Concrete Jungle - Where the Living is Harder
by Greer Hitch
The smog sets in as the sun bakes the city. Your walk becomes a plod and the city around you, your nemesis. Sure, you can battle your way through, biding your time until an opportunity arises - a brief encounter with adrenaline, a short adventure for your photo album. But for the truly addicted outdoors person, those quick trips won't be enough. Your drug of choice is the texture of something natural, the bite of wind on your face, and of course, the rush of adrenaline through your veins. Sooner or later, you're going to need your daily fix. In cities across the East and West, opportunities to feed your habit continue to pop up. Here are a few urban pursuits to satisfy your daily craving. Take your days in the concrete jungle beyond the daily rat race.
New York: For those looking to slap some slopers, crimp the side of a brick wall, or find a climbing partner, the Big Apple is loaded with choices. You can always pull a King Kong and go buildering anywhere in the city. If youíre into more traditional routes, go to the city's climbing website to hook up with other climbers, find a gym, or scope some sick bouldering spots in Central Park. Need a physical address to frequent after a day at the office? Make use of the City Climbers Club, a nonprofit rock gym and climbing community at 533 W. 59th St.
Crimp some wall in the city with a little buildering.
Force yourself to get those endorphins kicking by training for the New York City Marathon. Held in November, the fans go nuts, and the run gives you a tour of the city minus the traffic.
Boston: A city blooming with culture and history, Boston also offers the outdoor enthusiast numerous daily adventures. In the winter time, slap on your skis and explore eight trails and four lifts of the Blue Hills Ski Area. At only 10 miles from downtown, ski here in the afternoon and be back in the city for dinner.
Offering activities for both seasons, the Charles River Reservation serves up 17 miles of linear parkway along the riverfront with canoeing, ice skating, baseball, and in-line skating.
Or throw your tent on your pack and sleep under the stars in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. Camping, swimming, and fishing are all accessible by boat or public ferry from Long Wharf downtown or the South Shore - a quiet night, moments away.
Washington D.C.: Instead of spending your Sunday doing laundry and cleaning the house, see the nation's capital without setting foot on a subway - rent a bike. Ride the Capital on the Capital Crescent Trail, a railroad trail project running through the Northwest D.C. area.
Need a quick getaway - like a really quick getaway? Check out some of D.C.'s short hiking trails. Head over on your lunch hour and find your Zen.
The Capital Crescent Trail ambles through the nationís capital, letting you experience the sights without setting foot on a subway.
San Francisco: If you find yourself drowning in paperwork, drop what you're doing and head over to the San Francisco Bay. Rent Boston whalers or Zodiac rigid hulls by the half hour or hour and enjoy city views from the water.
When you need to let off some steam, grab your mountain bike and tear up one of the city's nine mountain biking trails.
San Francisco also offers many opportunities to run, bike, and swim your stress away. With the San Francisco Tri Club and the Golden Gate Triathlon Club's daily workouts, your schedule will be packed. If you're really looking for an adrenalin rush, sign up for the yearly swim to Alcatraz. Don't worry, the sharks aren't that bad.
Get that adrenaline flowing with a little swim to Alcatraz. Keep an eye out for "wildlife."
Portland: If you're craving more than just a jaunt through the woods, hook up with some other outdoor crazies in the Portland area with the PDX Adventure Racers - they'll take you out for a spin. Or if you need a quick fix, head to the Portland Rock Gym for some lunch break wall time.
Portland also has a heavy population of runners ready to hit the road. Check out routes and events at the Portland Running and Walking Company.
Seattle: There's nothing better than catching your own dinner, and in Seattle, a fresh Salmon on your plate is only a boat ride away. Reel 'em in and eat well.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle, lies 482-acre Bridle Trails State Park. With 28 miles of trails, this park begs to be explored.
Need a quick wildlife hit? Hop in a sea kayak and head out to watch the whales in the gorgeous Puget Sound.
So if you find yourself sweltering in the city this summer, and your addiction to the outdoors is hungry, feed it with one of these getaways, and teach those suits how it's really done.