For most of an afternoon and the next morning, we follow the John Day River down to the Columbia Gorge. John Day, the hunter, trapper, and mountain man, native of Virginia, whose name is applied now to the area, explored, hunted, and lived in a wide area including not only the part of Oregon named for him, but wide areas in Idaho and Washington.
We follow the river down a long, winding, steep road, sometimes walled with basalt. The road takes a number of what seem to be 180-degree curves around the hills, many at 30 mph. There is seldom room to stop safely for photos. We have to take them on the fly, through the windshield.
Day was an adventurer of the Boone tradition, a frontiersman who never left the frontier, and was among the first to follow its western advance. John Day’s adventures were numerous, but the greatest challenge of his life was met in Oregon, between the mouths of the John Day and Umatilla rivers.