It was evident from the lack of a line for coffee this morning that our day in Walla Walla yesterday was indeed a full one! After breakfast we were ferried over to the trailhead on Crow Butte by Zodiac, where we were scheduled to start our morning hikes. We were greeted by a beautiful short-grass prairie system on a beautiful, sunny day. The smell of big sage permeated the air as we began our hike, and we learned about native and invasive prairie vegetation and the critters that call this place home. This ecology receives so little rain that many of the plants have evolved strategies to retain and optimize the little moisture they do get. Pinacate stink beetles scurried around, parasitic wasps searched for orb-weaver spiders, and packrats slept in their dens. We even encountered a beautiful western rattlesnake sunning itself along the side of the trail!

After we made our way down to the campground in Crow Butte County Park, we received a lesson about the local (Horse Heaven Hills) wineries from our on-board wine expert, Eric Degerman and a bit of water rights history from our historian, Paddy. This afternoon we will be gifted a reading by Joy Harjo, our 23rd United States Poet Laureate. There is so much talent on our little ship!

Just before dinner we transited the locks at the John Day Dam and then this evening, we get to play Jeopardy! No wonder our guests sleep so well!

Photos by Jeff Campbell, Eric Degerman, Joan Papp, and Ginny Anderson