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About

WELCOME TO DISCOVER OUTDOORS

Discover Outdoors is the premiere adventure outfitter for city dwellers. Leading thousands of explorers each year since 2004, our goal is to remove the barrier between city-living and nature-loving by making the outdoors accessible. Whether you are a first-time hiker or rock climber, or a thrill-seeking explorer, you can find a local day trip or multi-day adventure around New York and the northeast on our year-round calendar. You can even travel the world with us.

We manage the details so that you can escape the city, embrace adventure and discover the outdoors.

And the best part? When you live adventure with Discover Outdoors, you help us give adventure to deserving, New York City students through our nonprofit, the Discover Outdoors Foundation.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to improve quality of life through meaningful outdoor experiences. We strive to create a more connected community through the pursuit of outdoor exploration and education and in doing so, encourage people everywhere to live adventure and give adventure.

OUR TEAM

Discover Outdoors guides are leaders, holding the highest certifications and setting the industry standard. Boundlessly capable, resourceful and caring, our unmatched team is motivated by our mantra - "Live adventure. Give adventure."

We are accepting applications for qualified Discover Outdoors guides and interns. Learn more >.


KIRK REYNOLDS

CEO, SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer

Kirk Reynolds

Kirk aims to turn New Yorkers into hikers—- one office worker at a time. Hailing from a small Missouri town, Kirk moved to New York City pursuing big dreams and even bigger ideas. Kirk blends passion with excellence to ensure Discover Outdoors is second to none. A competitive sports enthusiast and nine-time marathoner, Kirk is committed to sharing his excitement for the outdoors. His worldwide adventures have informed many of his plans for unforgettable, inspiring trips. Under his leadership, Discover Outdoors offers the ability for urbanites to take part in exploration and adventure.


Lauren Skonieczny

OPERATIONS MANAGER, SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer

Kennedy Reynolds

A proud New Englander, Lauren started exploring the woods from the time she could walk and grew up hiking and camping throughout the northeast.  Her passion for the outdoors and her constant search for the next challenge has taken her on backpacking adventures in the Presidentials and Adirondacks, the Pacific Northwest, Iceland, Dominica, and Tanzania.  When she’s not guiding, Lauren plays Aussie rules football, runs ultramarathons, plays with her (adorable) dog, and googles phrases that start with “Best Hiking in…”  Lauren loves to share her energy and excitement with other New Yorkers - helping them learn about the beauty in and beyond their backyard and to discover the great things they’re capable of accomplishing.


DAN COOPER

YOUTH MANAGER, SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, L1 Avalance, AMGA SPI

Dan Cooper

Getting outside has always been a part of Dan’s life, from his early days in Utah skiing, rock-climbing, and backpacking, to his later years in Alaska ski-mountaineering. Most recently, he combined his love for being in the mountains with a love he has for education by serving as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan; in his free time as a volunteer teacher he skied and hiked in places around the country. Graduate school in International Educational Development at Teachers College brought Dan to New York City, but the energy and culture keep him here. He loves that he hears so many languages spoken and sees such diversity. Nowadays, Dan combines his love for education, the outdoors, and New York City by getting its residents off the pavement and into the mountains.


KEVIN CAFARO

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Kevin grew up in Ohio and New Jersey in the scouts, spending his days in the woods and climbing things he wasn’t supposed to. Nowadays you can find him hiking and climbing in the Shawangunks and the Adirondacks. He also enjoys snowboarding, scuba diving and sailing in the tri-state area. He is always ready to share his experience as a high ropes instructor, and loves hitting the trail with fellow New Yorkers.


MARC LEONE

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, AMGA CWI

Marc Leone

Native to the northeast, Marc was born and raised in Southern Connecticut. As he kid he loved getting lost in the woods on missions to clean up the litter left behind by others. Now he spends his time kayaking on the rivers and lakes in Connecticut, hiking, camping, and climbing whatever he can get his hands and feet on – still carrying his trash bag for litter and determined to complete his childhood mission. He has recently hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, camped on the gulf shore in Alabama, and backpacked through western Turkey. Marc loves meeting new people and discovering new places with others.


LEANN HOLLAND

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer

LeAnn Holland

Born to the unique prairie ecosystem of western Minnesota (where the grasses grow seven feet tall and the trees grow miles apart), LeAnn embraced the simplicity and remoteness of primitive living. For adventure, she traveled to every U.S. state but Hawaii and 17 foreign countries, seeking out opportunities for mountaineering, expedition kayaking and Tae Kwon Do. On summer breaks from teaching middle school on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, she put over 1500 miles on her legs hiking the Badlands, High Sierras of California and the Appalachian Trail. Now in NYC working on her PhD. in Philosophy and Education, LeAnn lives to connect people to nature.


