Palouse River

Oct 01, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

The day started with crisp air in a new landscape. Overnight we traveled up the Snake River to its confluence with the Palouse. This beautiful river is the main tributary of the Snake, which in turn is the main tributary to the Columbia. National Geographic Quest anchored at Lyon’s Ferry park where we would depart for the day’s activities.

We rode buses to Palouse falls, a dramatic and beautiful waterfall in an amazing landscape. Some of us explored the area via kayak, paddling around the calm waters and taking in the wonderful morning. Zodiac cruises showed us further up the Palouse river, exposing its winding path and stunning walls. All these activities brought us up close to the basalt flows in all their forms: talus slopes, columnar shapes, and entablature for example. Wildlife was abound during our day: rafts of coots, geese, and ducks took advantage of the morning where hawks, eagles, and ravens came out with the sun. Some of us even saw several mink walking along the log booms!

We had a delicious lunch aboard National Geographic Quest followed by a series of presentations and events, the highlight perhaps being a margarita bar on the sun deck during a beautiful afternoon! As the day went on we approached the Little Goose dam. On this voyage we’ve gotten to see many different dams and locks, this transit would be our last one during daylight. Once secured we were quickly raised around one hundred feet. It’s always a humbling feeling being deep in the massive locks, and to think on our voyage we’ve traveled approximately 730 feet vertically.

It was another great day on the river, tonight we’ll enjoy another marvelous dinner and look forward to tomorrow.

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About the Author

Steve Backus


Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

About the Videographer

Sarah Culler

Video Chronicler

Sarah was raised on a multi-generational family dairy farm, established circa 1815 in Lucas, Ohio. Consequently, her first paying job was milking cows! Rewarding as it was to get paid for the first time, she found her passion behind the lens of a camera. Growing up on the farm gave her not only a strong work ethic but also the love of nature and being outdoors. 

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