The river of many cruisers’ dreams is traditionally tranquil and slow-paced. On UnCruise Adventures’ “Rivers of Adventure” itinerary — traversing Washington, Idaho, and Oregon on the Columbia and Snake rivers — cruisers instead get a healthy dose of wellness and fitness options at a variety of speeds.
Each morning begins with as many as 10 of us gathering on the top deck of the 90-passenger SS Legacy for a stretching or yoga session led by one of our expedition guides. It’s a nice ritual and a perfect way to get our bodies and minds prepped for another day of adventure and exploration ashore.
We sail on SS Legacy, a turn-of-the-century coastal steamer replica that gleams in the late-autumn sunshine and recalls a bygone romantic era of river cruising. Our voyage from Clarkston, Washington, to Portland, Oregon, has just three dozen passengers on board, and we all get to know one another quickly while exploring a region that is home to the Nez Perce tribes and served as the final stretch for Lewis and Clark.
Our expedition traces through many of the region’s important historical and cultural places — and for fitness-inclined travelers, an UnCruise Adventures’ sailing is a thrilling and heart-pumping way to explore.
Bird-watching Walks, Hiking, and Kayaking
“Ooh, look, it’s a double-crested cormorant,” expedition guide Sarah Sinn-White says, excitedly, pointing to a black seabird with a long neck that is lazily soaring loops over the river.
The cruise offers a menu of adventures that are suitable for a variety of interests and desired activity levels, and our itinerary begins with this casual bird-spotting walk on a serene morning. We’re stretching our legs and on the hunt for a variety of birds. The sun is barely peeking out, but morning mists are lifting as about 20 of us wander for a mile and a half out and back along a riverside path while also spotting California quail, kingfishers, blue jays, and finches.
The fresh air and smells of the outdoors invigorate throughout the week as we embrace all the thrills. This gentle walk is just a primer for what’s to come.
SS Legacy sits at a small pier along the Snake River, and later this morning, we’ll hop aboard a speedboat for a tour deep into Hells Canyon. We see eagles, falcons, big horn sheep, and wild turkeys in this rugged part of the river.
UnCruise to Alaska
UnCruise Adventures has built an impressive reputation based on its itineraries in Alaska, the Sea of Cortes, Costa Rica, Panama, and other exotic destinations that feature challenging hiking, bushwhacking, and kayaking opportunities each day.
The cruise line amps up the river experience, as well. Your standard river cruises are defined by the bus tour or city walk to….
By John Roberts
Photo: UnCruise Adventures