At 6:00 on this brisk morning as National Geographic Quest makes her way downstream on the Snake River, the constellation Orion stands high in the southern sky as the palest light of dawn glows on the eastern horizon. By 7:00 we are dropping anchor at the Palouse River’s confluence with the Snake. In the growing light we see, rising on either side of the river, dark, layered basalt cliffs trimmed out by the pale, buff-colored grasses of autumn. Here we make preparations for our day of adventures: visiting Palouse Falls where the water of the Palouse River leaps over a precipice of basalt and plunges 198 feet down its tumultuous green plunge pool below; kayaking on still water with Canada geese; taking Zodiac tours upstream into the Palouse River and into the rugged and beautiful Palouse Canyon, carved by Ice Age floods into bold cliffs that rise high above the river.