In the colorful dawn, National Geographic Sea Bird passed through the lock at McNary Dam. During the night, we had sailed from the Snake River to the Great River of the West, the Columbia. Now we were bound for Crow Butte Park. Dropping the anchor near Crow Butte Island, we launched Zodiacs and headed to shore for hikes in sagebrush steppe country. Big sagebrush, rabbit brush, and Russian thistles, aka tumbleweeds, lined much of our path. Low mounds of pastel colored buckwheat blossoms added a soft beauty to the landscape. A refreshing breeze, redolent of sagebrush, the smell of the West, moved over the island.