Books to inspire your next adventure

  • By Sharon Wootton, Columnist
  • Friday, April 12, 2013 1:48pm
  • Life

Yes, it’s that time again: Spring, when boots, paddles, sleeping bags and tents are dusted off and ideas are bandied about for outings.

It’s also the time to read books that can generate trip ideas to places not yet traveled.

The Mountaineers Press have several books that can help, including Rob Casey’s “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands” ($20) and Tami Asars’ “Hiking the Wonderland Trail” ($22).

“Wonderland,” with its slick pages, and color photographs and maps, will lure you to the 90-plus-mile trail that circumvents Mount Rainier. Hikers’ winter dreams often focus on this trip, although experience and fitness is wise.

Asars warns readers of weather, washed-out foot bridges, water crossings, blisters, and bears and bugs, and then tempts the reader the rest of the way.

She covers a trail section at a time with details and a clear map. At the end, there are treks listed by days, from seven to 13 days on the trail.

The newest edition of “Kayaking” features 15 new trips. Puget Sound is a misnomer because the trips range from the southern end of the sound to Victoria, B.C., in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands and into the British Columbia’s Strait of Juan de Fuca, collectively known as the Salish Sea.

As usual, the book provides attention to detail, including navigation markers and planning considerations.

“The Photographic Card Deck of the Solar System” ($25, Black Dog &Leventhal). Former radio astronomer’s Marcus Chown delivers more than 150 slick cards full of photographs and facts, an interesting way to deliver information about the solar system.

The 5-by-5-inch cards come in a sturdy box, but inexplicably they are not numbered. It’s unlikely that readers will hassle with putting the cards back in place, which eventually will defeat the sensible order in which they arrive.

“An Egret’s Day” ($18, Boyds Mill Press). Sharing Jane Youlen’s poems for young readers and Jason Stemple’s photographs is a good path to explore nature in a poetic way with young readers with some adult assistance.

Adults can read the small type about facts, and children can read the short poems to learn about egret feathers, a roost, preening, egret feet and more.

“Hand Printing from Nature” ($21, Storey). Laura Bethmann’s book shows how easy it is to print from nature with a variety of techniques, supplies, surfaces and nature’s contributions.

She adds several sidebars on plant-printing lore and photographs that invite the reader to plunge in.

It would be hard to resist after perusing her book and being enticed by the patterns of nature.

“Voyage of a Summer Sun” ($20, Oregon State University). A 21st-century explorer and his Kevlar canoe, the Columbia River, and the Robin Cody’s curious nature are the bedrock upon which this book is written.

Cody doesn’t try to conquer the 1,200-mile-long river and its 14 dams as much as understand it. He covers the people who live on it or use it, the wildlife in it and along it, and the changes wrought in the past 75 years.

Take a trip through Cody’s well-written stories. It’s worth it.

“I Would Tuck You In” ($17) is a thin but delightful book for children ages 3 to 7 about the caring relationship of mothers toward their offspring in the northern wilderness. The small factoids are fun too.

“World’s Best Travel Experiences: 400 Extraordinary Places” ($40, National Geographic). It’s hard to resist looking at a NG book, and “Experiences” is no exception.

Scattered through the pages of photographs and highlights are “Places That Changed Me” sidebars, including those from Bill Bryson, Anna Quindlen and others.

“Best of the Best” includes top female chefs in Mexico City, Beaux Arts architecture in Buenos Aires, and hidden chateaus in the Loire Valley of France.

“In the Know” boxes deliver insider tips such as Sataf Nature Trail in Jerusalem, cruising Istanbul by ferry, and Mumbo and Domwe islands in Lake Malawi.

So read now and travel later, in person or in your mind.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or

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