On the penultimate day of our trip, we awoke to the winds of the Columbia Gorge whipping downriver. We were finally deep into the gorge, and it was showing its fury. Winds gusting up to 30 knots did not deter us from our morning plans. We shuttled to shore as the day warmed up and the sun hit the waters of Lake Bonneville. One group headed for Beacon Rock to climb the ancient volcanic plug. The prominent basalt rock is all that remains of a volcano as the more easily eroded mountain around it was worn down by the Columbia River and the glacial outburst floods at the end of the last Ice Age. Climbing is not for the faint of heart, as the many switchbacks cling to the edge of the massive cliffs. Another group began the morning at Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in Oregon. Multnomah is a spectacular two tier falls with water tumbling straight down more than 500 feet to the pool below. The water then meanders down to the lower falls. It's a stunning sight and one that should not be missed when in the Columbia River Gorge. During our busy morning, we also had the opportunity to visit Bonneville Hatchery and see how the hatchery works, including raceways filled with Chinook parr and spawning fall salmon returning to the hatchery and attempting to jump up into the spawning pools.
After our busy morning, we returned to the ship and watched kite surfers and windsurfers take on the three-foot wave chop created by the powerful winds of the gorge while we ate our lunch. We spent the afternoon cruising down the gorge. We navigated the final lock of our journey at Bonneville Dam, and the crew celebrated with the Last Lock Ceremony. After a successful traverse of the lock, we continued downstream towards Astoria, taking in the sights on both the Oregon and Washington sides, including another glimpse of Multnomah Falls plunging towards the river.