Here we are in The Dalles, Oregon. It is not ‘Dalles’ or ‘Dallas,’ but rather ‘The Dalles,’ one of the most historic towns in the state. It was called Le Dalle by the early French trappers, which means flat topped rock or flagstone, as seen in the flat-topped basalt islands that surround the Highway 197 bridge. After dinner last night, we transited two dams, the John Day Lock and Dam and The Dalles Lock and Dam just before sunrise. The Dalles Dam has had the greatest impact on the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest. When it was closed on March 10, 1957, many native locations were submerged behind the dam.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Meandering up the Snake River opened a new chapter to our voyage. Golden grasslands interrupted by towering basalt columns filled the horizon. As daybreak crested, the peaks before us were illuminated in a soft golden hue. The landscape drew us in and beckoned us to explore. After a short and scenic bus ride, we arrived at Palouse Falls State Park. While the impressive 198 ft waterfall was clearly the main attraction, walks in the area provided stunning views of the channeled scablands that we’re traveling through. It was incredible to imagine the events that sculpted the land before us. The raw power of the Earth was on full display. For the afternoon, we set out in expedition landing craft and shot up the Palouse River. The rich riparian banks held an abundance of wildlife. Songbirds flitted about while waterfowl gave way. Raptors circled overhead, looking for their next meal. Above a set of steep cliffs, two golden eagles circled, icons of this open land. Perhaps the most exciting moment was when a coyote ran up the slopes right in front of us, posing to take in the odd creatures visiting its home. The river and its tributaries continue to offer a vast variety of experiences to us. As the final day of our voyage approaches, we settle into the night in awe of what we have seen thus far.