NATHAN DUCLOS

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness Paramedic, L1 Avalanche, EMT Paramedic

Nathan grew up hiking in the white mountains of New Hampshire and his love of the outdoors has taken him around the world. He has climbed, guided and taught remote medicine across globe in Alaska, Argentina, Mongolia, Iceland, Tanzania, the Rockies and many more.  Nathan is a Wilderness Paramedic and has over 10 years of remote, extended care and disaster medicine experience. He co-founded a clinic in the mountains of Belle Fontaine, Haiti to provide emergency and long term medical services to victims of the 2010 earthquakes. He has also worked in Panama with Floating Doctors to provide healthcare in rural island clinics and in Tanzania and Mongolia providing medical care to indigenous populations. Nathan loves being outside and helping others have great wilderness adventures.


SAM COMBS

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Sam Combs

Sam hails from the North shore of Long Island where, believe it or not, it’s still possible to wander in the woods. Love for running, swimming and hiking were instilled early on by his parents who, being from Oklahoma, also enthusiastically encouraged exploring the wide open spaces of the South West. Sam loves to share stories from the road and hopes to keep adding to his adventures which include a tour of Central America, a sixth month 20,000 mile road trip from New York to Alaska and a recent summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Sam enjoys nothing more than to get out with fellow New Yorkers into some of the deep spaces that, luckily enough, are well within reach of our great city.


ZACH FISHER

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, Advanced Tracking & Awareness, Expert Scout

Zach Fisher

Zach grew up in Northern California sandwiched between the coast, the redwood forests and the city of San Francisco. As a kid, his parents helped to foster a life of unbridled curiosity, an interest in art and music, and an acute connection to open spaces. As he grew older, he turned a romantic eye to New York and the culture of creativity that thrived there. He attends the Tom Brown Jr Tracker school in New Jersey where he studies primitive survival skills. Zach has travelled through Chile, India, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, and more. He plays the drums, rides bikes, studies martial arts, writes, paints, and loves burritos. 


Megan Kennedy

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, BCU 4* Sea Kayak, BCU L1 Coach, BCU Tidal Planning & Coastal Navigation, Waterfront Lifeguard

Megan Kennedy

Megan recently moved back to New York after spending 3 years as a kayak, coasteer and surf instructor at an eco-lodge in Pembrokeshire, Wales. When not jumping off cliffs or swimming in the sea, she enjoys cycling, yoga, camping, rock climbing, weightlifting, snowboarding, horseback riding and generally being active outdoors. She has been lucky enough to have adventures all around the world, from the Arctic Circle to Croatia to Peru, but she still has so much more to see! Most importantly, she is a mother to two beautiful cats, Archimedes and Professor Alistair Duckworth.


Judith Meer

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Judith Meer

Instilled with a deep love of travel and outdoor adventure from a very young age, Judith knows the only way she can keep living in the New York area is if she makes it a point to regularly escape the urban jungle. Be it snowshoeing, kayaking, rock/ice climbing, biking, skiing, hiking, or sailing – Judith firmly believes that life is better lived when outdoors and active. She fully relinquished life on land several years ago and now lives year-round on the Hudson River on her beautiful old sailboat. When she’s not working on boat projects, she teaches self-defense seminars rooted in Krav Maga, tutors high school students, and attempts to teach herself how to draw (better stick figures) and play violin (less squeakily). Judith is currently pursing a doctoral degree in physical therapy.


MARC CASSONE

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness EMT

Marc Cassone

Marc spent much of his youth hiking and backpacking throughout the Adirondacks. Marc graduated from Colgate University with a degree in International Relations and an impressive record as a varsity crew team member. He has backpacked throughout the Northeast, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California, Europe, and Africa. He’s guided on Mount Kilimanjaro and in the Spanish Pyrenees, and has successfully toured Mont Blanc. When Marc isn’t finding new routes to explore, he enjoys skiing, wakeboarding, competing in triathlons, and scuba diving. Most importantly, Marc loves sharing the outdoors with hikers of all levels.


