Sep 23, 2019 - National Geographic Quest
Today was one of transition here in the Pacific Northwest. On this autumnal equinox, we traveled from one season to the next, from the last day of summer to the first day of fall. And we traversed climates as well as well, crossing from the arid and treeless Columbia River Plateau to the lush and green temperate rain forest surrounding the city of Portland, Oregon.
During our daylong trek by motor coach, we stopped at several points of interest along the way that reminded us of other, earlier transitions in past days.
Our first stop was at the Patit Creek Campsite near Dayton, Washington. Here the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped overnight in May of 1806 as they headed eastward to St. Louis after wintering at the mouth of the Columbia River. From an elevated vantage point, we enjoyed identifying the silhouettes of our favorite members of this extraordinary 33-member expedition.
Next up was a visit to the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. We recalled here the tragic affair of those killed in an attack by the Cayuse people in 1847. We tried to envision the hardships of the hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who, in subsequent decades, made the arduous journey past this mission outpost on the Oregon Trail. We gathered around a covered wagon “prairies schooner” and tried to grasp the enormity of the challenges faced by the pioneers who risked everything for the chance of a better life for themselves and for future generations. Some of us then climbed a nearby hill for a commanding view of the surrounding landscape; others lingered for a moment of quite reflection at the mass grave of those killed in the Whitman Massacre.
After a delicious lunch in Walla Walla, we continued our journey to Portland. Just before dinnertime, we glimpsed the object of our desire: the sleek and welcoming National Geographic Quest. Our transition was complete!
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