Book Review: Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington

Dan A. Nelson’s practical hiking guide, Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington, includes necessary information to ensure satisfaction for dog owners and their dogs while enjoying hikes in Western Washington.

Although dogs aren’t allowed on national park or monument trails, there are plenty of wonderful hikes to enjoy in Western Washington. In this guidebook, Nelson describes 85 hikes, complete with quick references for distance round trip, difficulty on a scale of one to five, highest elevation point, elevation gain, best season, map, contact information and GPS coordinates, followed by detailed descriptions of the individual hikes.

In addition to specific destinations, at the beginning of the book Nelson goes into some detail about hiking with a dog in general, which I found particularly interesting. In the “Getting Ready” section, Nelson emphasizes the importance of good training, including use of a leash on the trail. Permits and regulations must be obeyed, not only for human and dog safety, but for the sake of the environment.

“Leave No Trace” is discussed in detail and encompasses much more than hauling your own garbage out. It means camp a distance away from a water source such as a lake or stream, not wash in the water, but collect water in a container and take it back to camp. Camp on hard ground so you won’t trample grass or fragile vegetation. Nelson gives many more examples of ways to keep the wilderness intact by leaving no trace.

The trail etiquette section was an eye-opener for me. For instance, when dog owners meet any other trail users, dog and owner must yield the right-of-way, stepping well clear of the trail to allow the other users to pass without worrying about “getting sniffed.” Another: When a dog meets a horse, the dog owner must yield the trail and ensure the dog remains calm. Also, stay within view so that the horse isn’t suddenly spooked when he sees the dog.

Another rule of etiquette I learned is that when hikers meet other hikers, the group heading uphill has the right-of-way. There are many more important points the author makes, points that make sense once the reasons are explained.

Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington is a valuable reference for hikers with dogs, or even without dogs. Dan Nelson is the author of several guidebooks, all published by The Mountaineer Books.

Review: The Heart Trilogy

In The Heart Trilogy, Carmen Peone has skillfully created three novels about a Native girl in the emerging American West. Filled with heart and compassion, the character Spupaleena grows in skill, knowledge, leadership, and in her relationship with her newly found Christian God.

Change of Heart


Change of Heart

When Spupaleena, 13, runs away from her Arrow Lakes pit home near Eastern Washington’s Columbia River, she escapes from more than a bossy big sister. But she doesn’t consider the difficulty of traveling by foot in the dead of winter. Change of Heart is a story of survival, compassion, love and enduring faith.



Heart of Courage


Heart of Courage

Spupaleena,16,dreams of breeding and racing horses. Although her father is against her pursuing this male-dominated sport, Spupaleena feels that God has put into her heart the love of horses and that she is fulfilling her destiny. She receives a gift of a four year-old Tobiano stud colt that is ready to ride and a perfect match for Spupaleena’s enthusiasm and skill. Heart of Courage is a story of a girl determined to fulfill her destiny.


Heart of Passion

Heart of Passion

Spupaleena, now in her late teens, has built a stable of powerful race horses. Her team of relay racers are consistent winners, much to the chagrin of a vengeful boy. Passionate about her vocation, Spupaleena overcomes many obstacles, including both human and horse injuries. She turns to God for direction in how to handle her enemy, this boy who is determined to see her fail. Heart of Passion is a story of compassion, faith and determination.


Carmen Peone has written an engaging trilogy steeped in Native American and religious culture. She lives on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation and has studied the language and customs of her husband’s people, the Sinyekst. With her American Paint horses she has competed in local Extreme Trail Challenges. It’s no wonder The Heart Trilogy rings true with knowledge and authority. For more information about the author, visit

A Logger’s Daughter: Growing up in Washington’s Woods

Joan Rawlins Husby’s delightful memoir, A Logger’s Daughter: Growing up in Washington’s Woods gives readers a poignant view of the life and times of growing up in Washington’s wilderness in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Joan Rawlins was born just months before her parents, Delbert and Marie Rawlins’, moved from North Dakota to Washington’s Robe Valley, at the foot of Mt. Pilchuck. The Rawlins lived in a tiny cabin until Joan’s father could build a larger cabin of scrounged material. Eventually, the Rawlins had five children who played in the great outdoors with other loggers’ children.

Husby shares with readers a life of growing up in Washington’s forests, the daughter of a logger. Although her parents didn’t have a lot of ready cash and worked hard for every advantage they had, there was always food on the table and love to spare. The family was years in getting electricity and running water. Their “bathroom” was a two-holer a distance from the house. Heating fuel was wood, hand-cut and split. They raised chickens for eggs and meat, and rabbits for meat and skins to sell to Sears, Roebuck and Company.

If logging was shut down by fire, strike or snow, Husby’s father earned money by making roofing shakes, or taking on any job that would put food on the table.

Equally interesting is Husby’s writing of the area’s history. When they arrived in Robe Valley, most of the timber was virgin. Many of the cedar trees were as wide in diameter as her father was tall. In the early days, timber was cut by hand-saw. Raging rivers changed the lay of the land. The purpose of railroads evolved from mining to tourism.

Husby creates vivid pictures of family and landscape, giving the reader a taste of yesteryear and a glimpse of a childhood in a pre-tech age.

I highly recommend this memoir of a simple life in a simpler time. Many will relate to at least parts of this book, while others will marvel at the grit it took to simply survive deep into Washington’s woods.

To purchase a copy of A Logger’s Daughter, visit or contact the author, Joan Husby <>.