Free City Walks around Seattle

Come walk with us. We are leading free fun and interesting urban nature walks in the greater Seattle area.

You can get all the details for our walks by subscribing in the box on the left side of this page. Share with your friends. They are free and fun!


A Sweet Little Guide to Nature Me For You


A Simple Way to FEEL MORE JOY in your life

© Cary Given/Given Photography 2016



Journal Archive

One darn good reason to get up early!

Yellowstone River, © Curt Given/ Given Photography 2016Sometimes it's good to get up early. But given the choice for most of us, the soft sheets, warm cozy blankets and lull of sleep make it way more appealing to stay under the covers. And if it's still dark outside when your alarm goes off...it's even more challenging to get out of bed.

Here's one good reason to get up early...

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Seattle City Walk - Queen Anne Hill and Kerry Park on January 30, 2016

Come walk with us. We are leading free urban nature walks around Seattle. Our next Queen Anne Hill city walk is on January 30, 2016 and includes the iconic Kerry Park. 


We've designed an urban walk that explores the distinct Queen Anne Hill neighborhood with its grand homes, charming parks and scenic views of Seattle, Lake Union and Puget Sound. 

A unique mix of remarkable homes, old stairways, local parks and urban cafes make up this prominent neighborhood.


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WINTER. Profoundly beautiful...going deep for a new year

Frost and Forest. © Curt Given/Given Photography 2015

Winter in Mount Baker National Forest. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015

Hawk Owl. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015

Ice on Cle Elum Lake, Washington. © Curt Given/Given Photography 2015

Queen Elizabeth Range. © Cary Given/Given Photography 2015


5 gifts for the bird lover in your life

Bushtit, Pinnacles National Monument. © 2015 Curt Given/Given PhotographyI so love birds! I'm not a devoted birder, but always love watching them. Here are some ideas for your bird lover. Each of the five gifts listed below are unique and special enough that your bird person will zealously thank-you and probably give you a big hug. And, the Robert Bateman Book and birdseed wreath are wonderful gifts for anyone! 

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Next City Walk with Nature Me - Special Holiday Walk on December 20

WALK THIS WAY to the BALLARD FARMER'S MARKET. A special holiday walk! 

Come walk with us. We are leading free, fun and interesting walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming December 20 walk.


We've designed this urban walk just for the holidays! This special walk will explore part of the Ballard Neighborhood, but mostly introduce you to the fantastic Ballard Farmer's Market. You'll have ample time to shop and explore all of the bounty this market has to give. 


Click to read more ...


Five outside activities that will help your holidays shine

Red Alder, Olympic National Park. © 2015 Curt Given/ Given PhotographyI love this time of year. Right about now I start getting that good feeling of what's to come.

And, I've intentionally scaled back so much throughout the years that now the season feels way more festive than frenzied.

Not only have I trimmed back, but I've let go of all my expectations (well most). That in itself is a great gift!

This year we are opting for a different kind of Thanksgiving. Circumstances (good ones) just worked out that Curt (my life partner) and I have the day to ourselves.

So, I'm packing a lovely simple picnic with a great bottle of Pinot Noir (exellent with turkey and cranberry sandwiches) and we are heading to the foothills of the Cascade mountains for a nice hike along a river.

It seems like the perfect place for us to give thanks for all that we have in our lives while surrounded by natural mountain beauty.

Here are four more ways to experience the beauty of the holiday season outside...

    Click to read more ...


PICTURE IT WELL: the mind-body connection

Lost Creek, Oregon. © 2015 Curt Given/ Given PhotographyAccording to author Esther M. Sternberg, MD, growing research shows a mind-body connection between nature scenes (either a real or photograph) and how they make us feel emotionally. Even though many of us intuitively seek out beautiful surroundings because they make us feel better, Sternberg takes it further by providing the neuroscience behind the healing power of a beautiful sunset, a walk through an old-growth forest or the sound and sight of early morning birds. Her beautifully written, easy to read book, Healing Spaces, is a fascinating study on the science behind nature and emotional well-being.

PICTURE IT WELL photos from givenphoto.com symbolize some aspect of well-being. The brief text is meant to inspire you and demonstrate the uplifting power of nature.  