John Benincasa

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

John Benincasa

Since loading up the family station wagon and touring the National Parks as a child (back when feeding bears from the car window was considered a wilderness experience), the great outdoors have been a passion for John. Since those early days, the trips have become bigger; eventually growing into backpacks and climbs across the west and internationally. John rates backpacking in the Sierras as his favorite trip aside from mountaineering in the Cascades (although the midnight hikes in Death Valley were otherworldly and the big mountain climbs in Peru and Montana backpacking are stellar). Actually John claims nothing beats ice climbing in the Adirondacks except maybe the Yosemite trips... You get the idea. Living in Brooklyn, John has always considered his wilderness escapes essential. It seems all of this has led up to his work with Discover Outdoors where John loves sharing his passion with fellow hikers and students in the youth program.


MYLES O'CONNELL

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness EMT, Swift Water Rescue

Myles O’Connell

Myles moved around quite a bit growing up, from the beautiful Northeast, to the wide open Southwest, before finally arriving in Southeast as a teenager.  His love of the outdoors developed there in the vast Blue Ridge Mountains, and grew exponetially while living and hiking in the Sierra Nevadas after college.  Now living in New York, he spends most weekends exploring the region where he made his earliest memories, leading hikes and meeting adventurous New Yorkers. 


LYDIA KOPECKY

SENIOR GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, AMGI CWI

Lydia Kopecky

Lydia is a proud Chicago native and passionate about getting into the wild. While at Columbia University, she was a backpacking leader for incoming freshman, and during her summers led wilderness and service trips out West for high school students. She spent a year in rural Thailand teaching at a University and traveling throughout Southeast Asia and now has accrued some serious mountaineering life goals.  When she’s not traveling and competing for the US Fencing Team, you can find Lydia rock climbing, doing yoga, or cooking up a storm.  Nothing is better for her than time spent in nature

 

Bailey Briggs

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Bailey grew up in South Eastern Connecticut where her parents limited TV time and encouraged her love for the outdoors and inspired her passion for adventure.  After summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, Bailey came back to NY and realized there was more to the city than what she was finding sitting at her desk, staring at a computer screen.  With Discover Outdoors, Bailey has found the ideal mix of outdoor adventure and meeting new people through new experiences.  When Bailey isn't finding ways to break a sweat, you can find her channeling her creativity through photography and sometimes painting.

Alexis Krauss

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Alexis has always possessed a deep love and respect for nature. As a child growing up in New Jersey she spent her time climbing trees, swimming, fishing, cliff jumping, kayaking and snorkeling. After moving to New York City to pursue a degree in International Studies, she discovered the mountain ranges of the Northeast. Whether it was working for Teach for America as a New York City Public School teacher or touring the world as a musician, she has always made time for epic adventures like backpacking the Sierras in California, leading multi-pitch climbs in Idaho's City of Rocks and hiking the Presidentials in New Hampshire. Alexis spends most weekends rock climbing, camping, snowboarding and hiking with her friends, family and her "adventure pup" Riz. Alexis is thrilled to be connecting her passion for education with her love of exploring through Discover Outdoors.


Geno Carragee

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer

From childhood family camping trips throughout the East Coast to summers working and guiding in Alaska, spending time outside has always been one of Geno’s life passions. Sharing this love of the outdoors and the skills required to enjoy and preserve wilderness comfortably and safely provide him with great life balance as he attends medical school. Over the last decade Geno’s interests in mountaineering, sailing, and backpacking have taken him professionally and personally from Alaska to Argentina and many places in between. Geno looks forward to meeting new people and bringing this excitement to the wild just outside the city.


Josh Duclos

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness EMT

Josh Duclos

Josh hails from New Hampshire and grew up exploring the mountains, forests, and rivers of northern New England.  After earning degrees in philosophy from Connecticut College and the University of Chicago, he spent several years working in education in the US, France, the Czech Republic, and India.  Josh has climbed mountains and explored wild places all over the globe - from the Himalayas of Nepal to Romania’s Carpathian Mountains to America’s own Pacific Northwest. He loves immersing himself in new cultures and traditions and discovering the many ways that people have found to relate the natural world.  He is currently working on his Ph.D and teaching philosophy at Boston University. He gets back to New Hampshire to hike as often as he can.


