We started our beautiful fall morning anchored in the Columbia River at The Dalles, Oregon. After a short Zodiac ride, we boarded buses for Rowena Crest Viewpoint near Mosier, Oregon. From this site, at a height of nearly 700 feet, we had superb views of a five-mile stretch of the Columbia River, plus the notable twin bridges at the mouth of the Klickitat River and the town of Lyle.
From there, we traveled about seven miles to the Mosier Twin Tunnels, a reconstructed portion of the Historic Columbia River Highway 30. The tunnel is only about a mile from the trailhead, and it traverses basalt cliffs strewn with rock fields, ponderosa pines, and Oregon white oaks. We also had more superb views of the Columbia River, 18 Mile Island, and Coyote Wall. The trailhead area is set in a large bend of the Columbia River and was sculpted by Ice Age floods.
After another wonderful lunch aboard the ship, we headed out to the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. They had a live raptor presentation and exhibits of the cargo of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the struggles of the Oregon Trail pioneers, and prehistoric megafauna. Our final stop was the Bonneville Fish Hatchery near Historic Bonneville Lock and Dam. We were able to see the sturgeon pond, its iconic resident Herman the Sturgeon, and the salmon crowding pens.
During our Zodiac ride back to the boat, the clouds parted just long enough to give us a view of landmark Mount Hood covered in fresh snow after some recent storm activity. Just a few days ago, Mount Hood was showing a great deal of bare rock after the summer heat, so it was a treat to see the mountain regaining its winter look.
After another fine dinner, we enjoyed a presentation from our staff geologist about geology and the Ice Age floods, and we finished the evening with a transit of The Dalles Lock and Dam.