All braids aboard
When it comes to stern-wheeler captains, Misty Parker breaks the mold
Walk into the visitor center for the stern-wheeler Columbia Gorge, and there among the snacks and trinkets is a set of souvenir bobblehead dolls, one for each of the tour boat’s three captains. Two are bearded and 50ish. The third has two braids emerging from her black cap. Meet captain Misty.
Ten years ago, Misty Parker was a high school senior in Stevenson, Washington, playing softball and working weekends and summers as a deckhand on the Cascade Locks, Oregon, excursion boat.
Today she stands at its helm, four gold bars on her epaulets, piloting the boat through locks and around barges, managing a crew of 15 and keeping up a running commentary about Lewis and Clark, steamboating, and salmon.