Every day has a story. Early risers who were curious enough to take their morning coffee to the bow of National Geographic Sea Bird this morning were greeted by stiff, chilly winds that called for extra layers. Heavy clouds threatened rain, and we feared the morning’s conditions might forebode the kind of tale one remembers for the wrong reasons.
One naturalist–hair blowing in his face, coffee chilling in one hand, the other thrust in his pocket for warmth–smiled. He halfheartedly proclaimed his love for “weather and conditions,” but all present knew we might be in for a rough day of hiking and exploring in these conditions. Few stayed outside long, preferring to watch the lounging sea lions, hunting osprey, and nest-tending great blue herons through windows in the lounge.
By the time we approached our first set of locks at the Bonneville Dam, the winds had lessened but heavy clouds and a chill maintained the earlier presage. Conditions notwithstanding, nearly everyone joined the naturalist staff on the bow to watch the giant doors close behind us. The water rushed in and quickly raised the ship, our first big step upstream.
Our first opportunity to leave the ship was at Beacon Rock, an 848-foot basaltic spire on the edge of the river. Here, guests were provided with the perfect antidote to the chill. Climbing 57 switchbacks in 1.1 miles has a way of warming a body, and spring wildflowers in bloom have a similar effect on the soul.
Unfortunately, as we wound up our hike, our luck with the weather expired as well, and rain finally began to fall. After such a warming morning walk, the rain, which stuck with us through lunch and into the afternoon, did little to daunt our intrepid crew. When we took the bus to Multnomah Falls, nobody hesitated to brave the wet conditions. We hit the trail once again.
By supper, nobody was complaining about the weather conditions. When our expedition leader asked who wanted to go for a four-and-a-half mile hike in the rain tomorrow, most of us raised our hands.
As the day wound down, the lounge filled with smiling faces, glasses of wine, and fake fires on the monitors. It seemed as though weather was, if not forgotten, relegated to “also ran” status. The story of the day ended up being one of adventure and discovery––great reasons for remembering a day!