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.
Castle Rock Climbing School's expert guides eschew climbing walls for the raw stone faces of the Santa Cruz Mountains. PCGI-certified instructors spearhead trips ranging in duration from half a day to four days, spiriting intrepid climbers away for a nature-filled morning or 96 hours away from home to just let the neighbors get all the mail-stealing out of their system. Every guide boasts years of experience leading their wards up and down rocky inclines and is stuffed with local knowledge and teaching prowess. The school outfits climbers with the gear they need, including helmets, harnesses, and shoes, requiring that guests only take care of dressing themselves and deciding what song to yodel from the summit.
As a former relief pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Mike Bumatay brings a decade of pro experience and three league championships to teaching pitching and hitting mechanics. Bumatay individualizes practices to focus on a player’s preferred skills, such as hitting, pitching, fielding, or hypnotizing balls to suddenly roll the opposite the way once it reaches the shortstop. In addition to drilling on technique and mechanics, Bumatay prepares students for the mental challenges of the baseball world, such as accepting hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks as the only three food groups.
With more than 120,000 monthly readers, Fresno magazine informs local community-ponderers on the newsworthy people, the time-and-space-altering businesses, and the spirited events happening in Central California. The numerous features, profile pieces, and letters to the editor will provide a plethora of prose for literature buffs to absorb by pressing an issue against the forehead. Each month, magazine-flippers can browse to their cranial cortex's content with the magazine's various informative sections. Find a scintillating seafood restaurant by turning to the dining section, or check out the wardrobe wonderness of the shopping section. The magazine can even provide friendship to homesick airplane passengers during the 28-hour-around-the-world flight from Fresno to Las Vegas.
The designers of Zip Yosemite, Experience Based Learning, focuses on adventure and safety in building their courses, but they also take care to look after the environment. The company uses Professional Ropes Course Association–accredited builders, who anchor single cables to trees using an environmentally-friendly system. Using this system, the company can string seven ziplines up to 1,000 feet long at heights of up to 80 feet through the aromatic canopies of incense cedars and ponderosa pine trees. Guides take visitors darting down these single-cable paths and across three suspension bridges. Then, they rappel toward the forest floor at one of two rappelling stations. As visitors glide through the forest, they can catch glimpses of wildlife as well as the Fresno Dome and other natural rock formations.
When 20-year climbing veteran Zeke Federman started a rock-climbing guide service, he needed to situate its headquarters someplace that was more than simply rocky. The spot he settled on falls squarely in Joshua Tree National Park—an area boasting a varied landscape and steady climate that is friendly to year-round mountaineering and offers challenging routes to both beginners and experienced climbers with their own pet mountain goats. Zeke's climbing academy, Joshua Tree Guides, sets its students loose on guided excursions across the region's higher-altitude cliffs. His staff of Professional Climbing Guides Institute–trained guides has won points with clients for combining an easygoing demeanor with a serious attentiveness to safety and the needs of beginners to go slowly. In addition to small groups, the company has also guided successful climbing outings for large corporations such as Google and Frito-Lay.