Guide Roster

I’m thrilled to have assembled this all-star guide team, and to work beside them. Each one is an expert backpacker and guide — they combine extensive first-hand backcountry experience with a passion for teaching, excellent people skills, relate-able family and work lives, engaging story-telling, and necessary medical certifications.

Our team:


Andrew Skurka

  • Boulder, CO
  • 41 years-old
  • Married to Amanda and servant to Esmerelda, our black feline fur child
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • he/him/his

Since founding this program in 2011, I’ve led 91 trips and have spent 413 days in the field with clients. As the program got larger, I became unable to guide every (or even most) trips, which is a shame because it’s the most fun and most rewarding part.

My goal on each trip is to empower clients with outdoor skills and knowledge so that they can be self-sufficient, lead the group, and confidently undertake future trips of their own. It’s an extra perk if I can make new friends, learn from them, and explore a new area or one of my favorite areas.

As a twenty-something I was a prolific long-distance thru-hiker. My most notable trips were the:

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

In my thirties, I focused on high routes and long-distance running. I pioneered and wrote guidebooks for four off-trail backpacking routes in the High Sierra, Wind River Range, and Colorado Rockies. I finished a marathon in 2:28:24 (5:39 pace), completed six 100-mile races, and set a fastest known time on the Pfiffner Traverse.

My definitive book, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic and has sold over 120,000 copies. 

Read my full bio.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “His enthusiasm and curiously about the outdoors is absolutely infectious.”
  • “Based on his experience, I expected Andrew to have exceptional skills & knowledge of the terrain, which he did. But I was surprised at how well and how sincerely he engaged with everyone on the trip. He came across as curious, humble, and very interested to learn as much from us as we might learn from him, which added a lot of warmth to our trip’s social dynamics.”
  • “He conveyed a deep emotional vulnerability early on. Beyond demonstrating his character as a guide and person, it opened the door for a driven, all-male group to be comfortable expressing discomfort and uncertainty.”
  • “He was never reluctant to go over some of the navigation basics, even though he must have done it a thousand times before.”
In Gates of the Arctic National Park

Rebecca Bastian (“Bec”)

  • Bend, OR
  • 32 years-old
  • she/her

I spend much of my free time wandering up ancient alpine volcanoes and through dry desert climates of the Great Basin. I grew up learning about backcountry navigation by hunting elk and birds in the rugged high desert landscapes of Idaho. This will be my second season working with Andrew and the rest of the crew and I am ecstatic to continue on with this incredible team. In addition to guiding, I’m co-directing the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program.

I am a masters level educator and I have taught at all ages in public and private sectors. I have most loved my time teaching in developing nations over the years. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I began volunteering with the state to pack trout fry to hundreds of Washington’s alpine lakes. From there I completed the Pacific Crest trail, the Appalachian Trail in 78 days, and Continental Divide Trail. I have extended off-trail travel experience in the WA Cascades and Olympics. I traveled a 500 mile exploratory route through the desert of Nevada, California and Southern Oregon. Notable high route traverses I have wandered have been in Yosemite, the Wind River Range, Elkhorn, and Steen Mountains. I have climbed and skied most of the Pacific NW volcanoes including Mt. Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Broken Top, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, North/Middle/South Sisters, Lassen, and Jefferson and plan to finish the rest this winter season. I love circumnavigating volcanoes and have also done base loops of most of the Cascade volcanoes, the most challenging being a 2.5 day circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland trail. This summer I completed my own version of the L2H route beginning in Badwater basin and ending on Mt. Williamson in the Sierra. I guide because I am passionate about passing my knowledge on to people who love the outdoors as much as I do. I also just like to hang with people who love what I love. 

Outside of backpacking I am an alpinist who regularly rock climbs at Smith Rock to sharpen my knot tying skills for mountaineering and glaciated backcountry skiing. I have been delving into technical ice climbing and finding it to be amazingly fun. I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and dip into my side hustles as an artist, a professional sewer, a writer, and a substitute teacher in my down time.

My favorite testimonials from 2021

  • “Bec has a positive energy that is contagious. She was eternally energetic and truly cared that each of us was getting what we needed out of the week. She excelled in ensuring we all stayed healthy – from helping with blisters to leading daily yoga classes to ensure everyone was stretched.”
  • “Easy going and knowledgeable.”
  • “What a bright light of energy! As a woman, it is comforting to have a woman as one of the guides. She was very curious about the group members and engaged with each of us individually.”
  • “Extremely competent, professional and personal guide who went above and beyond. I lost my footing on the side of a rise in a clump of manzanitas from which she managed to extricate me. At the same time, my spouse realized she lost her Rx glasses on the trail. Bec RETRACED our route, recovered them and returned them to Suzanne. It was EPIC!”
  • “Instilled confidence in maps and navigation as well as general capabilities. Was relatable, which brought comfort and trust in stating any discomfort.”

