This morning aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, we awoke at anchor near the confluence of the Snake River. After a hearty breakfast prepared by our skilled galley, we boarded Zodiacs for another great day of learning and exploring. Our shuttle to shore this morning involved a short journey on the Snake River.

We boarded the coaches at Sacajawea State Park and headed to the Whitman Mission National Historical Site at Waiilatpu. At this site, we gained some insights into the complex and tragic story of the first mid-19th century missionaries to the Oregon territory and the subsequent conflicts with the Cayuse tribe. We also enjoyed great weather and walks around the historical site, including a short climb up a nearby hill to get a view of the region, which is characterized by agriculture.

After the historical site, we had a chance to visit Three Rivers Winery and sample some of the wines produced onsite. We learned that the grape vines had suffered a nearly full die-off this winter due to very cold temperatures. Both of our bus groups met up for lunch at the winery, which was catered by a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we made a visit to the Fort Walla Walla Museum, which offers a glimpse into the past. Of particular interest is the “pioneer village,” which has a collection of 1850s cabins that were relocated to the museum property from various points around the area. Having a look inside these buildings gave us a glimpse of what life may have been like for the early white settlers in the region.

Shortly after embarking National Geographic Sea Bird, our deck team pulled up the anchor, and the bridge began our navigation up the Snake River towards the first of four dams.

Photographers: Kelly M Coursey Gray & Rob Edwards