EMILY EASTLAKE

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Emily was born in Alaska but grew up all over the world, from a small village in northern Bavaria to the busy streets of Seoul. Her childhood travels took her to over 25 countries and 30 states and inspired a restless spirit and love for adventure. Once settled on the East Coast, Emily channeled that energy into hiking, camping, paddling, running, cross-country skiing, and triathlons. Today, Emily shares her passion for the outdoors not only with desk-bound New Yorkers but also with her students. When she’s not teaching math to 17-year-olds, guiding, or coaching her school’s cycling team, you can find her playing Australian rules football, making caramel from scratch, or binge watching post-apocalyptic TV shows with her rescue cat, Jagger.


JOHN THOMAS

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

John's love for nature emerged somewhere between growing up backpacking in the Adirondacks, sailing the Chesapeake Bay, camping, skiing, and competing in triathlons throughout California, and surfing and swimming in New York City. Always game to try some new outdoor activity, travel to some far-flung corner of the world, or explore the cultural and natural wealth of our own backyard, John is insatiably curious about the people and places that make up this giant blue marble. When he's not at a beach, in a park, or traveling you're likely to find him reading a mystery novel, making pottery, or wondering how he just ate so much. John thrives on helping people find their inner adventurer, and couldn't be more thrilled to do just that with Discover Outdoors.


EMI GAAL

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Being outdoors is what makes Emi tick. She is passionate about everything from ice cream to music to renewable energy, but there is nothing that brightens her smile more than getting to explore the magnificent natural spaces that make the planet so beautiful and unique. On a typical day, you can find Emi hammocking in Central Park while day dreaming about traveling to New Zealand. Growing up between Northern California, North Carolina, and Maine has definitely made Emi appreciate easy access to national parks, mountain ranges, and coast lines, and she is stoked to make memories with new friends and to keep the adventures rolling!


CHRISTOPHER FRANZESE

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Christopher’s love for the outdoors began in the Pacific Northwest, camping the coastline from California to B.C. when he was still in diapers. He went on to hike and camp over most of the Southwest including the Bright Angel trail as a 9 year old and backpacking Philmont a few years later. Beyond exploring the local haunts of New York and New England, recent trips have taken him as far afield as Squamish and Skaftafell. Whether on a tough scramble in the alpine zone or a relaxing walk in the woods, his favorite outdoor experience is seeing the wonders of the wild reflected in the eyes of a fellow adventurer.


Jill Sestoso

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Danny Collins

Growing up with adrenaline driven older brothers, Jill is no stranger to the rough and tumble life. She energizes her body and soul by stepping out of the Big Apple’s concrete jungle, to appreciate and enjoy New York’s naturally beautiful landscapes. With big eyes for travel and an even bigger heart for exploring, Jill is a natural born thrill seeker. Whether she’s jazzing the glass on the Costa Rican surf scene, getting her contortion on in aerial yoga or shredding and climbing through the Northeastern Appalachians, she is up for anything and everything. She is a one of a kind soul who is living life with a huge appetite for adventure and the world is her menu.


NOAH KATZ

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Noah grew up between the ocean and the redwood forests in northern California. As a kid he collected guidebooks, and learned the names of plants and animals while exploring forests and streams. He studied wilderness survival skills at the Tom Brown Tracker School in New Jersey before getting a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science, and a Masters in Aquatic Resource Management, in London, UK. While in college he carried out environmental research in California estuaries, Scottish islands, English postglacial landscapes, Welsh rivers and lakes, and tropical rainforests in Borneo, Southeast Asia. He is passionate about combining his scientific background with his love of the great outdoors.


WENDY PORTER

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

A native of Washington, Wendy moved to New York to pursue theatre. Her acting career took her all over the world and on days off from performing she seized every opportunity to hike throughout the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. She recently fulfilled her lifelong dream of exploring the Amazon Jungle and then trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Wendy is a member of the Catskill 3500 Club and has completed the requirements for both all seasons and winter. She is a veteran participant in the annual Mount Washington Observatory Seek the Peak in New Hampshire and in 2016 was given the tremendous honor of being named Volunteer of the Year. Wendy is thrilled to be part of the Discover Outdoors team and to share her love of adventure with fellow hikers!


MICHAEL DOMANIC

LEAD GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Having grown up on the beach of the great Garden State, Michael was introduced to adventure from an early age by surfing the brown barrels of the Jersey Shore. As he began to travel across the country, Michael realized that mountains and the deep backcountry were his true calling. Following this passion has taken him on high altitude mountain ascents like Mount Whitney and Mount Rainier and to practically every nook and cranny in the Catskills in every season. Michael is a big believer in the harmony that comes from incorporating outdoor adventure into life. If there is one thing that Michael loves more than hiking and climbing mountains, it's sharing that passion with others.