Matthew Bright

  • Washington, DC
  • 37 years-old
  • Regrettably single
  • Instagram
  • he/him/his

I started with Andrew as a client in 2018. Less than a year later, I got my first guiding assignment in West Virginia after helping to convince Andrew that understanding and appreciating a landscape go hand in hand and should be a critical component of any backpacking curriculum. This is especially true in the East where there aren’t a lot of views, but there sure is a lot of plant life.

My guiding goals on every trip are to make the landscape come alive to clients; to impart my knowledge of the geology, flora and social history of West Virginia; and above all, to spark wonder and curiosity.

I’m excited to return to WV for the fourth year in a row. My personal backpacking resume includes thru hikes of the Long Trail, Sierra High Route, West Highland Way, Cotswold Way, and loops of the Wind River High Route and Pfiffner Traverse as well as numerous other trips on both coasts and all points in between. My full-time job is developing and managing policy strategy for the Clean Air Task Force – an environmental NGO that advances the technologies and policy changes needed to solve climate change.

My favorite testimonials from 2021

  • “I was amazed at the depth of Matt’s knowledge about the natural world. I learned so much about the plants, animals and geology of the area. I have been backpacking for over forty years without ever really giving much thought to the world around me.”
  • “What’s not to like about Matt. The guy is just so down to earth and so passionate about what he does that he makes you want to do what he does.”
  • “He is brilliant! Always in a good mood and willing to talk about the landscape. Patient and posed lots of questions.”
  • “Great teacher.”
  • “Matt did an exceptional job. He is a true expert of the region. Beyond his expert knowledge, Matt offered a lot of humor to the group, offering witticisms to lighten the mood through miles of mountain laurel.”
Matt appreciating life atop one of Colorado’s 58 14ers.

Brandon Chase

I have been involved with Andrew’s program since 2020 in multiple capacities including logistical support, program design, instruction for the Plan Like a Pro course, and guiding. In a previous life, I was a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State and had the opportunity to explore more than 60 countries while serving at U.S. Embassies in Egypt, Cyprus, and Pakistan. 

As a Registered Maine Guide for Whitewater and Recreation, I lead rafting trips, wildlife canoe tours, and guided hikes in the Pine Tree State. I enjoy sharing my passion for the outdoors and helping others surpass perceived limitations to show that valuable, positive, and memorable backcountry experiences are achievable by anyone, anywhere with the proper skills and mindset.

Along with a 98-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I have summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the West Highland Way, fastpacked in the Himalayas, and trekked around New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S. While abroad, I picked up an affection for endurance athletics and regularly compete in ultramarathons at 50k, 50-mile, and 100-mile distances around the globe. I write about hiking, trail running, and fastpacking on publications such as Fit For Miles, TheTrek, and TheStringbean.co. I am also the Regional Editor for New England at FastestKnownTime.com.

Brandon heading down Death Hollow in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT.

Scott Christy

This coming season will be my third year with Andrew, but for over twenty years I’ve taught backpacking skills for NOLS and helped develop the NOLS lightweight backpacking program. In that capacity, I’ve had the honor of backpacking and training a diverse range of participants including NASA Astronauts, MBA students, US Marines, and Google directors. I’m also a river guide rowing expedition rafting trips in the Grand Canyon. As a guide, I am moved by the fact that our lives are richer for the experiences we share with others, and I believe that expeditions succeed together or largely don’t succeed.

When I’m not guiding I do a fair bit of personal adventuring. At the start of 2021 I completed a continuous almost all off-trail end-to-end hike of the Grand Canyon in 52 days. Additionally I’m particularly excited about long packrafting trips in northern Alaska and canyoneering explorations of the Colorado Plateau. Also, it turns out that lightweight backpacking systems work exceptionally well for bikepacking and backcountry elk hunting. When possible, in between backcountry trips, I serve on the command team of my local Search and Rescue unit in Wyoming.

When not spending time outdoors I produce audio stories for radio and podcasts, including the Telemetry podcast for Yellowstone National Park. I also serve on the command team of my local Search and Rescue unit in Wyoming.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • A superlative leader. I would go on another trip just because he’s leading it. He’s hugely experienced and knowledgeable. He’s also just a genuinely nice person. 
  • Scott plainly excels at making immediate connections with his guest hikers. He has such deep experience in the outdoors, but is so casual about it that it’s easy for less experienced aspirants to connect with him.
  • Scott was the type of guide that I signed up on this adventure for. He is thoughtful, caring, and makes a concerted effort to know each of his group members and what makes them work.
  • Scott’s approach not only made me feel like a more competent and confident female backpacker in a male-dominated field, but also helped me to think more deeply about values that I hold.
  • I’m sure all of your guides are great, but I’d pay a hefty surcharge to have him guide me again if I did another trip with ASA.
Scott in between pools getting ready to sneak into another portion of the Grand Canyon.

