As the sun rose across the Snake River, a magenta glow began to illuminate National Geographic Sea Lion as it approached Little Goose Dam and Lock, eventually reaching the Palouse-Snake River confluence. After transiting the lock, National Geographic Sea Lion set anchor and guests set out by Zodiac for transfers to Palouse Falls and cruises up the River. The majesty of Palouse Falls did not disappoint, highlighting sculptural mastery of enormous Missoula Floods over 15,000 years ago. Guests on Zodiacs cruised up the Palouse River spotting porcupines, mule deer, coots, and cormorants while penetrating deep into the deep Palouse River Canyon. Guests finished their adventure paddling the confluence of the Palouse and Snake River Basins, intimately exploring retired Lyon’s Cable Ferry while navigating great bulrush and cattails along the mouth of the Palouse River.
National Geographic Sea Bird
Our morning began alongside the dock in our final port of Clarkston, Washington with a glowing sky and flocks of migrating waterfowl inscribing Vs through the air. After breakfast, guests boarded 34-foot-long jet boats for an excursion along the Snake River to its confluence with the Salmon River, fondly known as the River of No Return. Along our journey we saw bighorn sheep, great blue herons, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, Canada geese, petroglyphs, wild turkeys, columnar basalt, swimming mule deer, and a bald eagle flying with a large salmon. We also enjoyed fortuitous timing and witnessed a fisherman hook an eight-foot-long sturgeon. After a long battle, he finally pulled it to the shallows for his whole family (and us) to see. As evening approached, we settled into the lounge for our final series of educational talks, featuring Nez Perce storyteller James Spencer and winemaker Coco Umiker, both of whom illuminated important contexts of the beautiful basin. Following our wine tasting with Coco, guests set off for their final on-board dinner. After dinner, we bid farewell through photos. Our photo instructor showcased a mosaic of moments from the week, otherwise known as the Guest Slideshow. Included in the slideshow were praying mantises, birds of prey, sunsets, and staff members being goofy, as per usual. We couldn’t be more grateful for our time together, all of us, during this last week of October 2022.