In November of 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the shores of the same beach that our expedition group set foot on today: Waikiki Beach. We explored not only the raging and wild Pacific Ocean, but the subtle and engaging Confluence Project by Maya Lin. As the project states, “Lewis and Clark ended their journey in Chinook homelands and the art installation includes both native and western approaches that have shaped the cultural and ecological history of this place.”

From the shores of Waikiki Beach, we ventured up into the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest. We were careful to step over one beautiful species of the rainforest in particular: the banana slug, one of the slowest animals on Earth! Our hike culminated at the vista of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Discovery Center.

At the Columbia River Maritime Museum, we learned about the extreme danger and difficulty of crossing the bar; as a result this area has been deemed the “graveyard of the Pacific.” We watched California sea lions bark and swim from the docks, and explored the misty and mysterious downtown of Astoria, all decorated for the upcoming Halloween holiday.