An overcast morning greeted National Geographic Sea Bird as it perched alongside Lyons Ferry State Park at the confluence of the Palouse River. Guests departed by Zodiac to Lyons Ferry to meet the coach for Palouse Falls State Park. As the first Zodiacs departed, the sun broke through the clouds to shine down on the ship. The sun continued to shine while guests visited the Palouse Falls overlook. The spring melt was evident as the falls frothed with water. A variety of animals were spotted at the park, including ravens, raptors, and even the yellow-bellied marmots that have taken a liking to the watered lawns. After returning to Lyons Park, guests split up to go birdwatching or kayaking around the park and the surrounding marsh. After lunch, Zodiacs departed for the headwaters of the Palouse River. To access the river delta, drivers needed to navigate through the areas of shallow sediment deposited by the ancient Missoula floods. Zodiacs passed the Marmes Rockshelter, an important finding in human history that demonstrates evidence of trading and cremation in early humans. As the Zodiacs moved up the river, a large flock of American white pelicans were discovered. We watched as the large birds glided above our heads. As the ship departed Lyons Ferry and moved toward the Snake River, the evening transitioned into presentations and supper.
National Geographic Quest
Sailing upstream on the Snake River between dark, rugged cliffs of basalt trimmed out with the golden grasses of autumn, we arrive at our destination and anchor at the confluence of the Snake and the Palouse Rivers. On this brisk and beautiful day, we Zodiac to shore and set out on motor coaches to the beautiful Palouse Falls. This is where the Palouse River flows over a precipice of basalt and plummets into its roiling green plunge pool 198 feet below. We have plenty of time here for strolling and photographing the stunning scenery from the falls to the magnificent Palouse Canyon downstream. Under a partially cloudy sky this afternoon, the gorgeous Palouse Canyon awaits us, and we launch our Zodiacs for a ride upstream on the Palouse River. Bold basalt cliffs rise steeply on either side of the river where eagles soar overhead, and we keep an eye out for deer, coyotes, pheasants, and other wildlife in the area. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of our journey, and the scenery is unsurpassable.