FRONTIERS, PIONEERS AND VINEYARDS
Nowhere is the timelessness of rivers more apparent than here in the pristine Pacific Northwest where the Columbia and Snake Rivers wind through gentle hills, impressive mountains, vertical canyons and fertile fields. The land appears in 2014 just as it did to Lewis and Clark in 1805 – majestic, unspoiled and unimaginably glorious.
Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark’s faithful Native American guide, knew how to read these lands and soon you will too thanks to the legacy of the expedition that opened the West to settlement. Pioneering reminders range from Fort Clatsop outside Astoria, Oregon where they survived the harsh winter, to the sister cities of Clarkston, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho 400 miles to the east. The explorers overcame the formidable Celilo Falls and currents near The Dalles, Oregon, a struggle brought to light at Rock Fort Campsite. The role of Sacajawea in the expedition’s success is interpreted at the state park in Washington’s Tri-Cities Region.
As you relive the daring exploits of frontiersmen and adventurers, you are treated to the very same natural wonders. Columbia Gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains thanks to the Missoula Floods of the last Ice Age. At Multnomah Falls, snowmelt streams plunge over 600 feet in two tiered cascades down a sheer cliff face. Deeper than the Grand Canyon, Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon is a dramatic crack in the earth with raging waters best explored on an exciting jet boat ride. Near Portland, understand the raw power of nature in the collapsed volcanic crater of Mount St. Helens. Along the Columbia River, fish ladders help salmon swim upstream and bison, deer and elk graze freely.
With the American Empress serving as a floating boutique hotel for your river cruise journey, travel into the heart of Washington’s wine country. The acclaimed Maryhill Winery overlooking the Columbia River has made its mark among wine connoisseurs while the celebrated Walla Walla Wine Trail in the “Napa of the North” offers the tastes of Canoe Ridge, Cayuse, Leonetti and Five Star Cellars, among others.
From Portland’s lovely International Rose Test Garden to the hallowed artifacts on the Nez Perce Reservation, the region comes to life. Tour a millionaire’s Victorian home in Astoria, Oregon and marvel at the engineering achievement of the Bonneville Dam. Whether you choose to take in the scenery from Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge nestled among the pines or climb a lighthouse to view the expansive Pacific, a voyage on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will show you the world from a new perspective.