Today began our first full day of exploration. The weather started cloudy but morphed into a warm, spring-like sunny day. Our stops included the historical Fort Stevens, a walk on the sandy beach to the wreck of the Peter Iredale, an investigation of the wonders held in the Columbia River Maritime Museum, a short visit to view the barking sea lions on the pier, and a stroll through the woods at Fort Clatsop. It was a diverse and interesting day, all with the prevailing threat of sunburn.
National Geographic Sea Lion
From our docking in the Dalles, Oregon, guests from National Geographic Sea Lion traveled in buses along the Columbia River Historic Highway up to Rowena Crest. Commanding views from Rowena Crest highlighted the rapid change in vegetation from the temperate rain forest climate to a semi-arid steppe climate. Leaving Rowena Crest, guests next arrived at the Mosier Tunnels. Built in the early 1920s, the tunnels incorporate designs from Europe and connect the west-to-east passage on the Columbia River Historic Highway. One group of guests hiked 4.5 miles east while the others hiked west up to the tunnels and walked back. Along the way our guests spotted turkey vultures, Steller’s jay, scrub jay, and a variety of plants beginning to wind down for autumn and winter. The afternoon started with a visit to the Columbia Discovery Center; we enjoyed a raptor presentation, as well as fascinating exhibitions on the natural and cultural history throughout the Columbia River Basin Gorge. Leaving the museum, guests were invited to visit Rock Fort where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped on both their outbound and return journeys from the Pacific Ocean. Next we returned to National Geographic Sea Lion , where guests joined staff on the bow as we transited The Dalles Lock and Dam. Afterwards we enjoyed cocktail hour, recap, and dinner. We finished the evening with an expert presentation on smartphone photography from our certified photo instructor, Chelsea Mayer.