From the National Geographic Sea Bird in the Pacific Northwest
Oct 12, 2012 - National Geographic Sea Bird
The Dalles, Oregon and Maryhill Museum, Washington
Today the weather contradicted the geographical weather description for the area we are exploring. The Dalles is an area of minimal rainfall, from 12 to 14 inches a year sitting in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, and what happened? It rained in the shadow. Well, it sprinkled half-heartedly.
This precipitation barely dampened our coats and definitely not our demeanor as we proceeded on to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and investigated not only the interior exhibits of natural history, Wasco County, the Oregon Trail, and Lewis and Clark, but the exterior grounds with their native landscaping as well.
The blustery gusts of wind continued to shape, sculpt, and encourage the branches of the Ponderosa Pine to continue aiming eastward. These are banner trees; growing in the pathway of near perpetual westerly winds; they have no choice but to yield and point to the rising sun. One giant sequoia, a remnant from homesteaders, was left with a bare trunk facing west, as though the back end of its hospital gown of foliage had been permanently parted by the breeze.
As contorted as the trees were our botanical photographers, we stalked the perfect image while we stooped, prowled and lay on the ground attempting the perfect shot with a unique perspective.
For the afternoon, Maryhill Museum rounded out our taste for the eclectic and we meandered the four levels of collections and strolled the sculpture garden.
John Day Lock was navigated before our evening recap and we lifted another 100 feet above sea level, our third of four locks thus far on the Columbia. Tonight and tomorrow we continue east towards our confluence with the Columbia and Snake Rivers and another four locks, taking us further and further east.