Define small town. The "under 1 million" catagory seems quite large for a city of 100,000. And what about metropolitan areas - you could live in a "town" of 40,000 in a packed metropolitan area of 2 million and it would be more like a big city than small town.
Grew up in this town of 1,500, back then, (still here but now 47,000) farms, ponds, creeks, livestock, hunting, fishing and lots of "spur of the moment camping". We felt "remote", but Dallas was only 14 miles away. South of us was nothing but farmland. I could ride my mini-bike/dirtbike for miles without ever touching a road. We're now a big city and it feels like it, which I don't particularly enjoy. If I didn't have a nature preserve for a backyard, I'd move on. The early years, mom and dad, shaped my love and "comfort level" for the outdoors, for which I feel blessed.
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
Grew up in Newark, New Jersey. Well actually Irvington, but it is technically part of the Newark city sprawl. Then the Jersey shore during my teen years. Then grew a love for nature and wanted to be surrounded by it. So I now live and go to college in a small rural town in down east Maine with a population less than 2k. There is more moose, deer, and coyotes than people - gotta love that.
I think my love for nature stems from being from a big city and then Manhattans insane sprawl. Seeing all the garbage along the Garden State Parkway and I-95 and, well, everywhere really. Plastic bags in trees and McDonald's wrappers stuck on fences and bushes and such. I realized how badly humans are messing up the planet and it sparked the activist in me. Even though as a child growing up in the hood (literally a poop-shoot hole) and not having a backyard and outside play time was restricted to a park after my parents worked and before sunset. It molded me, and I am thankful I was exposed to the big inner city life.
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel
LIke a lot of surveys, this one has some real methodological issues. My family moved every five years or so, and each time it was to a differnt kind of environment. How to answer that?
Seems like the original survey was designed to prove a point...and it doesnīt. But then, I design surveys as part of my job, and Iīve never designed one that didnīt leave at least one question unanswered...because we didnīt see it coming!
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Small university town (15,000 at the time) in the midst of cowboy country. OK, it was the only university in Wyoming (a state still so small of population that it still has only one representative in Congress), the town was Laramie. EDIT, later: The U. of Wyoming athletic teams are, of course, the "Cowboys." Starting thirty miles west of town, you could start out and end up halfway down Colorado and come back again. We did this with the horses (6-7 weeks' trip) every summer. It's not something I'd want to do with horses now, but it certainly would make a feasible backpack as long as you don't mind some road walking. In fact, about 2/3 of our trip most years was on what is now the Continental Divide Trail.
Edited by OregonMouse (12/25/1010:35 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: California (southern)
Objection, Your Honor! You do have to grow old, you don't have to grow up....
I was a military brat during WWII, but basically grew up in a large city (big "D.") However, I had a lot of very fine experiences on vacations - not backpacking, but fishing. However, it prepped me for the wonderful morning when I got off the train in Tucson and saw --Mountains!
It's interesting reading this because as I was growing up I constantly tried to get back to the woods. The people that raised my Grandmother after her mother died at a young age had a small farm. I went there as much as I could every summer and every weekend. When we moved to Virginia I still traveled bac to Ohio to go there. And even now I went back to rural life. I bought 60 acres and enjoy the space. Backpacking now is my way to get away from everything, my business that has taken over my life and all the responsibilities of maintaining my land. I have already met a great bunch of people and hope to meet many more.
I grew up in a small town in the North-West of England; population is perhaps a thousand or so. I backpacked all over Western and Eastern Europe as well as parts of the Middle East and Asia.
I moved to Denver in 2000 and have spent the past decade hiking, backpacking and climbing the mountain ranges here in Colorado. I have since completed the CT and CDT, as well as various other "acheiverments" such as the Triple By-pass and the Four-Pass Loop.
Unfortunately my knowledge of other states is limited.
So the answer for me is two-fold. I originally grow up in a small town, but now I live in a big city.
I grew up in a more or less "one million pop. city". Escaped every week end for long walks in the countryside, and holidays to the mountains, with family. Desperately "hoped" for camping trips, but not until I was 14 or 15. Discovered serious hiking at that age, and the costal scenery too. Killed the attraction for mountains, in consequence ! Then discovered serious travelling, and the added bonus of local hikes and "adventure". Out of that, I remain fiercely an urban dweller!
