Marlon Smith

What can we say about Marlon Smith? Well, everyone at Hike the World is a big fan! His passion and exuberance for teaching outdoor skills to people at every level is unmatched. We were thrilled when his group, Urban and Outdoor Survival, offered to host a private skills class in Harriman State Park for us. It was a really fun day and his crew had us laughing and learning while we built shelters and made fire. 

Marlon is truly a kindred spirit and we are happy to give him the attention he deserves. Learn more about this guy by reading his story below. Trust us, you'll be glad you did. 

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I’m Marlon and I grew up on the small island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. Most people probably couldn’t find this island paradise on the map but it’s where my hiking story begins. Running the trails through tropical forests and setting campsites up on the beach as a kid is where I discovered my love of hiking. Soon I would trade tropical trails for winter hiking and camping in the northern United States. Definitely an unlikely change!

One of my favorite spots on the island of Trinidad is the Paria Waterfalls; the trail begins in the town of Blanchisseuse on the northern side of the island. It takes approximately three hours to cover the five mile hike to get to the falls. The trail meanders in and out along the coast. You hike while feeling the gentle kiss from a cool Caribbean breeze on your skin- a very welcome feeling if you’ve been hiking in a tropical forest. The best time to plan your hike and camp out is between March and July. You might be lucky enough to catch the nesting of the leather back turtles on the beach as night comes in- a truly a priceless experience.

After my move to the United States, new types of trails and wildlife were discovered and were completely breathtaking. Here, I found The Catskill Mountains. Her multiple trails, ranging in levels of difficulty, are pure beauty. Giant Ledge at Panther Mountain, in any season, is an amazing place to hike with friends and is one of my favorites. Wake up early, walk to the ledge and enjoy the sunrise of a lifetime!

Moving to NYC from a Caribbean paradise I needed something close to escape the concrete jungle that was now home. A place to just hike, be in the outdoors a sweet lil' spot named Harriman State Park was where I found my respite. There are hundreds of miles of trails everywhere and it is just north of NYC, an easy forty minute drive. A camp ground at Island Pond became my go to for hikes and camp outs. It's just off a section of the Appalachian trail and it's my easy get away.

I fell in love with these new locations. My introduction to them increased my drive, my passion and fueled my new purpose- to teach others.

My group Urban and Outdoor Survival was formed on the Meetup App in the summer of 2019, born with the purpose of teaching. I’m blessed to have an amazing crew of friends that have made their way towards family and have joined this journey with me. We teaching campers, hikers and all outdoor enthusiasts, the "dos and don’ts" of nature as well as the needed survival skills in the event of ever being tested by Mother Nature, all while having fun along the way. On the Urban side, we teach homesteading and disaster preparedness for storms, natural disasters and even in the event of the odd pandemic.

As we rolled into 2020 many Americans found nature when most of their day to day hobbies were placed on hold due to lock downs. With theme parks and movie theaters closed many found the joy of hiking. I have had the pleasure of taking groups out onto the trails and so many of them have discovered solace and peace in the great outdoors. Replacing emails and text messages for clean air and what I call “mother nature’s artwork”, you won’t need filters here for her pictures, and you don’t’ need Wi-Fi either, but you’ll never be more connected. It’s the place where you lose yourself and find all of the best parts of yourself.

There’s much peace, solace and fun to be had with friends out in nature. Certainly, I encourage you to make some new ones when heading onto the winding paths and trails. Hiking lead me to Ryan and Laura, people with hearts of gold (we swear we didn't pay him to say this!), who share their passion, teaching people about the hidden gems that they had all along- they just needed to find it in the woods. So head out, clear your mind, push some boundaries, leave your stresses in the office and hike, hike, HIKE THE WORLD!!!!!!

Adventure awaits.

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You can find Marlon and his group Urban and Outdoor Survival on Meetup or follow them here on Instagram to get information about their latest events. If you'd like to check out one of their customized survival kits, you can visit them on their Urban and Outdoor Survival website

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8 comments

  • Well what can I say about Marlon that hasn’t already been said. I’ve known Marlin for many years now we’ve had many adventures in the woods and in our personal lives I guess you can say we’re like family now together we have guided trips in the woods with teachings to groups team building skills and more The best part of it all is seeing the faces of people that learn something new from Marlin from trail knowledge to hammocks and shelter building and fire starting techniques he shares his wisdom freely to anyone with a question and gives advice. He’s very passionate when it comes to following the policies he laid out to ensure people’s safety in his group but always maintains that positive attitude people always seem to be taken aback by his teddy bear personality but when it’s time to gather the wood he always has the biggest log… not to mention all the island recipes he has lock ed in that big head of his 😉 that he takes along with him to provide some amazing dishes for people to try he’s kind of like a backwoods chef I personally have seen people attempt to cook as he does out in the woods with great results thanks to Marlins advice. we’ve made a lot of friends out there believe it or not some people out there we’ve met we’re actually lost and we were more than happy to give them directions a helping hand even a map and we hope to rescue and make friends with many more. For myself I hope to be friends with Marlin for many more years to come and hope to be hiking with him and teaching until we’re 90 years old ….. don’t forget to cook pot Marlin.

    Alfredo Rivera
  • I have known Marlon for years and I feel like we have been family forever! He is such a wonderful guy that he not only makes sure that everyone has a great time but he makes sure it’s safe for you and whoever you are with. Whatever he does, he does it thoughtfully and straight from the heart. He is such a great motivator that he makes me believe that I can do anything I set my mind too as well. Yes it may sound corny but anyone who knows him knows it’s true. He is truly great company to keep. He is a positive person that attracts more positive people. I had the pleasure to meet the great folks at Hike the World because of Marlon and I feel truly blessed to have him in my and my family’s life. Congrats on this recognition Marlon!!!!!!!

    Annette
  • I first met Marlon on a family camping trip. What a welcome my wife and I received when we entered the campsite early in the morning and there in front of us was a full blaze campfire with a dozen skewers of bacon sizzling and this great big smile that said “welcome”. It was Marlon and his positive attitude was a wonderful welcome. Ever since then I’ve attended many of the club workshops learning skills from Marlon and every leader on the team. Shelter building, survival skills, radio skills and cooking but most of all the skill on how to keep a positive attitude.
    It also makes me think better for problem solving during my year of remote teaching.
    Looking forward to more workshops.
    PS, I like the outings where we plan for “ what if?” Always be prepared, we learn that when we’re young but we forget things and the Urban and Survival club has taught me which in turn I remind my daughter to be prepared.

    David

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