Mary Cochenour

  • Helena, MT
  • 51 years-old
  • Married to Matt and mom to Kennedy (13) and Cameron (11) 
  • Instagram
  • she/her

I joined Andrew’s team in 2018 and have guided trips in Colorado, Yosemite, and Alaska. A lifetime ago, I was a Grand Canyon river guide with 42 trips down the canyon. Much of my backcountry philosophy and approach is shaped by experiences I’ve had as a backcountry ranger and a ski patroller.  

For me, guiding is a tremendous gift that allows meaningful connections with other people who also enjoy the outdoors. On each trip, I have three goals: safety, teaching, and fun. My trips are full of backcountry safety tips and discussion on what to do if something goes wrong.

I’ve been backpacking for three decades. My experience includes the John Muir Trail (x3), Circuit in Torres Del Paine, Chile, Wind River High Route, Brooks Range in Alaska, and countless miles in the mountains and desert all over the western U.S. At different times in my life, I have been passionate about sport climbing, windsurfing, trail running, sea and whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, and skiing in all its forms. These random outdoor activities inform my decision-making in the backcountry.

I’ve had many careers – all wildly unique. I spent a decade in outdoors jobs, moved to journalism for a while, and had a 15-year run as a lawyer prosecuting rape and homicide cases for the State of Montana. Currently, I work for Gaia GPS. Fluidity is my jam. I am fueled by change, redefining goals, and exploring new paths in life. Let’s go!   

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “Personable, experienced, and a great teacher.” 
  • “My experience was greatly enriched by the stories Mary told us, and learning about her experiences in the backcountry as a guide and an outdoors-loving person with a diverse history of experiences.”
  • “Mary was free with sharing knowledge and ensured trip members were knowledgeable on river crossings, bear safety, and she even instructed us on avalanche safety!”
  • “Mary is an absolute rock star and always had a huge smile which kept group morale high. Mary had amazing stories and tons of informative lessons to pass on.”
  • “Mary is fearless! Because Mary is my height and has significant experience with water, it was always instructive and reassuring when we crossed rivers, which was a LOT. From a group perspective, Mary was great at making conversation with everyone and making sure that everyone was at ease, no matter where in the pack they were (front/back/middle).”
Mary in the Brooks Range, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. June 2020.  

Alan Dixon

I’m 60 years-old and live in Washington, DC, with my wife and adventuring partner, Alison. I have two children and two grandchildren. Five years ago I retired as an environmental engineer, and now focus mostly on Adventure Alan, one of the oldest and most respected sources for ultralight backpacking.

Since joining Andrew’s program in 2012, I have guided 30 trips (including 19 where I was the lead guide) in Alaska, the Sierras, Utah, Alleghenies, and the Appalachians, and the Great Northwest Woods.

I’ve been backpacking for over 50 years, and ultralight backpacking for the past 20. In 2001 I co-founded Backpacking Light, and was the Gear Review Editor there for many years. I pioneered the Wind River High Route and Southern Sierra High Route, and am one of the few people to have completed the Escalante Overland Route. In recent years, I’ve been making annual trips to explore off the beaten path areas in Patagonia, Alaska and other remote areas in the world.

What did clients say about Alan in 2020?

  • “The guy knows everything!!! He’s so freaking experienced, it’s scary.”
  • “Alan comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and many, many stories. He is able to share that knowledge in an open way without being condescending or overwhelming. He’s friendly and approachable, and very smart.”
  • “Alan is the BEST storyteller ever — the trip could not have been more engaging!” 
  • “The instruction and guidance provided by Brian and Alan was over the top. And the group was amazing, cohesive and free of egos and challenges. I have come out with a great experience, I am a stronger backpacker with skills in micro, off-trail navigation, trip planning and training, trail running, river crossings, digital navigation, backcountry protocols and lightweight backpacking.”
  • “Scott and Alan *totally* made this trip. The program was fantastic, the educational component was spot-on, and there was a great mix of challenging aspects…”
Alan in Patagonia

David Eitemiller

  • Monument, CO
  • 62 years-old
  • Married to wife Sue, two kids and 4 grandkids
  • Instagram

This is my 4th season guiding for the program, with nearly 100 days in the field functioning as lead guide for most of those. I’ve guided for Andrew in Alaska, California, Utah and Colorado.

