The first full day was an exciting one as we boarded jet boats from the dock in Clarkston, Washington. We would be transiting south on the Snake River aboard two specially designed boats that are perfectly suited for the difficult navigation of the river. The Snake River has hundreds of rapids and shallow areas that require a special kind of vessel. Considered the “jet boat capital of the world,” Lewiston and Clarkston is home to a huge fleet of these specialty aquatic vehicles. Our jet boat operators deftly navigated the river and brought us deep into the Snake River to view all the sights it has to offer. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a wide range of birdlife greeted us along the way. Golden eagles soared high above. Bald eagles perched on trees, and we saw a variety of other birds of prey along the way. Columnar basalt and other incredible geological features greeted us at every twist and turn, highlighting the incredible formation of the river and her breathtaking banks. After returning, National Geographic Quest left the dock to begin our journey along the Snake River en route to the Columbia and on our way to the coast.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Our morning began alongside the dock in our final port of Clarkston, Washington with a glowing sky and flocks of migrating waterfowl inscribing Vs through the air. After breakfast, guests boarded 34-foot-long jet boats for an excursion along the Snake River to its confluence with the Salmon River, fondly known as the River of No Return. Along our journey we saw bighorn sheep, great blue herons, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, Canada geese, petroglyphs, wild turkeys, columnar basalt, swimming mule deer, and a bald eagle flying with a large salmon. We also enjoyed fortuitous timing and witnessed a fisherman hook an eight-foot-long sturgeon. After a long battle, he finally pulled it to the shallows for his whole family (and us) to see. As evening approached, we settled into the lounge for our final series of educational talks, featuring Nez Perce storyteller James Spencer and winemaker Coco Umiker, both of whom illuminated important contexts of the beautiful basin. Following our wine tasting with Coco, guests set off for their final on-board dinner. After dinner, we bid farewell through photos. Our photo instructor showcased a mosaic of moments from the week, otherwise known as the Guest Slideshow. Included in the slideshow were praying mantises, birds of prey, sunsets, and staff members being goofy, as per usual. We couldn’t be more grateful for our time together, all of us, during this last week of October 2022.