One of many old suspension bridges across the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Two of many old suspension bridges across the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Odd to think of a river cruise having a “sea day.”

But Un-Cruise Adventures has done just that. From the time we left Cascade Locks, Oregon and Multnomah Falls, the next 36 hours comprised a river day, cruising upstream on the Columbia River and eventually veering onto the narrower Snake River.

Altogether from Portland, within one and one-half days of eastbound travel on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, we transited a series of eight locks and rose a total of over 700-feet.

Destination Wilderness

Breakfast on our leisurely day at “sea” began with guests comparing lunar eclipse stories mixed with questions about sports results. Out here in the middle of nowhere, we were completely “off the grid.” No mobile/cellular/4G/LTE access for at least the next two days. It was interesting.

One thing that deserves mention is the complimentary 30-minute massage offered to all guests. People had signed up for spa appointments throughout the day. I’ve yet to partake but it’s on my to-do list. Maybe at week’s end.

Watching the river flow

With a glorious azure sky and September temperatures at record highs, almost everyone sat outside to watch as the S.S. Legacy transited locks, scooted under bridges and lazily motored upstream.

Guests milled about the boat, sampled complimentary whisky in the Pesky Barnacle Saloon and relaxed on the sundeck with hopes of spotting big-horn sheep that grazed precariously on the rocky cliffs or an assortment of raptors as they glided on the warm air currents through the Gorge.

A Lewis and Clark talk by Julie and Kenny, dressed in 1800s period clothing began at 10am in the lounge. Lunch in the dining room, an enriching locally-themed geology presentation at 2pm were followed by the ever-popular Cocktail Hour at 5:30.

Dinner at 6:30 rounded out the daylight hours.  Everyone filed straight out from the Lounge to the dining room, most with drinks in hand.

Arts and Crafts Time for Adults

At 8pm, we’d head to the lounge to make beaded necklaces using similar glass beads and mollusk shells that the Nez Perce Indians used for their beadwork over a century ago.

It reminded me of my Girl Scout Leader days. Almost all of the necklace-makers were women, chatting and laughing and admiring everyone else’s projects.

A silly activity at best, it was a chance to simply sit around a community table and talk about oh…anything. Like pioneer families did in the days before computers and smart phones. It was a lot of old-fashioned fun.

Reflections on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Reflections.

Another day drew to a close.

Slowly, as everyone finished their craft project, “good-nights” were said and the lounge was once again empty. At 9:30pm.

Overnight, we continued along the Snake River and by dawn we docked in Clarkston, Oregon. The next day would be spent zooming through rugged Hells Canyon National Recreation Area aboard jet boats at a rousing 30mph.

The weather forecast had called for an unseasonably warm and sunny day. Perfect for early morning, outdoor, nature-type activities.

Day 1: Aboard the S.S. Legacy to cruise the Columbia and Snake Rivers
Day 2: Bonneville Dam and towering Multnomah Falls
Day 3: A relaxing “sea” day on the river.  (That’s this one!)
Day 4: Jet Boating through Hell’s Canyon
Day 5: Walla Walla Wineries, the Whitmans and the Oregon Trail
Day 6: Maryhill Museum, The Dalles and a real Stonehenge
D
ay 7: Following Lewis and Clark to Fort Clatsop and a visit to Astoria, Oregon

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