bunch of gold ones, and other ones, and they were all cool so we started loving fire hydrants.
Where all have you looked for hydrants?
A All over.
E Here in our town, Marion, Kansas City … where else have we seen them? Oh yeah — Indiana, Chicago. We did some in France.
Do you like the hydrants in Hillsboro?
E Yeah, they’re cool.
Do you have any ideas for how they could be better?
E I have an idea! Let’s buy a bunch of hats and put them on hydrants!
A Ellie wants to buy all these hats from Et Cetera and then put them on all the fire hydrants.
Do you like the color of them?
E I think there should be some other colors like green, polka-dot, striped …
How would you paint a hydrant?
E Let me go get some better colors and then I’ll show you. Mama — draw one and then I’ll color it.
A When Katherine got me a notebook for my birthday I drew a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. I was really happy with that picture.
E Let’s take a picture of it. Wait, let me draw some clouds first.