We awoke this morning to the beautiful sunlit hills surrounding the Snake River in Clarkston, WA, for the final day of activities on our expedition. After breakfast, we gathered onto a jet boat for a fast-paced adventure 57 miles up Hells Canyon! On our way up, we stopped at Cache Creek, where Oregon, Washington, and Idaho all converge. We continued upstream past the Salmon River before turning around at the Imnaha River convergence. On our way back, we stopped at the Garden Creek Ranch Nature Conservancy for lunch. We saw sandstone deposits from ancient oceans and petroglyphs from thousands of years ago. Passing through the narrowest part of Hells Canyon — only 25 feet wide! — we saw a group of bighorn sheep. We also saw golden eagles, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, bufflehead ducks, mule deer, and possibly a brief bobcat viewing! When we finally returned to National Geographic Sea Lion mid-afternoon, we enjoyed sunny weather, fun stories, and some drinks together. We had entertaining, informative, and inspirational stories and songs from JR Spencer, an elder from the local Nez Perce tribe. Afterwards, Coco Umiker joined us on board to share tastes of her local wines and stories about life as an artisan winemaker. Finally, to top off a perfect day, we enjoyed the Captain’s Dinner in the dining room and the guest slideshow in the forward lounge. Tired, happy, and content, we trickled off to bed for a final night on board before heading home early the next morning.
National Geographic Sea Bird
O! the Joy! Hmm, we needed to rethink that one this morning, as we woke to a rainy and blustery Astoria. What this weather did give us was a taste of historic authenticity in relation to the Corps of Discovery and their experiences here in the winter of 1805-06. Our first activity this morning was amongst the magnificent exhibits of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. This world-class facility tells the story of the mighty Columbia and the treacherous results to mariners when the river shoves against the incoming tides of the Pacific Ocean. As our day progressed, we crossed the Astoria-Megler bridge to the state of Washington. At the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center the winds continued but the rain subsided, and we enjoyed a sun-drenched afternoon with an option to walk a forest trail down to Waikiki Beach. The sun and sand were a siren to us and we made an additional stop at the North Jetty to get a water-level view of the waves crashing against the rocks of the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. The day turned out anything but disappointing.