The sun rose in a nearly cloudless sky to find National Geographic Sea Bird at anchor beside Crow Butte Island. Overnight, we had passed through the lower Snake River and into the Columbia, “the Great River of the West.” This middle section of the Columbia was a major crossroads of fishing and trade for the people who lived here, even thousands of years before Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery passed through. Uplands such as Crow Butte were sacred areas to the local Umatilla tribe, and with their blessing, it is now protected as a park and campground. After morning hikes in the park, we continued our downriver journey alongside layered cliffs of basalt, dry grassland hills, and irrigated orchards and vineyards. This is a major transportation corridor to the West Coast with road, rail, and barge traffic. We dropped nearly 200 feet through dam/locks until we were less than 100 feet above sea level as we anchored opposite The Dalles, Oregon.