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Take a Walk

Sue's latest book - Take A Walk
Take A Walk, 4th edition

My second published book -- now in its 20th year and 4th Edition.  It now has a companion book in Portland, OR, so this one has been renamed Take a Walk Seattle, or the longer title, Take a Walk: 120 Walks through Natural Places in Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia (Take a Walk Seattle).  I spent 4 months in 2016 updating the walks, text, and photographs.  When I first wrote this book in 1995, it was a longer endeavor than the Hillary biography and became a Seattle region best‑seller.  After years of writing short travel articles for NW Prime Times, I realized that I had a good start on 100 walks in the metropolitan area within a two‑hour drive of Seattle.  I put together a five‑page proposal and submitted it to Sasquatch Books, a small but prestigious publishing house in Seattle.  I received kudus for the proposal itself, and a contract to write the book.  Then came the fun, and the work.

The urban trails to be included in the book were each 1‑5 miles long, and I was determined to put a foot on each step of them.  Over the following ten months my family and I (in various combinations) walked or bicycled over 400 miles of trails.  On weekends the four of us went together.  On weekdays you'd often find me hand‑in‑hand with four‑year‑old Amanda, traipsing through a wetland near Everett, a stand of old‑growth forest in Olympia, or through a Japanese garden in Seattle.  Armed with picnic lunches, camera, extra film, and a small tape recorder, we covered over 120 different trails.  I loved working with my editor at Sasquatch, and I loved the freedom she gave me to choose the trails to include and the sidebars to present.

Writing the second, third and fourth editions was certainly easier than creating the whole book from scratch.  By the summer of 2001, most of the cities in Western Washington had a web presence with maps and descriptions of the parks.  With their permission I could draw on the information on the websites to update trail maps and streamline my search for resources and staff to interview.  Some of the sites even quoted from my first edition when describing the walks!  That was very cool, as long as they attributed the words to the book, which they usually did.  The hardest part about working on the revision was that it overlapped with the months we were preparing to move from Washington to our new sailboat in the Caribbean.  The hours I spent hiking and bicycling, though, were a great distraction from the hectic schedule we'd set for ourselves to be moved out of the house and onto the boat.  The revisions were finished by early 2002, but the book didn't get released until early 2003.  Such were the economic consideration of those difficult times.

The editor's request for a third edition came in early 2010, just as we were planning a trek in the Himalayas.  Now, that's "taking a walk"!  After trekking a few hundred miles and almost 100,000 vertical feet in Nepal, we flew back to Seattle in June 2010 to begin updating the book.  I added several new trails, deleted some of the older ones that were not as nice, walked more than 100 miles, and drove over 2,000 miles to find the best of Puget Sound's urban trails.  The result: 110 Walks detailed and mapped in a very updated, spiffy new edition of the book.

The request for a fourth edition came just before we flew back to the US from Malaysia for a "holiday fix" with friends and family in late 2015.  This edition was challenging in that I had to explore new walks and trails in the dead of the Seattle winter.  But, true to the spirit of the book, these trails are accessible year‑round and it was fun to see some of the beautiful winter frost or slight snow on the forest or beaches.

Preview and/or buy Take A Walk now at Amazon!

Reader review posted on for the latest edition:  "Love this book! I love the backstory to each walk and the rating of difficulty and how to get to each one.  It's an awesome book to work your way through even if you're a hiking novice!"

Editorial Reviews

"A fun, active, family-friendly take on popular destinations."

"Features walks through Carkeek Park, Green Lake Park and Ballard's Golden Gardens Park."

"Parents will appreciate the extra touches that Sue puts in the trail descriptions. She calls out playgrounds, restrooms, type of path surface, and whether you can bring the family dog...  This guide is worthy of making space on your bookshelf for."   [See full review below]
The Hiker Mama

"It's books like these that make you realize how lucky we are to live here."
Seattle Greenlaker

"Offers an abundance of walks within easy reach of Seattle and its surrounding cities... Readers looking for some outdoor inspiration are in good hands."
—Seattle Backpackers Magazine

Full text of review by Blogger "Hiker Mama"

The month of March brought some newly published hiking books across my desk.  Take A Walk: Seattle, by Sue Muller Hacking (Fourth Edition, Sasquatch Books) is one that I'm impressed with.  I've been flipping through this book quite a bit this spring, and am surprised that there are trails near me that I haven't explored yet.  Take A Walk: Seattle is full of urban and suburban hikes, from the North Sound down to the South.  We are fortunate to have so many natural areas accessible to families, and this book will help you find the perfect outing when you need to stay closer to town.

Parents will appreciate the extra touches that Sue puts in the trail descriptions. She calls out playgrounds, restrooms, type of path surface, and whether you can bring the family dog. She’s scattered tidbits of nature facts throughout the book, as well as tips for hiking with youngsters. People with and without kids will also appreciate that there are trails in here for every interest – birdwatching, beach combing, history, old growth forests, hilltops and views. Sue has a friendly, poetic style of writing that will make beginning hikers feel comfortable exploring new territory. You’ll find clear driving directions and links to other contacts, such as visitor centers and parks departments.

I had this book with me when I was in the Olympia area back in March, and used it to pick my hike to Tolmie State Park. I'm also using the book to update my ever-growing list of trails to check out for families. This guide is worthy of making space on your bookshelf for. There are 120 hikes included, so there's enough to keep us all busy! Take A Walk: Seattle is priced at $19.95, and is available at your normal online and in-person retailers.

And earlier reviews for previous editions:

"I used this book while temporarily living in Olympia, WA, and it was a great guide to experiencing the abundance of natural beauty around the small city. Most guide books on the state of WA only cover more obvious areas like Seattle or the Olympic National Rainforest or Mount Rainier. "Take a Walk" is a great resource for walking trails in areas that are more off the beaten path. Also, the author provides helpful information regarding the description of the trails, difficulty level, handicap access, and directions. I can't vouch for the trails in areas outside of Olympia but, based on my experience, I would highly recommend this book as a useful, descriptive resource."
- reviewer unknown

"Sue Muller Hacking's Take a Walk is a guide to some established trails in the Puget Sound region. The descriptions are concise, include a map and may include a black and white picture.  The book summarizes the highlights of the trail, other usage (e.g. bicycles), steepness, connecting trails, park services (e.g. restrooms, picnic areas) and whether there is disabled access.  There is then a brief description of the trail (usually a couple of paragraphs) followed by directions to the park.  This would be a good book for families with young children, because most of the parks seem to be 'family friendly' and you will have essential information on facilities.  You will also have 100 ideas of places to visit that are a short drive from Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma or Olympia..."
- Teresa S. Cowan, Seattle

Sue's Writing: Up | Sir Edmund Hillary | Take a Walk | Boatless in Seattle | Batter Up | Sue's Bio

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