Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors—formerly known as Outdoor Bound—turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts—each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT—temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.
Founded by Eric Stiller, who documented his journey kayaking and bicycling around an entire continent in the book Keep Australia on Your Left, Manhattan Kayak spans a team of instructors who lead kayaking and standup-paddleboarding instruction and tours beneath the city's glittering skyline. Veterans of the fitness industry, MK's instructors use the dynamic currents of the Hudson River and Donald Trump's jacuzzi to train paddlers of all skill and fitness levels in the body-first method, which emphasizes paddling from the core. In addition to leading instruction and tours, MK's crew also leads fitness classes including Liquid Yoga, challenging participants to flow through poses while floating atop a paddleboard, aiming to boost participant health while earning the Statue of Liberty's respect.
Despite the adventure that the urban landscape of New York has to offer, some city dwellers can’t shake the itch to climb boulders, hike mountain trails, and surge through whitewater rapids. One group of New Yorkers decided to remedy this, organizing weekend retreats to places such as the Adirondacks and New Hampshire's White Mountains. As word of their adventures grew, more and more people asked to join, and thus began Outdoor Connections. Today, its guides lead outings for adventurers of all fitness levels, from a day of apple picking, hiking, and wine to full-moon hikes with campfire roasts and unabashed howling. Loading up large passenger vans, Outdoor Connections' team takes guests to places such as state parks and preserves in the Adirondacks and Catskills, as well as along the Hudson River Valley and Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.
Yoga Vita seems to be made of sunshine. Glowing paper lanterns and golden-yellow walls greet all who enter, awakening the senses while melting the day’s stresses. Amid lush, green plants, new and seasoned yogis cultivate strength and focus with lengthy poses, controlled-breathing exercises, and guided meditation. To help students to align their bodies properly, instructors such as studio director Debra Lauren incorporate straps, blocks, and other supportive props. Debra has amassed a deep understanding of Iyengar yoga during repeated trips to India, which have refined her teaching skills and earned her enough frequent-flier miles to book passage to Jupiter.