Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Today’s Groupon replaces your normal hands and feet with highly skilled climber appendages. For $35, you get five day-passes to Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, including climbing equipment rental and use of the facility's fitness equipment and sauna (a $93 value), plus a two-hour beginner or technique climbing class (a $31.50 value) and one yoga class (a $12 value), a $136.50 total value. Pacific Edge is co-owned and run by a staff of instructors with years of climbing and yoga experience, and was the Best Outdoor Sports School winner in 2009.2000 Feet: The nagging feeling that you’ve left your oven on is misguided. You haven’t. 5000 Feet: Breathing becomes labored; earthly memories fade. 10,000 Feet: Why does it smell like Christmas? 20,000 Feet: Weight of the treasured Elf Stones lifted only by inspiring visions of the Gates of Shamagor. 30,000 Feet: Break for lunch.
When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.