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 Lion
Our final full day of excursions was based in Astoria. The oldest continuously occupied settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, it has been a key access point for maritime trade for goods and natural resources throughout the Columbia River Basin. We have reached the westernmost limit of our journey, as it was for the Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1805–6. We began with a visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, then had a fine day out, visiting the historic site of Fort Clatsop, Fort Stevens, and the beach at the wreck of the Peter Iredale, an iron bark driven ashore during a storm in 1906. With unusually clear skies and a stiff offshore breeze, how fitting to conclude the day and our week of exploration with a sunset cruise out towards the mouth of the "Great River of the West." We safely returned, of course, avoiding any difficulties in an area known for its swirling currents and shifting sands, then started the overnight transit, up river, to our last port-of-call in Portland, Oregon.