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Where would you live?
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Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 16:39:03 MST Print View

So at the end of summer I'm going to head overseas (from New Zealand) - I'm still trying to decide where to go though.

What cities around the world would people consider ideal bases with lots of easily accessible hiking? I'm restricted by work to living in a city, and as a result most of my trips end up being 2-4 days (~12 hours walking each day). I don't mind a bit of travel for longer trips, but for short trips anything more than 6-8 hours drive/transit time gets to be a stretch.

I know lots of people on here are from the US, which seems to have lots of great parks - I'm curious about hiking in Europe+Britain too though, but it's hard to get an overview of the hiking with the parks spread over so many countries.

Obviously there are heaps of other factors that decide where people live, but if you forgot about everything but hiking, where would you go ?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:06:25 MST Print View

"What cities around the world would people consider ideal bases with lots of easily accessible hiking?"

Seattle in Washington state. There dozens of hikes in the Cascades within an hour driving time, and literally hundreds within 3-4 hours. You can be on the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass within an hour. The Olympics can be accessed in less than 1 day by either driving or driving with a ferry ride across Puget sound. It's a candy shop up here.

AND, there is a fair contingent of BPLers up here to get you off on the right foot.

Edited by ouzel on 01/13/2010 18:07:41 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:07:39 MST Print View

I'm thinking of moving to Vancouver, Canada in part because of the FANTASTIC opportunities for access to the outdoors right on your doorstep.

Other cities around the world... Japan, Nagano or Sapporo. Britain, Edinburgh (great cultural scene, too). the States, Seattle, Portland (Oregon or Maine), Eugene (Oregon... access to the ocean, to the Coastal Range, to the Cascades, and to the desert in the east), San Francisco, Boulder (Colorado), Missoula or Boseman (Montana), to name just a few Norway, Oslo or Bergen Sweden Stockholm or Goteborg Germany, just about any of the southern cities if you want real mountains France, just about any of the eastern or southern cities Spain, just about anywhere! Switzerland, the WHOLE country is a hiker's paradise! Italy, the best alpine walking is in the north, easily accessed from most cities, but central Italy also has good hiking.
...most of the countries in Eastern Europe have easy access to mountains

I could go on and on, but these are places I've spent a lot of time in. Most places like Japan and Europe are sized similarly to NZ, with no enormous distances... though places like Europe and Japan are more developed with infrastructure, and therefore have more transportation to remote locations, than NZ, so distances between towns and terminals are shorter. Places like the States or Australia, though, require a whole different mindset in terms of distances... the States is huge.

Edited by butuki on 01/13/2010 18:13:54 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:07:45 MST Print View

"It's a candy shop up here."

Stop rubbing it in.....

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:31:41 MST Print View

"Stop rubbing it in....."

Heh heh...

b s
(smyth) - F
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:33:15 MST Print View

Yeah, what Doug said. Seriously, do not move to Philadelphia. I think it's 3-4 hours to the closest grassy hill.

I flirted with Las Vegas a few years ago. It's a half days drive from tons of stuff. But then again, it's Vegas and not likely the type of city you're looking for.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/13/2010 18:34:12 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 23:11:06 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:38:28 MST Print View

... i thought for sure you'd say "Bishop, California."

Well, at least not "Boring, Oregon" (a real place!), though, funny enough, there are probably lots of good places to hike around Boring!

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:39:21 MST Print View

Where I was in Vermont last year (just outside of Montpelier) I was a 2-3 hour drive from just about anywhere in the Adirondacks, White Mountains, and Green Mountains, so that was a great place for hiking. Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield were both within a 20 minute drive. For me, coming from Maine, 2-3 hours drive for so many good hiking trails is also like a candy shop. Maybe not as well-stocked as Washington, but... I still like it.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:41:29 MST Print View

Seattle is a great suggestion. Had a "preview" of the Olympics and the PCT , pretty spectacular and not overcrowded at all.
(and you DO NOT have to stay in huts...)
Looks and feels much bigger than it is and has more outdoor shops than you need (well, almost..)
Unfortunately they drive on the wrong side of the road. We tried to drive on the correct (left) side several times but then gave that up.
I am thinking of Wanaka for myself.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:41:31 MST Print View

I rode my bike with a couple of buddies around Vermont last year to celebrate my 50th. Rode through Montpelier. I really liked the place quite a bit, if I remember correctly!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 18:43:14 MST Print View

But, of course, the real question is ..... why do you want to leave New Zealand! I rode my bike with a buddy around the South Island a number of years ago and fell in love with the place. Have always said I'd return.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Where would you live?" on 01/13/2010 18:54:28 MST Print View

Port Angeles, WA, the best city at the foot of the Olympic Peninsula, only a stones throw away from Victoria, British Columbia and a very short flight to Alaska. You can kayak, climb glaciated peaks, and fish for salmon all in the same day living in the Olympic Peninsula. Having lived there I only want to go back. Boulder, CO and Fort Collins, CO look very appealing to me, the Rockies are the backyard for the folks fortunate enough to live along the Front Range.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: tom... on 01/13/2010 18:55:24 MST Print View

"... i thought for sure you'd say "Bishop, California."