I love adventure, exploration of new places, and helping people go places they have never been and would never go without some guidance, skills and an invitation to go. My trips focus on the navigation skills that make that possible along with a whole host of other skills to manage the conditions, yourself and maximize the adventure.

I’ve been backpacking most of my life. My most notable trips include the Wind River High Route (twice), multiple routes through the Brooks Range, the Pfiffner Traverse, and portions of the Sierra High Route, Kings Canyon Basin Route, and Yosemite High Route.

In 2019 I retired from a long and successful career in Asia as a Senior Executive for major paper, packaging and printing companies, leading many multicultural teams in complex situations.

I’ve completed four 100-mile races and many others in the 50K to 100K range, notably the San Juan Solstice 50 (four times). In 2019 I set the 60+ age group record at Run Rabbit Run 100, and was the only 60+ year-old to secure a Golden Buckle for a sub-30-hour finish.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “An encyclopedia of knowledge. He’s funny, personable, and truly cares about the welfare of his group. Dave is an incredible teacher and truly loves what he does. It shines through.”
  • “Dave was attuned to each person in the group and understood what they needed to succeed at each stage.  He started out ‘leading from the front’ and ended the trip ‘leading from the back’ … he was always the leader but empowered the group across the week as our skills and confidence increased.”
  • “I can’t say enough nice things about Dave. Great demeanor, tons of experience, extremely capable.”
  • “I would literally go anywhere with Dave and feel safe. He’s patient, knowledgeable and finds the best campsites on the planet.”
  • “I would send my kids with him anywhere in the world and know they are safe.”
Dave in the Brooks Range, Alaska

Richard Forbes

  • Missoula, MT
  • 30 years-old
  • Website
  • he/him/his

I grew up in the lowland forests of PA and fell in love with the alpine when my family first began backpacking across the grassy balds of the Appalachians. Since then, I’ve spent my life trying to get above treeline.

I moved to Colorado for college, where I studied ecology and journalism, and began guiding, both as a climbing and backpacking guide in the Boundary Waters of MN and as a backpacking guide and mentor in CO. Since beginning guiding in 2011, I’ve guided more than 180 days across a wide range of activities: rock climbing, mountain biking, mountaineering, whitewater, backpacking, backcountry skiing, map and compass, photography, wilderness survival, etc.

After backpacking for over two decades, I tend to prioritize remote off-trail routes, ideally with glaciers and summits, which require a wide suite of route-finding and decision-making skills. Since 2019, I’ve completed the Ptarmigan and Bailey traverses, skied the Chiwaukum and Enchantments traverses, climbed the five volcanoes of WA + Hood (Rainier and Helens twice), did a 70-mile loop on the Yosemite High Route, soloed a 50-mile loop on the Wind River High Route, guided a raft down the Grand Canyon as part of a winter noncommercial trip, and done roughly one million feet of gain.

When not guiding, I’m a freelance photographer and writer and have written 60+ trip reports as a contributor on assignment for Outdoor Project. In 2021, I began a master’s program in Environmental Journalism at the University of Montana and am also pursuing a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution because I’m passionate about creating collaborative spaces. My master’s work focuses on the intersection between trauma, identity, and the outdoors, especially related to climate change.
I prioritize similar skills as a guide and journalist – I’m empathetic, prioritize clear communication, and love collaborating and empowering people with new information and skills. I believe I’m my truest self when I’m out in the backcountry and I’m excited to see you out there!

New for the 2022 season

Richard on the Lynch Glacier on Mount Daniel, deep in the Central Cascades.

Katie Gerber

  • Salida, CO
  • 36 years-old
  • Live with my partner and our 15 year-old tabby, Mo
  • Website
  • Instagram
  • she/her

This is my second year with Andrew’s team, where I serve in multiple capacities, including as a guide, and an instructor for the Plan Like a Pro course. On each guided trip, my goals are to support clients to safely challenge themselves, to help them learn more about their own resiliency, to empower them with the skills and knowledge to feel more confident, and to have fun! Extended time in nature has been one of the most powerful experiences in my own life and I love helping others reconnect with the natural world.

I run my own business as a nutrition coach where I have the immense pleasure of empowering clients to optimize their health and physically prepare for their backcountry adventures. I’m also the creator of the Backpacker Academy family of online courses, and the author of Adventure Ready: A Hiker’s Guide to Planning, Training, and Resiliency (June 2021). At the core, the intention of my work is to help remove obstacles to exploring the outdoors.

