Morning was chilly aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, so much so that our morning stretchers had to begin their day with exercise in the forward lounge. A gorgeous layer of steam formed as the sun crept over the hillsides of the channeled scablands and began to thaw the landscape. Passengers gathered in the forward lounge for a series of presentations following breakfast. Among the big hits of the morning was Linda Burback’s discussion of edible botanicals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, many of which are familiar to us after traveling in this country. Following our talks, we bundled up and prepared for our first true adventure of the day: traveling through the Lower Monumental Lock in Zodiacs. Thanks to the careful planning and execution of our bridge, deck, and expedition teams, we successfully raised the requisite 100 feet from water level aboard our rubber craft.
Following lunch we anchored in the Palouse River for an afternoon of canyon exploring. Many cruised in Zodiacs in search of waterfowl. We are privileged to be exploring the Columbia and Snake Rivers during a time of migration along the Pacific Flyway. Mallards, buffleheads, great blue herons, great egrets, bald eagles, and American coots patrolled the river. Guests snapped photographs as the birds dived and dabbled for morsels while naturalists explained their individual behaviors. As half the group cruised, the rest took a bus ride to an overlook of Palouse Falls. The state falls of Washington, the falls are a grand natural spectacle that always impresses. Historian Doug Crispin regaled guests with stories of the scablands on the rides to and from. Next we sail for Clarkston, the point at which our journey will end, ready for a final day of adventure.