The second day of our journey began at the scenic mouth of the Palouse River Canyon. A steep gorge of basalt carved out by the Ice Age floods, the Palouse River Canyon makes for an impressive introduction to the Channeled Scablands, the scarred landscape of Eastern Washington named by J. Harlen Bretz, the geologist known for his theory of cataclysmic flood events that occurred 12,000 years ago. One half of the guests boarded a shuttle to the famous Palouse Falls, while the other half boarded our Zodiacs to venture upriver into the canyon. Both groups were greeted with spectacular views of basalt cliffs and big brush sage, as well as vibrant birdlife and marmots sunning themselves on the cliffsides.

After the groups swapped to get the most of both experiences, all returned to the ship for a hearty lunch and a brief respite before heading back to shore at Lyons Ferry State Park. They had the option to kayak or go birding with our natural history staff. Once all recreation had been wrapped up, National Geographic Sea Bird weighed anchor and headed downriver to transit the lower monumental dam.