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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."

JOIN THE DISCOVER OUTDOORS TEAM

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


KIRK REYNOLDS

CEO, 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, GUIDE, WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER, LEAVE NO TRACE TRAINER
Kennedy Reynolds

Lauren hails from the great state of Massachusetts.  She started exploring her backyard woods from the time she could walk and grew up hiking and camping throughout New England and upstate NY.  Her passion for the outdoors and her constant search for the next challenge has taken her on backpacking adventures both close to home in the ranges of the Presidentials and Adirondacks, and internationally in locations like Iceland and Dominica.  When she’s not escaping the city to get into the woods, Lauren is instructing cycling classes, running ultramarathons, playing with her (adorable) dog, or googling phrases that start with “Best Hiking in…”  Lauren has embraced her passion for an active lifestyle and 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, Guide, Wilderness First Responder, L1 Avalanche, 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 as a guide with Discover Outdoors.


MARCUS BROOKS

GUIDE, WILDERNESS EMT, AMGA-CWI

Born in Harlem, Marcus has never let the city keep him from enjoying the great outdoors. His passion for adventure sports include hiking, climbing, skiing and spelunking.  He developed his love of the outdoors at a young age and had he pleasure of hiking the Grand Canyon while studying at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona.


KEVIN CAFARO

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

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

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 diversity and 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

Guide, Wilderness Paramedic, L1 Avalanche Certified, EMT Paramedic

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


MYLES O'CONNELL

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. 


SAM COMBS

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.


MIKE GWOZDEK

Guide, Wilderness First Responder
Mike Gwozdek

Mike was born and raised in Michigan where he learned to enjoy the outdoors through family camping and fishing trips. He spent the majority of his summers in the woods and winters in the snow having Calvin and Hobbes inspired adventures. When software brought him to NYC, he started “commute hacking” by running to and from work to avoid the busy subway. To reconnect with the outdoors he began doing backpacking trips using only the tri-state commuter trains. He has traveled extensively and his hobbies include skiing, triathlon, and obstacle course racing. Mike believes that a lifestyle including outdoor activity is the path to happiness and gets a tremendous amount of enjoyment seeing New Yorkers have that realization as well. Constantly in search of the next adventure, Mike recently completed an Appalachian Trail thru-hike from Georgia to Maine.


ZACH FISHER

Guide, Wilderness First Responder, Advanced Tracking and 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. 


Judith Meer

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. To that end, 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, works as a brand ambassador, 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.


Lydia Kopecky

Guide, Wilderness First Responder, AMGA - CWI certified
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. 


Alexandra Radoaca

Guide, Wilderness First Responder
Alexandra Radoaca

Alex has spend most of her life trekking the urban landscapes of Romania, Austria, Canada and the US. It wasn’t until she lived in Japan that she truly became a mountain fanatic and true nature lover..a hike up Mount Fuji after an 80 hour work week will do that. Since then Alex has spent her free time planning treks, hiking and camping in the White Mountains, Northern Cascades and Japanese Alps.


John Benincasa

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. Maybe it’s the big mountain climbs in Peru that rank first but the Montana backpack was second to none. 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 the DO trips always demonstrate the pull that nature has on every type of person while the kids on the Foundation & Youth trips always seem to teach him something new.


Danny Collins

Guide, Wilderness First Responder
Danny Collins

Danny grew up in Southwest Missouri.  Growing up canoeing, hiking and biking the great Ozark rivers and mountains he grew to love everything outdoors.  His family was one that chose National Park vacations over the traditional getaways which also helped foster a love for nature activities. After playing four years of collegiate soccer, Danny turned to other athletic activities to fill the missing void, such as marathons, and adventure races. He is currently training for the IronMan.  He was brought to New York City from the Midwest for his other passion, Architecture, where he currently works for KPF architects, working on the large Hudson Yards development on the west side of Manhattan.  He has traveled extensively in Europe, China and parts of Southeast Asia, Canada, Central America, Brazil, and Ecuador.  Danny loves any chance to get out of the busy city, but even more so to help others see the amazing possibilities the outdoors has to offer.


Megan Kennedy

GUIDE, WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER, BCU 4* SEA KAYAK, BCU L1 COACH, BCU TIDAL PLANNING AND COASTAL NAVIGATION, WATERFRONT LIFEGUARD
Danny Collins

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.


Jill Sestoso

Wilderness First Responder, Ski Patrol
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.


Bailey Briggs

Guide, Wilderness First Responder, Boater's License
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

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.


SAM GRADY

Guide, Wilderness First Responder

Sam spent his childhood exploring the evergreen forests of Washington. His first taste of the outdoors was a week long school backpacking trip down the Washington coast in 8th grade. It was love at first step. After finishing his B.S. at Central Washington University he worked as a Fish Biologist in the Yakima Watershed protecting native salmon species. His love for the outdoors and adventure has led him all across the country and world: backpacking through Central Europe & the Mediterranean, island hopping through the Caribbean, caynoneering around the Four-Corners, gold panning in Alaska and thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Recently, on his way to teach in South Korea, Sam stumbled down a detour that led him to NYC and a new adventure in the city. He's since found his way back out into the wild regions of the Northeastern US. You'll find this happy-go-lucky rolling stone waiting to share the outdoors with anyone willing to explore them. Wearing a big smile, an excitement for all things outdoors and, of course, socks with sandals.


Josh Duclos

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.


MARC CASSONE

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.


EMILY EASTLAKE

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

Guide, Wilderness First Responder

John's love for nature emerged somewhere between growing up hiking and 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.


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.


EMI GAAL

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!


ERICK FIELDS

Guide

A New York State native and life-long resident, Erick grew up outside of Syracuse, where he spent lots of his time exploring the corners of the state from the Finger Lakes to the Adirondacks, and beyond. He spent his younger years camping, hiking, fly fishing and skiing with his father and friends, where he developed his love for outdoor recreation. Moving to the Big Apple after attaining a degree in forestry at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Erick continues to tie his understanding and learning of how humans are innately tied to forests (both Wilderness and Urban based), with his recreational and educational pursuits. If you don't find him out and about in the community volunteering to plant trees with youth programs in Brooklyn, you'll find him guiding on the trails or sharing stories of his travels and adventures both domestic and abroad.


CHRISTOPHER FRANZESE

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.


WENDY PORTER

Guide in Training

Wendy, originally from Spokane, Washington, 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 in both all seasons and in winter. She is a veteran participant in the annual Mount Washington Observatory Seek the Peak hike-a-thon 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!


HILMAR FENGER

Guide in Training

Hilmar is originally from Iceland. After moving to Norway at age 7, he was introduced to his first pair of skis, and has never looked back. The love for back-country skiing has brought him all over the world, always in search of fresh tracks, new peaks and chutes to ski. He also coaches his area high school ski team and is an instructor at local ski areas. As the seasons turn, the opportunities for hikes are plentiful and he takes advantage of any and all chances to go out and explore new trails. As a guide for Discover Outdoors, Hilmar enjoys introducing the outdoors to the people willing to take on the adventure, put on their backpacks, and go explore nature.

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Kelly
"YES PLEASE do this event again! I love the hike, the fresh air, and good company! I would not change anything, it was a perfect event for me!”