The day dawned peachy, orangey, red and as pretty as the first sunrise ever! Then, as things do go aboard the Lindblad-National Geographic ships, the day just got better! We traversed two locks, many miles of water and a not inconsiderable amount of road. We sighted white pelicans, an osprey, a flicker, crows, magpies, mule deer, many cows, small birds, gulls and water fowl. Also some salmon and trout. We saw a great amount of beautiful shoreline here on Snake River, with the usual gallery growth of willows, Russian olive and cotton woods. As the sun rose and the shadows changed we tried to outdo each other counting the layers of Columbia River Flood Basalts. The various maximums in different places were 11, 17 and 23! I do NOT vouch for the accuracy of these numbers, I do vouch for the great beauty and variety of Columbia River flood basalts.

We took Zodiac tours and mostly viewed water birds. Grebes, geese of several varieties, ducks, coots, pelicans, a few birds of prey including ospreys and hawks and some fish. I was personally intrigued by the water plants and have realized how little I know about water plants oh, my, a whole new field of study! A tour by bus to Palouse Falls, to again see the amazing variety and beauty of the Columbia River’s flood basalts. We also discussed ice age flooding from Lake Missoula and the formation of glacial valleys and coulees.

Returning to the ship we discussed the differences between tipis and mat lodges, and how to build mats and therefore mat lodges. We also saw an animation of how the locks work both coming and going, upstream and down. All in all a great day of learning and seeing and the companionship of good and curious people.