The World is Your Oyster

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest the winter season wasn’t something that stopped us from doing what we enjoyed as a family. Sure cuddling by the fireplace and reading books was one way to enjoy it since we are a family of readers, but this is also the season of crabbing, clam digging, grilling oysters, and taking advantage of non-peak camping rates!

Here are a few items in our collection to get you started on your Winter adventures:

Continue reading “The World is Your Oyster”

New & Notable Northwest Nonfiction

A dozen new and updated books about Seattle and the great Northwest, past and present, are coming to shelves at a library near you.

Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels by Rose Marie Wong. This history of the International District is told through the neighborhood’s single-room occupancy hotels. Continue reading “New & Notable Northwest Nonfiction”

Take a Hike

My first hike was at Camp Waskowitz in fifth grade. I was terrified my asthmatic lungs were going to slow me down, but although I wasn’t the fastest hiker, I made it! It would be another five years though before I would attempt another hike, this time Steamboat Rock. I was a teenager and probably felt like it would be no problem, but for a moderate hike it was intense for me. I slid numerous times, thought my lungs were going to explode, was way too hot, but when I saw the view from the top it was worth it.

I’ve done a few easy to moderate hikes since then: Silver Falls State Park and Opal Creek Wilderness in Oregon, and just finished my first visit to Mount Rainer and hiked to Paradise. Below are a few books that highlight the places I’ve been, the places I will soon go, and I encourage you all to go take a hike! Continue reading “Take a Hike”

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! Continue reading “Family Reads: Trains and Trails”

Don’t forget the sunscreen – or the rain gear!

Here’s hoping you’ll need the sunscreen. Whether it is a destination lake, a stroll along a creek or an adventurous climb, there are lots of places nearby where you can let the city noise fall to the trailside and sleep in your own bed by nightfall. How do you locate the day hike that fits your style?

Day Hike! Mount Rainier – The visitor centers may be crowded, but a short distance down a trail you just might find yourself alone in a field of wildflowers. This guidebook provides nice trail descriptions, maps and pictures of features you might see along the way.

Day Hiking Central Cascades – This little book packs in a lot of great hikes near Seattle. The “Hikes at a Glance” grid at the beginning helps you compare trail features, distances, difficulty ratings and much more.

Hiking Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness – There are some breathtaking hikes in the Alpine Lakes wilderness. I’ve found that they tend to be steep. If you are looking for more strenuous trails with rewarding destinations, this has some great ones. There are a couple shorter jaunts in the book too.

For a selection of less vigorous walks, try Take A Walk: 110 Walks within 30 Minutes of Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound. It features some city trails and a few lowland hikes.

Trail conditions change, roads wash out and trees come down. In addition to the books, I like to consult a website like Washington Trails Association where people post their trip reports.

Of course, I’ve gotten many a good recommendation at the ranger station. They even have one inside the Seattle REI. Before you go, it is a good idea to see if the trailhead requires a permit.

Got any other suggestions of how you locate a good day hike?