Clarkston, Washington

Oct 07, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Bird


The confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers conjures images of Lewis & Clark on their way to the sea in October 1805. Clarkston, once known as Jawbone Flats, is surrounded by rolling basalt hills, crowned by wheat fields.

From this scenic cradle in the Palouse country, guests boarded jet boats for a day’s exploration of the Snake River’s fabled Hells Canyon. Despite morning clouds the hills and river were busy: Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep; wild turkeys; mule deer, osprey, Canada geese, Great Blue heron; and ancient petroglyphs (Native rock art) were seen and photographed. After exploring the confluence of the wild Snake and Salmon Rivers, a farmer’s buffet lunch was enjoyed at a riverside ranch.

Upon returning to Clarkston in full sunshine, guests boarded motor coaches for a visit to the Nez Perce National Historical Park at Lapwai, Idaho. En route to Nez Perce guests drove through Lewiston’s old tree-lined downtown. Idaho’s first capital, at 750 feet above sea level, Lewiston is Idaho’s lowest point of elevation. The town is named for Meriwether Lewis, and its northern boundary is the Clearwater River, the Corps of Discovery’s first downhill water route to the sea.

This evening fall colors, scenic wonders, and good cheer were saluted at the Captain’s dinner.

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About the Author

Jeff Phillippe

Expedition Leader

Jeff was raised in upstate New York and completed his B.A. in geography at Middlebury College in Vermont.  He attained his master’s degree in water resource science at Oregon State University where his research focused on glacier hydrology in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. He spent most of his 20's teaching Earth sciences and geography at the secondary and university level, while taking his summers off to lead wilderness and climbing expeditions throughout the continental U.S., Alaska, and Canada.

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