I would have but, unfortunately, my wife has the majority vote in our domestic democracy. :(

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Where would you live on 01/13/2010 19:23:56 MST Print View

Define "city" How urban does the area need to be? Would this level of urbanization be defined by population alone?
What sort of climate? Wouldn't access to relatively nearby trails year 'round be a consideration? What about the 5 days a week you are working. Want to take a nice walk after work?

Is hiking necessarily defined by wilderness at elevation?

I was reading the thread or report about "7 days on the Katy" and thinking how great it is that here in the USA we are finally beginning to get the barest hint of a framework of cross country walking routes through otherwise "normal" countryside. The only state I'm aware of that currently has a (relatively)comprehensive system of "urban or suburban" trails is Connecticutt and it is delightful. One of my hopes is that the trail system in the US can expand to cover routes like those in Ct. across otherwise "normal" countryside.

In Great Britain there are long cross country routes that are really fun to walk and very scenic all over everywhere.Maybe London would be a possibility. Walk all over town, take the train for an hour or so in any direction of the compass for all sorts of cross country routes. Excellent transportation system for access to all the delights of the continent.

Seattle is hard to beat for access to the Cascades and Northwest and it's a hoppin scene. Same on a smaller, possibly fuzzier as in friendlier, more "small town scale for Portland.

The operators of this blog have set up shop in Bozeman Mt. Pretty small but works for them!,_MT

Asheville NC larger than Bozeman, but large enough to have a fairly functional airport, mild year-round climate and very central location for the eastern US:,_North_Carolina

The Albuquerque NM area has lots of options

Guess the best idea/ most necessary pre-requisite is to tightly define the parameters necessary for the pursuit of your career.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 20:13:38 MST Print View

Thanks for so many great replies. Looks like I have some tough choices ahead! Doesn't look like I can go too wrong though.

Miguel - if I even get to hike in a third of these places, I would consider myself very lucky.

Douglas - well, I'll certainly miss the walking here, despite doing as much as I can for the last 3 years there is still a lifetime's worth to do. But it's time to see a bit more of the world. Plus shifting hemispheres at the right time means you get to skip a winter ;)

Cola - by city I mean somewhere with a population of perhaps a few hundred thousand or more (thats in the total greater urban area). That's just based on where I see jobs here in New Zealand (I work on computer software). Anything smaller and the jobs seem to become very scarce, particularly if I don't know already know someone local. I often regret being tied to an office job, but... that's another discussion ;)

Interesting question about wilderness vs 'countryside' walking, New Zealand has very little of the latter (sadly), but it's seems a great way to travel and see a country. I wonder though what camping is like? I do enjoy wandering along a valley and just picking a nice spot by the river.

Good point about climate - one thing I've enjoyed about NZ hiking is that you can easily do it year round, with mostly the same set of gear. I would certainly miss that.

Ok, time to head out to the local candy shop - while it's still local !

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 20:25:41 MST Print View

Well, the greater Washington DC area isn't bad at the moment for two reasons: lots of jobs (unlike much of the rest of the country at the moment) and there is a lot of decent hiking/backpacking with 2-4 hours (up to four hours for some great spots in Pennsylvania).

Personally, I'm not a fan of the area because there's so many fricking people, and I'd prefer a much less urban area (perhaps 3 years to retirement, then I'm heading either NE or NW, woohoo!). But if you're job hunting in our States at the moment, it's not a terrible place to look.

Of course, I've already gone against your "think of hiking only, to heck with the rest" stipulation in your original post! What can I say, I'm a realist!

Edited by idester on 01/13/2010 20:26:53 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Where would you live? on 01/13/2010 20:42:11 MST Print View

Seattle is OK -- but Vancouver, Canada is HEAD AND SHOULDERS above. It's a vibrant, clean and modern city with all the amenities and great infrastructure -- plus the great outdoor is just a few steps away. Methinks it is as perfect as a city can be -- at least in summertime.

Travis Naibert
(outwest) - F
Albuquerque, NM? on 01/13/2010 21:00:12 MST Print View

Someone else suggested Albuquerque, NM. I lived there for three years and it is not a bad place, kind of a weird city but good people and it is ~30 minutes to dozens of trails and within 3 hours of both the southern-most Rocky Mountains and numerous "desert" ranges in south central New Mexico, which allows for cool forest hiking in the summer and warmish (3 season) conditions even in the winter. And the outdoor scene is pretty limited, so you can get lots of peace and quiet if you don't mind some poorly maintained paths. Santa Fe, which is not quite big enough to match your desired population size, is also a great city, though a little further from desert hiking in the winter.

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
live on 01/13/2010 21:40:43 MST Print View

Big Sur was quite nice this last weekend....

London has always been a great place to be.
The South of France... yum.
Montana... Colorado... Wyoming... Wow!
I have a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico... but I would not go exploring any of its surrounding wilderness... bad things in them bushes....
Again... NorCal... beautiful! But California is e$$$pensive.

Edited by goldenmeanie on 01/13/2010 21:43:12 MST.