At 0600 hours, with the light of dawn barely perceptible, the National Geographic Quest makes her way upstream on the Snake River, bound for its confluence with the Palouse River. A waning crescent moon stands high overhead and just below it is the constellation of Orion, the Mighty Hunter. Those of us up early and on the bow are lucky to hear coyotes howling on the portside shore. At least two coyotes seem to be having a conversation and it is easy to understand why Native Americans called them “song dogs.” Soon after dawn, we arrive at the mouth of the Palouse River and begin our day of adventures, visiting Palouse Falls and taking Zodiac cruises up the river. We also launched our fleet of kayaks, a popular option.
National Geographic Sea Lion
The day dawned pink and peach, blue and grey. Like most days aboard National Geographic Sea Lion , things continued to get better! We had a very interesting presentation in the morning hours by Kirt Kempter about plate tectonics and the Columbia River Flood basalts that formed so much of what we see and talk about. I am a layer counter! I like to know how many basalt events I can see at one time. Later in the day we listened to a presentation by Lincoln Pratson about global warming and some unique ways that are being developed to sequester carbon from both the atmosphere and from the ocean water using natural materials and processes like olivine! Some fascinating ideas and processes I had never heard of. We spent the afternoon hiking about Crow Butte which is now an island in the Columbia River although it used to be a peninsula. The terrain is shrub steppe which is a term for what I used to call sagebrush desert. I really like the term shrub steppe, I very much like the term. I find it much more descriptive than desert. When I think of desert I think of sand dunes. A very good day for all!