Family Reads: Trains and Trails

SThe Boundlessummer is finally here! Kids are out of school and vacations are under way, which means it’s a great time for kids to stock up on some great summer reads. I always love to start summer with a grand adventure, and I think many kids will as well. Kenneth Oppel’s The Boundless fits the bill perfectly. Can it get grander than a 7 mile long train equipped with a pool, lounge, billiards, dining cars and sleeping cars? Combine this with circus performers, Sasquatch attacks, and a murder mystery, and you’ve got yourself a ‘grand adventure’ on tracks. Even better, it offers a little bit of local interest. This historical fantasy brings to life the early railroads of Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and Will Everett’s escapades aboard The Boundless are sure to entertain!

Creaky KneesLooking to expand your child’s reading experience? Consider taking a hike on the Iron Goat Trail located in Stevens Pass. Shortly after finishing The Boundless, I was looking through several local hiking guides in search of a family friendly hike that still offered stunning scenery. Paging through The Creaky Knees Guide: Washington, I stumbled upon an entry for The Iron Goat Trail. Not only is this an amazing hike with stunning views of the Cascade Mountains, but the trail itself travels the upper and lower grades of an abandoned Great Northern Railway. Travel the lower grade for an easy and hadicapped accessible 3 mile hike, or take the upper grade for more of a challenge and some very rewarding viewpoints, particularly Windy Point Overlook. As you hike the trail, you will come across abandoned snow shelters, train tunnels, and informative signs illuminating the historical significance of various artifacts and equipment along the way.

Want to take the experience even further? Check out this short but informative DVD – Back to Life: The Iron Goat Trail. Rick Steves narrates the story of how volunteers came together to bring this trail to life. You are sure to appreciate the hike so much more after watching this short but inspiring documentary about rebuilding this historical trail.

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