A meeting place for Native Americans. A crossroads for missionaries and settlers on the Oregon Trail. The convergence of Pacific Northwest weather systems. A confluence on the Columbia River. The Dalles has been the center of culture in the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. And it continues to be. This time, it is a gathering place for guests on National Geographic Sea Lion.

We summited Rowena Crest, perched at 700 feet above the Columbia River and looking east into the transition between the temperate rainforest to the arid steppe dry landscape into eastern Washington and Northeast Oregon. Guests enjoyed walking along the Columbia River Historic Highway, hurling down its 100-ft curves and 5% grades, to arrive at Mosier Tunnels. We hiked all morning and enjoyed remarkable views before boarding Zodiacs back to the ship.

After lunch, guests visited the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and enjoyed interactive exhibits on prehistoric and more recent history in the Columbia Basin. Afterward, we visited Rock Fort, a site used by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery on both outbound and return journeys. Returning to the ship, guests enjoyed recap and dinner followed by an expert talk by Julia Huggins on, “Sculpting the Landscape.”