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
In the morning, passengers aboard National Geographic Sea Bird visited the beautiful Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. The falls, located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, provided a stunning backdrop for the excursion. Guests were thrilled to see the waterfall in person. It is considered one of the most beautiful and popular natural attractions in the region. The falls were particularly breathtaking due to recent rainfall in the area, which created a misty, ethereal atmosphere around the waterfall. Perhaps the most unbelievable part of the morning was the weather; many of us wore shorts as we admired the snowcapped peaks beneath warm, bluebird skies. After the falls, we navigated downhill toward the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Named for the adventurous Benjamin Bonneville, the hatchery’s most famous inhabitant is a guy of adventure himself. Herman the Sturgeon is over 80 years old, and he has survived the construction of a dam, pollution, a kidnapping attempt, a stabbing, and even an explosion. Despite his age and hardships, Herman remains a beloved icon of the region, and efforts continue to protect and conserve his species. After a delicious lunch, we hiked the Mosier tunnels, where guests were excited to go birdwatching and learn about the rich history of the tunnels. Much like Herman the Sturgeon, those trapped in the tunnels during the blizzard of 1921 endured great hardships, but they, too, have become regional symbols. Soon after, the ship cruised toward Portland for disembarkation. As we made our way along the river, passengers were treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Portland skyline. Naturalists Jesse Humbert and Larry Prussin provided commentary on the history and culture of the region, pointing out landmarks and answering questions from the passengers. As the ship drew closer to Portland and our expedition draws closer to its finale, the memories made on this final day are sure to stick with us for years to come.