Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean in late November 1805 after travelling 4,142 miles (by their calculations). On the National Geographic Quest, we began in Portland, Oregon, and sailed in luxury to arrive in Astoria, Oregon, on Monday, September 27. We utilized coaches to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum and then Fort Clatsop and Fort Stevens. The day offered a mixture of weather and winds which is typical for coastal Oregon. Fort Clatsop is a replica of the one the Corps of Discovery built in December of 1805 as their winter quarters. Fort Stevens was constructed in 1864 and remained active through World War II as part of the United States defense of the mouth of the Columbia River from potential enemies. The Quest sailed westward briefly to glimpse the conditions of the Columbia River Bar. Our journey lies to the east as we sail up the Columbia River toward Lewiston, Idaho, one of the furthest inland ports in America.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Our morning began alongside the dock in our final port of Clarkston, Washington with a glowing sky and flocks of migrating waterfowl inscribing Vs through the air. After breakfast, guests boarded 34-foot-long jet boats for an excursion along the Snake River to its confluence with the Salmon River, fondly known as the River of No Return. Along our journey we saw bighorn sheep, great blue herons, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, Canada geese, petroglyphs, wild turkeys, columnar basalt, swimming mule deer, and a bald eagle flying with a large salmon. We also enjoyed fortuitous timing and witnessed a fisherman hook an eight-foot-long sturgeon. After a long battle, he finally pulled it to the shallows for his whole family (and us) to see. As evening approached, we settled into the lounge for our final series of educational talks, featuring Nez Perce storyteller James Spencer and winemaker Coco Umiker, both of whom illuminated important contexts of the beautiful basin. Following our wine tasting with Coco, guests set off for their final on-board dinner. After dinner, we bid farewell through photos. Our photo instructor showcased a mosaic of moments from the week, otherwise known as the Guest Slideshow. Included in the slideshow were praying mantises, birds of prey, sunsets, and staff members being goofy, as per usual. We couldn’t be more grateful for our time together, all of us, during this last week of October 2022.