Creating space 

Find your path to joy

Be the one who has moxie

A peaceful way

Letting go

See the abundance in your life

Dig into your roots

Play it up in the new year

Do one thing

Reflect for growth




Next City Walk with Nature Me - November 21

WALK THIS WAY - Green Lake 

Come walk with us! We are leading free, fun and interesting urban nature walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming November 21 walk.


This fun and high energy walk will take us around Green Lake, which is so loved by Seattleites.

The path around the perimeter of Green Lake is just under 3 miles and it winds through a variety of terrain. You'll see everything from sports fields, to swimming ducks and geese to a wonderful variety of preserved natural plants and trees. Not to mention joggers, walkers, bikers, skaters and strollers. 

Also, we will add part of the bustling Green Lake neighborhood to our walk, making it approximately 3.5 to 4 miles. Depending on our pace it will take about 2 hours. The terrain is mostly asphalt, so wear comfy shoes. (Tennis shoes work great.)

Our intent for this walk is really more about discovery and connection with nature in an urban setting than fitness. The exercise is just a bonus! And, just so you know, it's not a formal tour, we explore right along with you. 

Date and Time: Saturday, November 21 at 10 am

Where: Green Lake, Seattle Washington. (Meet-up location and parking details to come with confirmation email)

Optional: As always, after the walk we'll gather at a nearby coffee house for refreshment and a little conversation. 

What we experience when we walk:

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Next City walk with Nature Me - October 31

WALK THIS WAY. Seattle's Beautiful Washington Park Arboretum Come walk with us! We are leading free, fun and interesting urban nature walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming October 31 walk. Description: This gorgeous walk starts and ends at the south end of Washington Park Arboretum near the Japanese gardens. (Check our option below about the Japanese garden add-on.) The arboretum is a 230-acre outdoor gallery of sorts. The north end of the park spills into Lake Washington with Marsh and Foster Islands making up that part of the park habitat. From there, it stretches south through a beautiful land of plant collections.

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Next city walk with Nature Me - September 19

Come walk with us. We are leading free, fun and interesting walks around the greater Seattle area. See details below for our upcoming September 19 walk. Description: This gorgeous walk starts and ends in the Belltown neighborhood. We'll stroll through Olympic Sculpture park with its massive outdoor sculptures and then on to the adjacent Myrtle Edwards park with its paved path along Elliot Bay. You'll see panoramic views of the harbor, Olympic mountains and downtown Seattle . The walk is approximately 3.5 miles, so depending on our pace it will take about 2 hours. The terrain is a mix of asphalt, dirt trails, and a little up and down, so wear comfy shoes. (Tennis shoes work great.) Our intent for this walk is really more about discovery and connection with nature in an urban setting than fitness. The exercise is just a bonus! And, just so you know, it's not a formal tour, we explore right along with you.

Click to read more ...


7 ways to get the most out of your walk

Walking is one of the simplist ways to get some exercise and clear your mental clutter. Here are some simple things you can do to get more out of your walk. 
  1. Set a simple intention before you start your walk such as...
    • I will be aware of my surroundings
    • I will notice all of the flowers, animals, birds, trees or gorgeous views (choose one or two)
    • I will be present and let my thoughts float on by
    • I will embrace the season
  2. Feel your body. Your feet. Your strong legs. Set your posture. Shoulders back and arms loose. Thanks your body for giving you the physical stamina to do this.
  3. Start out positive...approach your walk with a sense of adventure, curiosity and discovery.
  4. Find a pace that feels right for you. If you are with others, set your pace together.
  5. If something is going on that you need to process mentally, give yourself 5 minutes, then let it go. you'll be amazed at the insight or clarity that will come later.
  6. Along the way look for things you've never noticed before and find interesting.
  7. Expect nothing but the best on your walk.

Are you looking for someone to walk with or a fun, interesting walking route? Then come join us for our September walk! Only two days left until this free neighborhood walk. Click here for a full post and details on how to register.

This time we will be exploring Gas Works park and the Fremont neighborhood. 

Sign up here for this fun urban nature walk. 

Interested in our Walk This Way urban nature walks. Read here to find out why we are creating these city walks. 

P.S. If your are reading this and you missed our September walk, subscribe in the box to the left of this post for updates and details about our upcoming walk in October...a beautiful fall walk through Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. 


Still time to join us for our next urban nature walk in Fremont!

