National Geographic Sea Birdwas abuzz with anticipation for the day’s adventures from the moment Expedition Leader Anna Kayes made her morning announcement. Following breakfast, guests and staff poured into the lounge to enjoy Historian Doug Crispin’s presentation on the historic Columbia River Highway. Crispin wove a compelling narrative, complete with century-old, hand-painted slides from the roadmaster during the 1920s. Thereafter, we filed off the ship and into The Dalles. A coach awaited at the city’s dock, and we were taken to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. At the center, guests ventured around the ground’s native pollinator garden and through its museum halls. We were even treated to an impromptu falconry display when the center’s raptor rehabilitator displayed and fielded questions about a red-tailed hawk.

For lunch, we visited Crag Rat Hut, an amazing venue in the foothills of Mt. Hood. We dined on an amazing, locally-sourced lunch featuring foraged mushroom polenta and brined pork cheeks. This lunch is always a hit, and indeed, it was today. With full bellies, we headed for Mosier, Oregon, where walks along the scenic highway were the main attraction of the afternoon. From a naturalist’s perspective, this was a real treat. We witnessed two red-breasted sapsuckers boring holes into a tree. Upon vacating, the holes were drained by Anna’s hummingbirds. We departed our hikes, and after a brief stop at the Rowena Crest Overlook, we were bound for The Dalles to board National Geographic Sea Bird once more.