I grew up in several medium-sized cities: Pasadena and San Bernardino in California and Bellevue, Washington. Since all of these were near major metropolitan ceners (Los Angeles and Seattle) I opted for the large city category. Once I started working, I have tried to either live in rural areas or in medium sized towns; not always successfully. My work took me to University towns: Seattle, WA, Corvallis, OR, Flagstaff, AZ, Logan, UT and Fort Collins, Colorado. When I worked in Seattle I commuted from Snohomish which at that time was rural. All the other towns were smallish to medium sized (<100,000 to about 150,000. Since I retired I have lived in rural Washington and in rural Arizona. When I was growing up, my parents and I spent most of our free time camping, fishing and backpacking. That and the Boy Scouts developed my love of the outdoors.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
My small town, although we lived 25 miles from "town", had a HS graduating class of 10 when I graduated in NV. My mom went to a one room school in MN. That schoolhouse is now a garage, across the road from where it was on my grandparents farm. My grandparents bought it and my cousin has since made it into a garage on the remaining small acreage that was part of the farm that got sold off after my grandfather passed away.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I grew up in middle of Rockford, Illinois. It's the second largest city in the State, about 90 miles west of Chicago. My walk to school each morning looked (and felt) like the opening scene in the movie "Joe and the Volcano". I left Rockford in 1973 when I was fourteen.
Around that time Rockford was rated last of the 300 largest U.S. cities to live in. It also had the distinction of having the highest murder per capita rate in the U.S.
My love for hiking was not borne from family tradition. We never went hiking or camping. I won't say it's got nothing to do with where I grew up though...
I remember reading a story about the Sequoias in 3rd grade, and wondering if, then doubting that, I'd ever get to see them. I can say with some certainty that it was a profound moment that led me to an understanding of my situation, and even those around me.
It led me to questioning why we lived in Rockford. It led to me grabbing the first chance I had to leave Rockford, which got me to the Sequoias
Eventually, it led me to understanding I could live wherever I wanted. It was easy figuring out that I didn't want to live in the city, but not as easy figuring where to go. A good friend gave me some great advice and a formula for figuring that out.
Backpacking has a lot to do with why I'm here in the Ozarks, that is for sure
Loc: Portland, OR
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. It is hard to say whether it is over 1 million now or not, as that would depend on how far into the suburbs you want to extend the "city". Within the actual city limits it is around 500,000.
The big key for me becoming a backpacker was that my parents were teachers and we always took camping trips in the summer. When we camped, we always hiked. It was the cheapest way to get out of town. I loved camping and hiking from almost as soon as I could walk and talk.
The next biggest key was living in Oregon as a teenager when the first surge of the big backpacking wave broke in about 1970. I became an REI member with a number just over 170,000. At the time it seemed to me like I was jumping the bandwagon pretty late, with more than 150,000 people ahead of me.
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
My parents only car camped - now granted we were pretty poor, so it was free car camping (drive the car as far out into some out of the way state forest and camp there - I was traumatized as a small child that there wasn't any bathroom facilities.)
However, I think the big reason I like to hike and camp was my Grandma's and my aunt's. Both just set me free year around - I only came in when I got hungry. So I was building forts, dams, whatever by myself for days in a row (I had to come in at night, though in the summer at the aunt's I could sleep in the tent.) Even at my dads I would hike out back, and bicycle around the country-side until I had to hurry back for dinner.
I know of few people (in person) in the lower 48 who had that kind of freedom - more common up here, because what else are the kids gonna do?
I grew up in Covina, Calif. , back when there were still vacant fields and creative kids running the streets for lack of indoor entertainment. Don't know if you could have considered it a small town back then due to it's proximity to LA. , but I guess you could consider us on the outskirts. Our home was faceing the San Gabriel Mountains so we usually had a great view unless the smog had its way. My Dad had to support us nine kids on an eighth grade education which meant he took no time for vacations or camping. I can only remember the 2 of us fishing together only once, but I don't blame him one bit cause the other 8 were a real handful. I Love you Dad & Mom. My older brother seem to have all the fun in the outdoor department and occasionally took me fishing. He ended up in the Airforce somewhere over in Turkey so I ended up making my own adventures. I ran away to the mountains once, but after I ate my p&j sand I came back, about 4 hours later. I would sometimes take the bus for a quarter over to San Dimas and hike a mile or so to the Puddingstone resivoir to fish before I needed a license. Of course I was only about 9 and had to have my older sister tag along. Then I was able to take my younger sister until we had to hike to a better fishing spot halfway around the lake, I think she got discouraged. When I was 16 is when it really started. My older Brother took me on my first week long backpacking trip in the High Sierra's. I can still remember being just totally blown away on how vast everything was up there at 10,000 ft. Since then I've usually been able to take a trip at least one week a year in the Sierra's and it's something I hope I am able to do for the rest of my life..Dang, talk about spilling my guts.
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