A warm, sunny morning greeted National Geographic Sea Bird where it was docked alongside the Tri-Cities pier. Guests enjoyed breakfast before departing by coach for the fertile farmlands of the Walla Walla Valley. The first stop of the day was a 19th century military fort, the Fort Walla Walla Museum. The museum offers a 17-building historical settlement with beautifully kept lawns, gardens, and large exhibit halls full of historical artifacts. As guests walked through the museum, they discovered stories and artifacts from the Oregon Trail, trains, and a replica of a 33-mule team that was used to harvest wheat. After exploring the grounds, coaches took the guests to the Three Rivers Winery for lunch, a tour of the premises, and a wine tasting. After the winery tour, guests relaxed on the veranda and enjoyed the warm afternoon. The coach eventually departed for the second museum of the day, Whitman Mission. After an introduction by the rangers and a tour around the grounds and museum, the coaches departed for Tri-Cities. After arriving at the ship, guests enjoyed recap before dinner, which was followed by an informative documentary on the Columbia River dams.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Meandering up the Snake River opened a new chapter to our voyage. Golden grasslands interrupted by towering basalt columns filled the horizon. As daybreak crested, the peaks before us were illuminated in a soft golden hue. The landscape drew us in and beckoned us to explore. After a short and scenic bus ride, we arrived at Palouse Falls State Park. While the impressive 198 ft waterfall was clearly the main attraction, walks in the area provided stunning views of the channeled scablands that we’re traveling through. It was incredible to imagine the events that sculpted the land before us. The raw power of the Earth was on full display. For the afternoon, we set out in expedition landing craft and shot up the Palouse River. The rich riparian banks held an abundance of wildlife. Songbirds flitted about while waterfowl gave way. Raptors circled overhead, looking for their next meal. Above a set of steep cliffs, two golden eagles circled, icons of this open land. Perhaps the most exciting moment was when a coyote ran up the slopes right in front of us, posing to take in the odd creatures visiting its home. The river and its tributaries continue to offer a vast variety of experiences to us. As the final day of our voyage approaches, we settle into the night in awe of what we have seen thus far.