Come 6:15 a.m. – in the very earliest light of dawn – the constellation Orion, the Mighty Hunter, studded the southern sky just below a waning gibbous moon. Overnight we had sailed from the Snake River onto the mighty Columbia, the Great River of the West. We entered the lock at McNary Dam and down we went. The great barn-door-style gates split before us, and we continued our way downriver. In the morning, we enjoyed presentations by our naturalist Ivan and photo instructor Linda. Our afternoon destination was Crow Butte Island where we hiked and launched our kayaks for some quality paddling. Crow Butte Island has an arid sagebrush steppe climate with many interesting plants adapted to this environment.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Today began our first full day of exploration. The weather started cloudy but morphed into a warm, spring-like sunny day. Our stops included the historical Fort Stevens, a walk on the sandy beach to the wreck of the Peter Iredale , an investigation of the wonders held in the Columbia River Maritime Museum, a short visit to view the barking sea lions on the pier, and a stroll through the woods at Fort Clatsop. It was a diverse and interesting day, all with the prevailing threat of sunburn.