It's not too late to join us for our next FREE Urban Nature walk in Fremont! It's set for August 28 at 10 am. We have a great walk designed that leaves from Gas Works park, winds through the "Center of the Universe," aka, the quirky Fremont neighborhood, follows part of the Burke-Gilman trail along the ship canal and Lake Union and ends with a nice stroll through Gas Works park that has panoramic views of Seattle and Lake Union. As an option after, we can head to the Essential Bakery cafe for coffee and/or refreshment. It’s about three blocks from the parking lot.

Click to read more ...


How to create your own signpost

Red-shouldered hawk. © Cary Given/Given PhotographySometimes we all need a little loving guidance or reminder to give us a few moments of inner peace or relief. Here is a simple technique to help you do just that.

Create your very own signpost.

Choose something of our natural world that speaks to you--it might be a specific flower, bird, or tree. Or maybe the smell of evergreen, seeing a crescent moon or getting buzzed by a hummingbird. I think you get the idea. Then attach a personal message to yourself to it. A message that sparks something within you...gives you a profound sense of peace, relief or inspiration. Make it very relevant to your life. Keep your message simple and uplifting. Messages centered on gratitude, self-love, uniqueness, balance, vitality, and compassion are among many examples.

My signpost is a hawk. Every time I see a hawk, I remind myself that I am strong and I am standing sure-footed right where I am. It's a simple message that works for me. And even though I live in the city, we have regular visits to our backyard from a Coopers hawk. Every single time I see that hawk, it's a time when I need to be reminded of that reassuring message. 

As your life expands and grows, you can change your signpost to something more relevant. Just know that every time you see your signpost it will feel magical. 

We would love it if you would create a signpost and share with us, if you feel so inclined. Do you have other simple rituals that you use to help ease your way? Tell us! And if this post resonates with you, please share below.  


New! City walks with Nature Me

I love to walk so I had an idea. Why not create part urban and part nature walks that I could share with other women. So I recruited my awesome daughter Tiffany, who also loves walking, to help me design and lead free, fun and interesting walks in and around the greater Seattle area. So without further ado introducing our first Nature Me "Walk this Way, " which will explore Fremont and Gas Works Park. 

WALK THIS WAY in Fremont


This is a really fun and interesting walk through Fremont, part of the Burke-Gilman trail and Gas Works Park. The walk is approximately 3.5 miles, so depending on our pace will take 1.5 to 2 hours. We will start and end at Gas Works Park and have plenty of time to enjoy some of the cool and interesting sights along the way. The terrain is a mix of asphalt, dirt trails, and a little up and down, so wear comfy shoes. (Tennis shoes work great.) Our intent for this walk is really more about discovery and connection with nature than fitness. The exercise is just a bonus!

Date and Time: Friday, August 28 at 10 am

Where: Fremont. Meet at entrance to Gas Works Park

Optional: After the walk we will gather at a nearby coffee house for feedback and conversation.

Here's what we experience when we walk:

  • fresh, fun and uplifting 
  • full of discovery and newness
  • an easy way to connect with others
  • a nice blend of urban and nature 
  • a great way to get moving
  • a fun way to explore city neighborhoods

Sign-up: Send email to becci@rbfreelance.com. (Sorry, I don't have an email link here...working on that!)

Space is limited, so sign-up early. We will send you a confirmation with final details.

Walk on and happy summer!


Becci and Tiffany


P.S. We have more walks coming--one each month, so to get updates, make sure you are subscribed to Nature Me. You can subscribe in the box to the left of this post! And please feel free to share with the button below.


Get a taste of nature's goodness with fresh herbs 


Summer is the season for fresh herbs. Their smells are intoxicating. Their flavors spicy and pungent. And colors so beautiful! 

And I love knowing that beyond adding wonderful flavor, herbs are packed with vitamins and other essential things that our bodies need. So in an effort to get us cooking with more herbs, here are a few tidbits and tips. 


Sage is a versatile herb with soft fuzzy leaves. Its earthy, peppery taste is classic in turkey and chicken stuffing. Try frying big leaves as a garnish for pork dishes. It's yummy with mashed white beans and lemon juice. Top crostini with feta, prosciutto and sage or top roasted asparagus with sage and shaved parmesan. Add it to any of your stuffed squash recipes for a lovely fall dish. 

