Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma

When you picture the ideal spot for kayaking, what comes to mind? An isolated river or lake in the woods? Or on an urban waterway surrounded by bridges and skyscrapers? When we got our kayaks last winter, I couldn’t wait to try them out somewhere totally new — my own backyard. Tacoma is a peninsula,Continue reading “Best Spots for Urban Kayaking in Tacoma”

Beyond the Edge of the World

Al-Idrisi’s Tabula Rogeriana (1154) was the most accurate map of the world until the 15th century. In the summer of 1502, the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci was sailing down the coast of Brazil in the service of the King of Portugal. He was amazed by this new continent, which had never been seen by EuropeansContinue reading “Beyond the Edge of the World”

The Allure of Abandoned Places

What is it about forgotten places that is so fascinating? For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by alleyways, empty houses, and dirt roads that lead nowhere. Wherever I go, I notice the broken glass and rust of wear, tear, and memory. Maybe that explains my unending study of history andContinue reading “The Allure of Abandoned Places”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 8

Grace raised her hands in quiet surrender. Eric’s normally calm features were pulled low into a scowl. His eyes were wild, like she had never seen. His posture was straighter; his movements more confident. The shy, bookish graduate student was gone. “You’re really too trusting, Doctor Yun,” he said. He was wrong. Grace didn’t trustContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 8”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 6

Grace was entranced by the coin in Sam’s hand. It was definitely gold. It might be a simple Sacajawea dollar — but then again it might be part of the Rivera fortune, she thought. She needed to see it up close. Gingerly, she opened the door. He didn’t seem to notice. Ever so carefully, sheContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 6”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 5

The rushing flood waters threatened to tear Grace from the branch. She glanced upstream and saw Ingram coming toward her, propelled by the current. She reached out one hand and caught his before he was swept father down the canyon. Barely, she caught his wrist and dug her nails into the fabric of his plaidContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 5”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 4

The wash twisted and dug deeper into the surrounding desert rock. Grace had increased the pace. Her feet pounded the fine sand, causing a shower of dust to billow up with each step. She could feel raindrops seep through her light clothing. Gathering winds started to blow. “What are we looking for?” Ingram yelled. “DoctorContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 4”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 2

Grace awoke early. In the grey twilight, she knelt by he carved cross and traced its lines with her fingers. She tried to imagine the Spanish explorers carving this with chisels and hammers in this remote corner of the desert canyons. Why take the time? What was important about this spot? She had spent fiveContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 2”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 1

Grace paddled slowly as they entered the slot canyon. Walls of sandstone rose on either side of the flotilla of three kayaks. The sloshing of their paddles echoed. “Are you sure this is the one, Dr. Yun?” Eric called from the back. He placed his paddle across his lap and adjusted his glasses to keepContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 1”

The Value of a Truly Terrible Book

I have a lot of books crammed into my little office at home and I’d estimate that I’ve only read about two-thirds of them. The rest are books that I just haven’t gotten around to yet. I’ve spent years collecting these books and dragging them halfway across the country on the off chance that onContinue reading “The Value of a Truly Terrible Book”