At sunset last night, we began our journey eastward from the mouth of the Columbia River, passing by Portland in the predawn and reaching the Columbia River Gorge just after breakfast. Fierce winds of 35-40 mph blew from the east as we prepared to Zodiac ashore for hikes up Taylor Creek canyon, a visit to the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery, and world famous Multnomah Falls. After lunch, we passed through the locks at Bonneville Dam and then skirted the remains of a mega-landslide, known as the Bridge of the Gods, which once blocked the Columbia River. We anchored for the evening at the town of Hood River, Oregon.
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.