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”

Photographing a Very Nearly Almost Total Eclipse

Even 200 miles from the path of totality, the solar eclipse was all anyone could talk about this week in Washington. In the mad scramble for special viewing glasses and the endless debates over whether it was worth it to brave the slog of traffic heading south, I found myself in my office’s parking lotContinue reading “Photographing a Very Nearly Almost Total Eclipse”

The Old/New City: Munich

There’s nothing like summer in Munich — somewhat due to the heat and partly to humidity, but mostly to the Bavarian charm of one of Europe’s great cities and the rest to the laid back, almost Mediterranean atmosphere that has led some to jokingly dub it Italy’s northernmost city. Personally, I think it’s the iceContinue reading “The Old/New City: Munich”

In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona

You have to really want to get to the Isle of Iona. A speck of land 3 miles long by 1.5 miles wide off the western coast of Scotland, Iona is remote. To get there from Glasgow requires traveling three-hours by train, one hour by ferry, one hour by bus, and fifteen minutes by ferryContinue reading “In the Footsteps of St. Columba: The Isle of Iona”

24 Hours in Astoria

The Astoria-Megler Bridge spends most of its 4-mile span connecting Oregon and Washington close to the water before rising 196 feet into the sky like a roller coaster from hell. Heading up the slope, we were either going to die or end up in Astoria, Oregon. Over Memorial Day weekend, my wife, sister-in-law, and aContinue reading “24 Hours in Astoria”

Sleeping Giant

Today, the ridge overlooking the snow-covered northern face of Mount St. Helens is dotted with small brush, lichen and wild grass. Chipmunks dart between the rocks. Tourists take photos to post later on their Facebook profiles. But 34 years ago, the place where I stand was buried by a boiling mudslide, smothered by pumice andContinue reading “Sleeping Giant”

The Rain In Washington Falls Mainly On the Tulips

Washington is a beautiful state. It is lush and green; brimming with life. And there’s a reason for it. Washington is the rainiest place I have ever lived (recall that before this, I was in the high desert of Northern Arizona). There is a price for beauty — months of drizzle interspersed with torrential downpours.Continue reading “The Rain In Washington Falls Mainly On the Tulips”

City of Destiny

They call it the City of Destiny or the Gritty City. It is a city of contradictions, loved and despised, where 19th century steeples share the skyline with 20th century smokestacks. A blue collar city choked in paper mill chemicals and cleansed by saltwater breezes. A city of potholes and community gardens. The second city,Continue reading “City of Destiny”

The Whimsical World of Indoor Mini Golf

I have a new obsession. Last weekend, my girlfriend and I walked into a drab building in Tacoma’s sketchy Narrows District. Rain was pouring down outside, but inside, tucked behind a bowling alley and an arcade, is something special. Like Gulliver on Lilliput, we stepped into a miniature world and were suddenly transformed into giants. PeopleContinue reading “The Whimsical World of Indoor Mini Golf”

Misty Mornings on the Puget Sound

Time is frozen in the hills above the Puget Sound. Small particles of water are suspended in the air. A cloud has descended on the city and holds it in its clammy grip. Sounds are close and sharp, but far away sights blend into the wash. You are stalked by people unseen. The world isContinue reading “Misty Mornings on the Puget Sound”