Here we are in The Dalles, Oregon. It is not ‘Dalles’ or ‘Dallas,’ but rather ‘The Dalles,’ one of the most historic towns in the state. It was called Le Dalle by the early French trappers, which means flat topped rock or flagstone, as seen in the flat-topped basalt islands that surround the Highway 197 bridge. After dinner last night, we transited two dams, the John Day Lock and Dam and The Dalles Lock and Dam just before sunrise. The Dalles Dam has had the greatest impact on the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest. When it was closed on March 10, 1957, many native locations were submerged behind the dam.
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.