Our first full day en route aboard National Geographic Sea Lion and one full of activities around the Columbia River Gorge. Near Hood River, most of us visited the Western Antique Airplane and Automobile Museum, then took in a little time to explore town. Others went to the Draper Girls Family Farm, sampling fresh fruit and their excellent fresh-pressed pear cider. For the afternoon the whole group of explorers went to spectacular Multnomah Falls, then stopped by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, including adult white sturgeon and rainbow trout ponds, in a beautiful park-like setting. We returned to National Geographic Sea Lion just in time for cocktail hour and began our voyage down the Columbia towards Astoria, Oregon with sublime evening light on the cliffs of the lower gorge.
National Geographic Quest
Today we had the opportunity to experience the brisk wind on our faces and pelting of cool, occasional raindrops as we visited Cape Disappointment in Washington and the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon. This was nowhere near the level of discomfort the Corps of Discovery endurred when they explored these same grounds in the fall of 1805. As the Corps came west, they were excited to get to the Pacific Ocean, but that excitement was literally and figuratively dampened with the white-capped waters of the Columbia and miserable weather that initially pinned them and their canoes to the Washington shoreline at a campsite to be later named Dismal Nitch. A most notable feature was the sound created by 30-knot winds as they swept through the needled branches of Sitka spruce and the leafy limbs of Red Alder. We ended our day taking refuge on National Geographic Quest , warm, dried off and with a glass of wine to enhance our internal warmth. Our journey has been diverse and that has been reflected in the weather as well as the landscape and the flora and fauna that call the Pacific Northwest home.