There’s a specific window in springtime along the southern border of Washington State when green is no longer simply a color, it’s an entire species; shades so multifaceted that it feels like an injustice to lump them all under the same quick name.

As National Geographic Sea Bird embarked on her final culinary river trip of the season, we ventured into Hells Canyon on just the right bluebird, cotton ball-cloud sky day, that we could have painted an entire landscape using variations of green. Throw in the bright yellow blossoms of arrow leaf balsamroot, brilliantly fuchsia Snake River phlox, a cream-bodied bighorn sheep taking advantage of the fresh spring shoots, and the silky, changing colors of the Snake River, and our eyes were feasting just as much as we were.