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Boise vs Albuquerque

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Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby birdhead » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:19 am

I have faculty job offers in Boise and Albuquerque and I am trying to decide where to go, if anywhere. I am currently in Santa Barbara where I am used to having tons of recreational opportunities within five miles of my house. I would love to hear from folks that have lived in one or both of these places regarding hiking, climbing, and cycling opportunities in each city and the surrounding areas (within 3 hours).

Additionally, I am looking for a good safe family place so thoughts on general culture, schools, and neighborhoods would also be helpful. We also like going to parks, getting together with our neighbors, going to microbreweries and good restaurants, and going to see music.

Thanks!
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby mfox79 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:59 am

Boise has . mediocore climbing ang hiking but still better then AZ. Ifi had the choice itwould be Boise all the way!
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby lcarreau » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:07 am

mfox79 wrote:Boise has . mediocore climbing ang hiking but still better then AZ. Ifi had the choice itwould be Boise all the way!


Albuquerque is in New Mexico, not Arizona. That's okay ... I've taken the left turn instead of the right and ended up in Albuquerque many times ..

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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby lcarreau » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:13 am

And ... what the hell's wrong with Arizona ?

I fried two eggs on the sidewalk today, and downed them with a quart of OJ ... tomorrow, I'll probably have the same thing. 8)
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby Marmaduke » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:30 am

lcarreau wrote:
mfox79 wrote:Boise has . mediocore climbing ang hiking but still better then AZ. Ifi had the choice itwould be Boise all the way!


Albuquerque is in New Mexico, not Arizona. That's okay ... I've taken the left turn instead of the right and ended up in Albuquerque many times ..

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Classic Post!!
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby jfrishmanIII » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:17 am

Depends partly on your relationship to water and winter. Albuquerque actually has great hiking and rock climbing, and some skiing, right outside the city, and reasonable access to big alpine wilderness areas in the Sangre de Cristos and San Juans (it's closer to some of Colorado's best mountains than Denver is), plus neat desert areas for the cool season. But Boise would probably be more appealing if you're into winter sports or paddling, and there are awesome mountains within pretty easy driving distance there too. Albuquerque does have some interesting culture and good beer and restaurants, and there are plenty of good neighborhoods. But New Mexico public schools and youth culture are not great, to put it mildly, so unless private school is an option for you, that may be a decisive factor. I love living here, but I love Idaho too, and honestly, the culture around Boise is probably more wholesome.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:15 pm

I lived in Albuquerque for 16 years-- I moved to Vegas 14 years ago. What I miss most about the outdoors in New Mexico, was the fast and easy access I had to X-C skiing in the Sandias. Typically it took me no more than 50 minutes to access the top of the mountain by the tram on the west, or the summit road on the east. I have fast access to snow here in Vegas, but generally it is too steep and nasty for X-C.

There is good rock climbing on the west side of the Sandias; that's not my thing, but I had friends who went every weekend. Though the gentle alpine ranges in the Sangre de Cristos are not that far away, you may find the drive to Santa Fe, and up to the ski bowl, to be a bit tedious.

Other ranges that I visited, without too much effort, were the Manzanos, Manzanitas, Magdalenas, Ladrone, Jemez, Mt Taylor, and volcanic necks (such as Cabezon) in the Rio Puerco valley. And of course, if you are willing to drive a few hours, there is Mount Wheeler area by Taos.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:28 am

I am a native of from Santa Fe. My family is still there. I left ABQ for the last time in 1998.

New Mexico has great caving, one of the best states for the activity. There is a very active caving group there. Rock-climbing underground is awesome.

The Sandias have some decent climbing, but the approaches are kinda long. The other peaks in NM are generally class 1, 2 and 3, I was never really interested in anything except the Shield and the volcanic necks.

The skiing at Santa Fe is great. Season passes at Sandia Peak are cheap, but its gotta be a good snow year to make it worthwhile. Taos was great, but I hear they've started allowing snow boarders. Just a bit further north, and even better, is Wolf Creek in southern Colorado, worth the extra drive. Around the Santa Fe ski area is a vast area of great backcountry for telemark skiing and touring. On the way down from Santa Fe ski area is an awesome Japanese spa (10,000 Waves) for a good soak and/or massage.

There is a large group of trail runners and Hash House Harriers in Santa Fe and ABQ both. On the east margin of the city are a series of city parks and trails where you can get in trail runs of your choice anything from 1 to 6 hour runs. The lower trails, that aren't in wilderness, are popular for mountain biking with extremely easy access. I would never ride a road bike anywhere in a city, but ABQ has numerous bike-only trails that criss-cross the city.

A few hours northwest is the Four Corners area - Farmington, Durango...

ABQ is a city of almost 1,000,000 but it feels like a small town. After a while it seems that everyone you meet is a good friend with one your good friends.

New Mexico has been in a terrible drought for the past decade and the national forest are all closed during the summer. Most of it has burned up over the past few years.

And then.... drum roll...... there is the crime.

I left ABQ because I couldn't take the crime anymore. Sorry if I'm not PC, but there is a large Latino population in ABQ and with them comes gangs and drugs and crime. During my last stay in ABQ (1992-1998) I experienced home invasions, burglaries, muggings, auto theft, auto vandalism (generally smashed windshields if you park on the street), and random drive-by assaults (generally while jogging). And I lived in the more "exclusive" part of town (the northeast heights). All perpetrators were Latino (including the burglaries, which were witnessed by my neighbors). I will never live in New Mexico again. The Indians are still rather hostile towards everyone. The early Spanish conqistadors committed some atrocities, for which the Indians are still angry. Likewise, the early white settlers also commited numerous atrocities. You can sense that the peace is uneasy.

