We woke up in the picturesque city of Hood River, the wind surfing capital of the United States. As the mist burned off and the sun emerged from the arid upriver horizon, guests were treated to a fantastic view from Rowena Crest, a magnificent overlook perched from the top of the high bluffs south of the Columbia River. A dramatic landscape stretched across the foreground; millions of years of basalt flows awed guests while offering spectacular views of the Southern Cascade Mountains up and down the Columbia River.
Leaving the Rowena overlook, we trekked through the Moiser Tunnels along the Historic Columbia River Highway, constructed in 1922 by Samuel C. Lancaster and Sam Hill. This 4.5-mile section steered guests through a wonderful corridor of wildlife, intense basaltic features, and expansive Columbia River views. We were fortunate to view a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, Lewis’s woodpecker, and peregrine falcons. One excited guest was able to add a Cassin’s finch to her life list.
At mid-day, we enjoyed a beautiful farm-to-table lunch at Crag Rags Hut, headquarters of the Columbia Gorge’s search and rescue organization. After lunch, guests traveled through the “fruit loop,” stopping at Draper Girls Farm and Orchard. Here we experienced fields of flowers and squash, sampled apples and pears, and even tasted several varieties of home-pressed apple and pear ciders.
The group then stopped at the Western Antique Aeronautical and Automobile Museum, or WAAAM, where they marveled at a stunning collection of planes, automobiles, motorcycles, military equipment, and restored vehicles. Almost all of the aircraft and vehicles are fully functional, including a 1916 Curtiss Flyer.
Returning to the ship, guests spotted a bald eagle off the deck of the ship while they relaxed with a cocktail. After reliving the eventful day with a lively recap, we were given an engaging talk by guest lecturer, Dr. Roy Mink, charting the incredible story, “Columbia River Geology and the Great Floods.”