During the night we navigated from the Snake River and turned south onto the Columbia River. This morning we woke in front of McNary Lock and Dam. McNary is the fifth lock of our trip, after having traversed four along the Snake River. It is also our first lock on the Columbia River as we continue our navigation westward. We are still in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains and the defining desert-steppe vegetation. This afternoon we had a chance for a short stroll at Crow Butte County Park to get a closer look at the classic vegetation, sagebrush and other western plant species. We closed our day with a sampling of the local wines from Washington and Oregon vineyards. A flavorful way to end another day navigating the great river of the west.
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.