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Take a Walk

Front cover of third edition of Take A Walk
Cover of the 3rd edition

My second published book, now called Take a Walk: 110 Walks Within 30 Minutes of Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound 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 to 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.  Near the end of the editorial process I submitted a portfolio of hundreds of black and white glossy prints from which the illustrating photos were chosen.  If I have one regret on this first edition, it was the choice of paper -- it was a bit thin, and the photos were not improved by the faint see-through quality of the paper.  No worries, though.  The book sold well, and continued to sell for several years, until it was time to do a second edition.  (The most recent edition has better paper and much better digital photos)

Writing the second edition was certainly an easier task 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 Take A Walk!

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

Reviews posted on for the second edition:

"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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