You might know Nick Symmonds as the 5-time USATF 800-meter champion. Or as the 2013 world champion who dedicated his silver medal to his gay and lesbian friends as a protest against Russian laws. Or as the runner who posted a nude photo on Twitter with the caption “For the first time in 7 years I am without an apparel sponsor. Forced to work out in the nude till a deal is signed.” (Thankfully—or not, depending on who you ask—Symmonds has since signed with Brooks, making him one of a growing number of athletes to leave Nike for smaller companies.)
You might not know, however, that this speedy, sometimes outspoken two-time Olympian is also an avid outdoorsman. Symmonds, who became an Eagle Scout while attending Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho, enjoys fishing, hunting, and hiking. In fact, just this month, he tweeted a photo of his "ultimate camping machine:"
— Nick Symmonds (@NickSymmonds) April 7, 2014
Here, Symmonds takes a break from the track and his truck to tell us about the town that inspired his love of the outdoors.
Boise is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with four very distinct seasons. Located in a valley where the desert meets the Rocky Mountains, it has hiking, boating, rafting, fishing, hunting, and skiing—all less than an hour's drive away.
Best time of year to visit?
Early fall. Boise summers can be pretty hot. I like early fall when the temperatures have come down enough that I can run, fish, or hike comfortably in the middle of the day.
One thing most people don't know about Idaho?
Idaho only has one area code. 208 for life!
Favorite place to get outside?
Bogus Basin. There are very few places where you can leave downtown and be skiing 30 minutes later. Plus, Bogus Basin has night skiing, so even if you have to work late you can still get up on the slopes.
Bittercreek Ale House. One reason: they have poutine!
The Morrison Knudsen (MK) Nature Center. They have some fish viewing ponds where you can see giant rainbow trout up close.
Best place to stay?
The Grove Hotel. It’s in the heart of downtown and located steps away from the CenturyLink Arena if you want to catch a Steelheads ice hockey game.
Need to Know:
Boise is included in Outside's list of Best Big Cities for Active Families. Symmonds agrees: "It's a great place to raise a family!"