Ain't never been to Idaho that I can remember. Think I drove through Boise once, it must have been memorable.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby mansfieo » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:03 am

I live in the North End of Boise. From my house, it is 1/2 mile to the foothills trail system for biking or running (http://ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org/) 5 blocks to great beer and food, 1/2 mile to downtown with a couple great indie theaters, good bars, and great beer and food (Lots of new breweries springing up around here). I am a block from an elementary school, 4 from a junior high, and 8 from the best high school in the state (at least in 2007). It takes me about 45 mins to get to whitewater, and in an hour or so I can be at a 15 miles stretch of continuous class V. Also a WW park in town. Climbing is a 15 min drive to hundreds of routes on columnar basalt, or 40 if you want a few on granite. Skiing, alpine and XC is a 40 min drive up the hill to a resort the size of Breckenridge, CO in skiable acres. The Sawtooths are 2 1/2 hours away with some great alpine climbs and classic cl. 3-4 scrambles. There is ONE peak in the range with a trail to the top. A little further along you get bigger peaks and easier routes more akin to the CO rockies (Pioneers, Lost RIvers). You can get to BC skiing within an hour, and it gets better the farther you drive. Oh and we have the most soakable hot springs of any state. Almost all are undeveloped and not commercial. Best part about it all: virtually empty.
Great coffee shops, restaurants,galleries, and theaters. for the size of town it is, there's a lot going on. Music and other shows stop in Boise because it is a natural stopping point on the way from SLC and Denver to Seattle and Portland, even if they wouldn't normally.
Problem with Boise: The sprawl is getting pretty bad. You definitely have to pick your neighborhood if you want walking/biking access to the good stuff. NOrth and East ends have the best schools and access to the foothills. Also, it takes a long time to get to southern utah, which in my opinion is a travesty.
I've never been to NM but I've heard nothing but great things about the norther part of the state. At least in terms of rec opportunities.

Oh one more thing. As a college professor, I'm sure the most important factor in your decision will be which school has a better football team. BSU all the way. Go Broncos.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:01 pm

Ah yes, the crime in Albuquerque. We too lived in the northeast heights, not in a gated community. A fellow was murdered a short distance away. My neighbor had a bullet come through her window. We found a stolen car parked in front of our house. There were police cars up the street at least 2x a year. My mailbox was smashed off at least every two years. Anything we left on the front porch-- even chained down-- was stolen.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby birdhead » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:41 pm

Thanks for the input! It seems like a push for me in terms of recreational opportunities between the two cities, although the Sawtooths look quite spectacular! You guys cited my main concerns with ABQ pretty quickly, namely the crime and quality of the schools. Several of my friends work at Sandia and are planning to send their kids to private school, which the UNM faculty also echoed. That would add $15K a year to cost of living. I also felt like ABQ was not a walkable city, unless I was living in the Nob Hill area, whereas Boise's North End and Downtown are quite walkable.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby boisedoc » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:11 am

Living here in Boise for the past 8 years, I agree pretty much with mansfieo. I have never lived in New Mexico but have done a fair amount of hiking and scrambling there and in Southern Colorado. I think there is little doubt that Boise is a safer city. There is very little crime. I think the public schools are OK although like most places, there have been budget cuts. My son goes to a private school for what its worth. I live in the Highlands near the North End and find the area great for running and mountain biking. I think Santa Barbara is hard to beat for weather but there are a lot more mountains close to here.

I spend most of my free time peak bagging and there are options literally every direction. While I like the San Juans and Sangre de Cristos quite a bit, there are just a lot more options around here. And unlike climbing a Colorado 14er, the mountains are empty. And its not just Idaho. It is not too far for climbing in Utah, Oregon and Nevada as well.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby BigRob » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:09 am

I agree that ABQ is close to some great things in Colorado. The things that are major turn offs for ABQ: 1. it is a great place to get murdered. 2. NM finishes in public education 49th, with only Mississippi being worse. It has pretty good weather. Boise has good river sports and skiing close to town. I don't really know about climbing there. My one friend in Boise move there from Telluride and loves it.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby jfrishmanIII » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:40 pm

Sierra Ledge Rat put it more bluntly than I wanted too, but he's right. To be fair, posts here are making ABQ sound like Juarez, and it's not that bad. Also, I think you guys lived here towards the crime peak, and ABQ has been moving in the right direction in recent years. But it's still a problem. Since you've got kids to consider and no other New Mexico ties, honestly I'd probably lean towards Boise. I hardly spent any time actually in Boise, but I've spent a lot in Idaho, and can definitely second all of mansfieo's praise. Best wilderness whitewater and hot springs in the nation, if not the world, and TONS of spectacular backcountry that sees very little traffic.
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Re: Boise vs Albuquerque

Postby birdhead » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:13 am

Thanks to all for the input! It definitely helps give me a better picture. How are the indoor climbing gyms in Boise? Is Urban Ascent the best place to go? How is the climbing wall at Boise State University? I figure I'll need to find some indoor activities for the winter.
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