Its goodness: It has good antibacterial and astringent properties. A cup of sage tea with lemon goes a long way toward helping fight off a cold or sore throat. It's a good herb tea for helping dry up breast milk when weaning. Extracts of sage are often used in skin care products due to its ability to heal the skin. It has positive effects on memory and concentration.


Basil is highly aromatic and has a subtle licorice flavor. Add to a mix of olive oil, feta cheese and kalamata olives for a simple appetizer topping. Sprinkle on thick sliced tomatoes that have been drizzled with olive oil as a simple summer side dish. Toss in green salads, fresh bruschetta and final stages of pasta. For ease in preparation, stack several leaves, roll like a cigar and cut thin strips cross-wise. 

Its goodness: Basil is known to protect you from unwanted bacterial growth, is an anti-inflammatory food, has essential cardiovascular health nutrients and strengthens your immune system.


Thyme is a low growing woodsy herb with a minty, peppery, pungent flavor. It's good when combined with other herbs such as parsley and sage. Slow roasted thick-sliced roma tomatoes (overnight in oven at 200 degrees) brushed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves are outstanding! Add these tomatoes to gourmet subs or mix with white beans and basil. Thyme has long been a mainstay in soups and chicken dishes. Try adding a few sprigs to rice when simmering for a nice herby flavor.  

Its goodness: Thyme has high antioxidant levels, is a source of B-complex vitamins, and as tea it helps relieve coughs, sore throat and bronchitis symptoms.


Dill is a pungent tasting herb and used to flavor many foods. It's good in chicken, soups and seafood rubs. And who doesn't love a big fat crunchy dill pickle! My partner makes the best egg salad ever and his secret is a teaspoon or two of dill!

Its goodness: Dill contains many antioxidants and essential oils. It's rich in many vitamins including vitamins A & C and folic acid. All are essential for enhancing metabolism.



Rosemary is an evergreen herb with a strong pine-like flavor. I have a giant 15-year-old plant in my backyard that needs little maintenance and is covered with small lavender flowers in early spring. I can't roast a pan of potatoes without throwing in a little rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Mix it with coconut oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and rub it all over a whole chicken for roasting. You will never roast a chicken any other way. It's a pretty garnish for a roasted vegetable or fish platter. Put several sprigs in a tiny vase of water on you window sill and they will stay fresh for at least a week.

Its goodness: Rosemary alleviates muscle pain, improves memory, boosts the immune and circulatory systems and promotes hair growth. 


Mint is mostly known for its aromatic smell. Try sipping a cup of mint tea when you need a little pick-me-up. For the ultimate in fresh, my daughter adds it to a fruit salad with a squeeze of lime. Same goes for a delicious summer fruit beverage. A friend taught me to add a few leaves to a smoothie made with tropical fruit and cucumber. Love this! It's also a great herb in summer cocktails. Think mint julep or mint margaritas.  

Its goodness: Mint is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All good things that help prevent disease and enhance metabolism. It contains many essential oils in its leaves including menthol. The herb is used in various ways to help relieve fatigue and stress. Peppermint tea is wonderful for digestion.  


Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs and classic in French cuisine. It has a distinct anise flavor, so I don't usually combine it with other herbs. It's wonderful in frittatas with goat cheese and bell peppers. Jazz up a sauteed chicken breast by adding tarragon and lemon juice to the drippings and reduce for a couple of minutes. So, so delicious. I love it on grilled halibut with a bit of lemon juice, too. 

Its goodness: Tarragon is high in vitamins, potassium and other nutrients. Like most herbs, it has many antioxidants and helps with digestion. It has elements that support overall cardiac health. 


Chives are onion-like in flavor, but much milder. They are of the allum bulb family, but you just use the top greens, which kind of look like blades of grass. You can use these in many dishes instead of onions and their bright-green stems add nice color. Chives are good in egg dishes and tasty in salads and dressings. Add them to your favorite potato salad or mix up cherry tomatoes, feta, olive oil, herbs and chives. They are awesome in mashed potatoes. To cut, I put them in a coffee cup and snip with scissors. (You can do this with most herbs.) It's much quicker than chopping and helps maintain their delicate shape. 

Its goodness: Chives contain many antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It has properties that reduce cholesterol, and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral elements. It helps decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. The leaves are packed with B complex vitamins and minerals such as zinc and calcium. 

Now it's your turn. Do you have any favorite herbs and suggestions on how to use them? Share with us in the comment section below!