Book Buzz: 52 Ways to Nature

52 Ways to Nature: Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year by Lauren Braden

Now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, signaling summer has finally arrived to Whatcom County, it’s time to make adventure plans to make the most of each precious weekend. Seattle-based travel writer Lauren Braden’s “52 Ways to Nature: Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year” is a one-stop idea center for accessible, immersive activities for year-round outdoor adventure.

Organized by season, each section contains 13 suggestions for exploring nature here in Washington state. An introduction gives an overview of the activity and includes details about things like flora and fauna, safety considerations and historical or cultural context. “Where To Go” identifies a handful of locations around the state to try the particular activity. Each activity also includes a “Nature Notebook” journaling prompt encouraging attentiveness and deeper reflection.

What new activities will you add to your summer slate? If sailing a boat, catching a trout, sleeping in a fire lookout or stargazing sounds interesting, “52 Ways to Nature” will point you in the right direction. 

For example, learning to sail a boat can be a daunting undertaking. Braden suggests six different organizations that offer in-depth sailing classes covering navigation, docking, tacking, jibing, tying knots and more. One of the suggested locations is Chariot Adventures in Bellingham, which offers a six-day “Cruise ‘n Learn” experience which will certify you to charter a boat on your own.

If you don’t have the time to invest in a class, Braden recommends several organizations that offer the opportunity to join a public sail where you can help the crew raise the sails and learn some basics about sailing culture. Once again, you don’t need to travel far, as one of the suggestions for public sailing is Schooner Zodiac, sailing from the Bellingham Ferry Terminal in Fairhaven, and offering many day sails (some including brunch or a salmon dinner) as well as multi-day sails.

The “Learn to Sail” section is rounded out with suggestions to attend the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend — which takes place this year from Sept. 9–11 — as a showcase for Washington’s rich maritime culture. Watch videos from the American Sailing Association to jumpstart your nautical knowledge, and contact Gig Harbor Boat Works if you are interested in owning your own handcrafted sailboat. The Nature Notebook prompt asks, “If you could sail away in your own sailboat, where would you go? What would you take with you, and what would you leave behind?”

In addition to writing freelance travel articles, Braden founded the local trip-planning website Northwest TripFinder in 2008 out of a desire to share her favorite Pacific Northwest getaway places with other locals who love to explore. This website focuses on sharing awesome trips in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia that are fun, unique, affordable and easy to plan. And local travel supports our regional tourism, one of our biggest economic engines, so it feeds resources back into state and local economies.

“52 Ways to Nature” would be a great welcome gift for someone new to the area, and longtime residents will get the information and inspiration necessary to learn more about the wonders of Washington’s great outdoors. Find “52 Ways to Nature” in your local library catalog ( for Whatcom County residents, or  if you live within the City of Bellingham) or at your local bookstore. Happy adventuring!

Lisa Gresham is the collection services manager at the Whatcom County Library System, where you can find more great summer reading suggestions at

(Originally published in Cascadia Daily News, Saturday, July 16, 2022.)