Undriver #5,283: Michael A. Smith: Urban Hiker
When Michael Smith first moved to Seattle in 2008, he’d go hiking in the Cascades. “I got tired of driving an hour each way to enjoy a hike,” he said. “Seattle’s got plenty of hills,” he reasoned. Why not hike there, and get to know his new city while skipping all that stressful car travel?
Since then, his urban hikes have taken him all over the city, and have ranged up to 22 miles in length. Michael heads out without a set path, and often without a destination. He hikes with just water, his camera, and a sense of exploration. “You really learn the city when you’re on foot,” he says. “You see so much more.” He’s done urban hikes in San Francisco, Vancouver, Portland, New York City, Auckland, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Kuala Lumper – but Seattle is his favorite urban-hiking city, because of the hills and distinct neighborhoods.
When he first started out urban hiking in Seattle, he’d bring along the GPS from his car, in case he got lost. Now he just finds his way from the topography and the position of the sun. When he gets home, he maps re-traces his steps and measures the distance, using GMap-Pedometer online. He then posts the resulting maps and his photographs on his blog – follow along on his urban hikes here!
Michael’s urban hikes are usually solo adventures, so he can explore without agenda, and listen to his body as he finds his way. He has also led five “Espresso Hikes” for his Coffee Club of Seattle meetup, walking up to five miles between coffee destinations.
What’s in your city, waiting to be discovered? Set out on an urban hike and find out!
Michael’s Undriving pledge: “Walk to the grocery store more often.” (Some of his grocery destinations are two miles away!)