Today aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, we awoke alongside the dock in Hood River, Oregon to partially cloudy skies and pleasant temperatures. We boarded our trusty motor coaches driven by bus drivers Paul and Molly. We headed west through the town of Hood River and crossed over into Washington State at the Bridge of the Gods. Continuing west, we enjoyed good views of the Bonneville Dam from the bus windows. Our main objective for the morning was to enjoy a hike up Beacon Rock. Along the hike, we observed many different plants that are new to us on this voyage. Moss and lichens covered the tree branches, and we were beginning to get the impression that this is a very wet place. Some of the more ambitious and agile members of our expedition made it all the way up the 57 switchbacks to the top of Beacon Rock. Dramatic, dark clouds teased us with rain, although we never experienced much of it during the morning.
Back on the ship, we enjoyed an excellent lunch prepared by our talented galley team. In the afternoon, we set out to visit Multnomah Falls. This waterfall spans tiers of basalt cliff bands, collectively forming the tallest waterfall in Oregon, at over 600 feet. Some of the more ambitious hikers took the switchbacks to the upper falls. The mist from the waterfall provided a close look at the falling water. While at the falls, we experienced a brief episode of snow, or sleet, and moderate and continuous rainfall. In the hills beyond, we observed the effect elevation has on temperature and precipitation - the hills were covered in snow. At the base of the falls, some guests experimented with “Live Mode” on their smart phones to create creative renderings of the waterfall on their smart phone cameras, mimicking a long exposure technique.
Back on the ship, we headed downriver towards the Bonneville Lock, which marks the last lock of our voyage. In the evening, we had an action-packed recap with mini-presentations that spanned the history of Lewis and Clark to salmon fisheries. Although this marks the last day of our voyage, we hope our guests are leaving with a new appreciation for the fantastic scenery, rich cultural history, and varied geography of the region that is the Pacific Northwest.