Today was spent exploring the region of the Columbia River Gorge, beginning with shuttles to Oregon’s Cascade Locks. Once everyone was ashore, we boarded buses to take us to our desired locations. Some went hiking at Wahchella Falls, others directly to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, and then to Multnomah Falls. A delicious lunch awaited us at the Crag Rat Hut, then it was off on a tour of the Fruit Loop Trail, traveling through a variety of orchards, with a stop at The Draper Girls Farm. Due to an incoming storm, we headed back to the ship a little early, and shuttled back to the ship, which had to reposition due to strong winds.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Our morning began alongside the dock in our final port of Clarkston, Washington with a glowing sky and flocks of migrating waterfowl inscribing Vs through the air. After breakfast, guests boarded 34-foot-long jet boats for an excursion along the Snake River to its confluence with the Salmon River, fondly known as the River of No Return. Along our journey we saw bighorn sheep, great blue herons, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, Canada geese, petroglyphs, wild turkeys, columnar basalt, swimming mule deer, and a bald eagle flying with a large salmon. We also enjoyed fortuitous timing and witnessed a fisherman hook an eight-foot-long sturgeon. After a long battle, he finally pulled it to the shallows for his whole family (and us) to see. As evening approached, we settled into the lounge for our final series of educational talks, featuring Nez Perce storyteller James Spencer and winemaker Coco Umiker, both of whom illuminated important contexts of the beautiful basin. Following our wine tasting with Coco, guests set off for their final on-board dinner. After dinner, we bid farewell through photos. Our photo instructor showcased a mosaic of moments from the week, otherwise known as the Guest Slideshow. Included in the slideshow were praying mantises, birds of prey, sunsets, and staff members being goofy, as per usual. We couldn’t be more grateful for our time together, all of us, during this last week of October 2022.