The slimmest of crescent moons hangs low in the east as National Geographic Quest makes her way downstream on the Snake River, bound for its confluence with the Palouse River. We are in the heart of the Columbia River Basalt Province, and layer upon layer of basaltic lava flows step up, forming high cliffs on either side of the river. The buff grasses of autumn contrast beautifully with the brown-weathered basalts. A pair of great blue herons fly high above the river as the rising sun turns the few clouds vivid pink and orange. Soon we arrive at the mouth of the Palouse River and begin our day of adventures, visiting Palouse Falls and taking Zodiac cruises up the river. We also launch our fleet of yellow kayaks, a popular option.
National Geographic Sea Bird
O! the Joy! Hmm, we needed to rethink that one this morning, as we woke to a rainy and blustery Astoria. What this weather did give us was a taste of historic authenticity in relation to the Corps of Discovery and their experiences here in the winter of 1805-06. Our first activity this morning was amongst the magnificent exhibits of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. This world-class facility tells the story of the mighty Columbia and the treacherous results to mariners when the river shoves against the incoming tides of the Pacific Ocean. As our day progressed, we crossed the Astoria-Megler bridge to the state of Washington. At the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center the winds continued but the rain subsided, and we enjoyed a sun-drenched afternoon with an option to walk a forest trail down to Waikiki Beach. The sun and sand were a siren to us and we made an additional stop at the North Jetty to get a water-level view of the waves crashing against the rocks of the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. The day turned out anything but disappointing.