On Friday, May 2, 2014, the primary and intermediate classes from Corbett Grade School got to experience their own two-hour tour of the Columbia River about the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. Classes traveled eastbound toward Cascade Locks using almost all of the buses that Corbett School District owns. As classes went through the gates and had their picture taken, it was apparent to everybody that we picked a perfect day for a ride on a boat. The sun was shining, the water was calm, and the captain’s beard was perfectly manicured.
Aboard the boat, students were asked to look for various geological formations like Beacon Rock and Wind Mountain. In addition to looking items of nature, we looked for man-made items like the Bridge of the Gods and Bonneville Dam.
Students had an opportunity to participate in a variety of stations. For example, one state involved tying knots using the ship’s ropes. Another station involved listening to stories about the ship’s and river’s history and getting to fire the boat’s water cannon.
Students were also able to observe the wheel and axle of the sternwheeler itself. A bald eagle was sighted diving for fish and a group of fishermen were watched as they hoisted a fish in a net out of the river.
Mrs. Lilly was honored in the wheelhouse when she had the opportunity to take command of the boat while she simultaneously wondered where her students were. More than just being honored with a chance to take the helm, she was offered a position aboard the Sternwheeler once her retirement officially begins this summer after over thirty years of teaching.
Overall, it was a terrific day to experience the Columbia River Gorge by way of the body of water that helped make it so wonderful.