 


LILY HETZLER

GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

A native of northern California, from the hometown of John Muir himself, Lily grew up surrounded by some of America's most epic wilds. The Sierra Nevada Mountain range: including Yosemite Valley and Calaveras Big Trees were her childhood playground. An ever-growing outdoor enthusiast, Lily believes in the rejuvenating power of nature, and it's ability to challenge us to reach new personal strengths. Currently working towards her NYS Wilderness Guide License, she is excited to be a part of the rock solid DO team, and to use her passion for helping people explore the splendor of the great outdoors.


ALEX SOTO

GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Alex is a true native New Yorker, born and raised in Washington Heights. As a child most of his outdoor experience came from playing outdoors with his older brother at the park in front of his building. His imagination was the key that opened a world of countless connections with the earth. He would build tree houses made out of cardboard boxes he took from the local bodega, then would spend hours playing. He strongly believes that each person that he can lead out into nature is one more person connecting with their true self.


ARTURO QUINONES

GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Being born and raised in Brooklyn never stymied Arturo's love for the outdoors. He spent most of his youth biking and riding the subway from Jamaica bay to Van Cortlandt park learning how to paddle, fish, mountain bike, and climb. Capitalizing on his local knowledge, Arturo became a NYC tour guide in 1997. Since 2000, rock and ice climbing have been his favorite pursuits and inspiration for many road trips, stopping to climb in 34 US states (so far!).


DANNA HAILE

GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Danna grew up climbing trees, camping, and catching lightning bugs near the mighty Mississippi river in Memphis, Tennessee. She later moved to Nashville where she enjoyed nature photography, kayaking, stargazing, and hiking the foothills of the Appalachians. She has explored and hiked in Thailand, Ecuador, Europe, Canada, and all over the US. Danna has completed several courses on Buddhism and mindfulness, including nature meditation trainings. Her ultimate goal is to advocate for our natural world and all species, encouraging others to want to protect them.


ADINA DAAR

GUIDE

Wilderness First Responder

Adina grew up in the wilds of Florida where she developed a love for the outdoors at a young age, hanging out with the plants and animals that were literally in her backyard: manatees, alligators, and love bugs to name a few. In college, she fell in love with a city-boy and embarked on a decade of urban exploration, this time researching people- stuff in places like Tokyo, Mumbai, and London, before settling in NYC in 2013. She has since fallen in love again - this time with Biomimicry and learning from nature's strategies to design for human challenges. Adina shares the love by helping people connect with and find inspiration in nature wherever it is found – from the parking lot, to the city park, to the state park and beyond.


STEPHEN GRANDE JR

GUIDE, WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER

If you ask Stephen's friends and family, they will tell you he's always been a ball of energy. His grandmother would mention the endless days on his bike at the Coney Island boardwalk when he was a kid. His parents would point to the kayak he keeps at their house. His best friend would tell you about their weekend runs. His wife would mention that the perfect weekend get-a-way is a weekend hiking in the Catskills with their dog Bella. Stephen loves to explore the woods both locally and abroad. You'll find him on the trail or behind his camera, capturing the adventure on DO's trips.


KRISTEN KOED

GUIDE IN TRAINING

Kristen grew up in Massachusetts and spent her summers hiking in the White Mountains. Her love of the outdoors started at a young age as she had acres of woods and trails to explore right in her backyard. She moved to New York to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and is the co-founder of a production company that helps provide better opportunities for people with disabilities. In 2015, she lead a trip out west for teens and was lucky enough to hike and explore Estes Park, Zion, Arches, Moab, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. This year, she heads to Machu Picchu to hike the Inca Trail! She loves meeting new people and making new friends- everyone has a story to tell!


MIKE BUONOMO

GUIDE IN TRAINING

A native New Yorker, Mike's love of the outdoors began with upstate camping and skiing trips with his family. While winter overnights in Harriman State Park remain a favorite, his interest soon crossed the state borders; Mike has backpacked all over the country and is an avid national park enthusiast. As his 'day job' Mike teaches high school math on Long Island and has started an outdoor club at the school, allowing him to share his passion for the wilderness and environmental conservation with his students as well as their parents. He is excited to continue sharing his love of hiking and adventures as part of DO.

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Elise
"This was my first time hiking in the Catskills. Reaching the summit of Slide Mountain was an accomplishment I'll never forget. And the views! Thanks to our stellar guides for an amazing trip.”