Some of the notable hikes I’ve completed include the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Oregon Desert Trail, the Colorado Trail, and the Great Basin Trail. I enjoy high routes and have summited 50 of Colorado’s 14ers. I also volunteer on trail work crews.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “Katie is a natural and gifted teacher as well as a total mountain badass. She was endlessly patient with our navigation questions, never hesitating to encourage us to stop to get out the map and answer them for ourselves. Katie is really fun to be with, calm, confident, and super knowledgeable. I also enjoyed talking to her about nutrition and backcountry recipes. She’s a great addition to your team.”
  • “She is kind, pleasant, smart and a fantastic teacher and guide. Out of the two trips, she is by far the best teacher of map and compass that I have had. She knows her stuff, and her method is very clear and straightforward.”
  • “Katie was great all around. But she particularly excelled at teaching off trail navigation. She was patient and willing to stop hiking to spend the time to work on navigation. I feel that I learned tons from her.”
  • “She is experienced, supportive, knowledgeable, and kind. We all loved her!”
  • “Katie is pretty awesome. She is a great listener, a solid teacher and an obviously skilled backpacker. Great companion on the trip as well.”
Katie in the San Juans.

Matt Huddleston

  • Golden, CO
  • 30 years-old
  • Getting married this year to Natalie, my adventure partner for 10 years.
  • he/him/his

I’ve been behind the scenes preparing food and organizing gear for the program for three seasons now and 2022 will be my second year guiding. I spend a lot of time running, backpacking, mountain biking, and anything else that allows me to get out and explore the world. While adventuring, I encourage an appreciation of the small splendors of the natural world and of the ability our bodies have to carry us to these amazing places. In addition to teaching backpacking skills and the planning tools necessary to get us into the backcountry, the ability to foster and share these rich experiences amongst a great group of people is what draws me to guiding and instructing.

My lifelong love for adventure has led me on many hiking and running journeys on both coasts of the United States and abroad. I’ve hiked the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail along with routes in the Tetons, the Canadian Rockies, the White Mountains, the Peruvian Andes, the Swiss and French Alps, Yosemite, Shenandoah, Colorado and Utah. As a runner, I’ve covered over 7,000 trail and road miles in the past 5 years including many races, fast packing the Wonderland Trail and countless big days in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Between adventures I work as an engineer and climate resiliency consultant.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “I would very gladly go on another trip guided by Matt, because an attitude like his is what makes a group gel, especially when embracing the suck of Type 2 fun!”
  • “Within in the first 5 minutes we were chumming it up like old buddies. Matt was this approachable the whole time. He helped set up our meals, our tents, and picked the greatest campsite of my life. He shared his knowledge of thru-hiking and little tips and tricks to make life easier on trail. He also was able to help individual members of the group when they were physically struggling. To see his care for those people put me at ease that if something happened to me on a trip, I’d be taken care of.”
  • “I really liked Matt’s enthusiasm for hiking and general knowledge. He was approachable and I could relate to him very well.”
Matt enjoying golden hour in Northern California

Melodie Kao

  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • 33 years-old
  • Lots of plant children and enthusiastic cat auntie
  • Website
  • she/her

By day, I explore faraway worlds as an astrophysicist. In 2019 I accidentally started guiding by co-creating a semester-long WildAstro class with a 7-day backpacking trip at Arizona State University. After going to the Brooks Range in 2021 with Andrew’s program, he recruited me to guide in the Sierras, and I’m delighted to be back!

I believe backpacking skills help us grapple with challenges that we face in the rest of our lives. On my trips, I show people how to traverse their internal landscapes while they learn how to become skilled route-finders. Wild places and their lessons are a shared human inheritance, so I also work to make access to nature more equitable and am co-directing our new scholarship program.

Since my first trip in Torres del Paine in 2010, my solo repertoire includes biking up the PCH, thru-hiking the JMT, and other long distance Sierra loops. After learning how to travel cross-country in Alaska, I section-hiked the YHR, thru-hiked Andrew’s WRHR, and solo’d half of the KCHBR. In my spare time, I do trail work.

My extensive training in education and interiority skills informs my guiding. I teach interiority workshops around the nation that are inspired by my experiences as a woman of color in science and backpacking. I incorporate tried-and-true methods confirmed by psychology and pedagogy research as well as from my hands-on experience as a life coach, research mentor, and Argentine tango teacher. This year, I am training in the evidenced-based Cultivating Emotional Balance program that has been delivered around the world.

My favorite testimonials from 2021

  • “10 stars!! Melodie is extraordinary! She is a true educator, dedicated to each client learning, understanding, and progressing.”
  • “I am so happy that Melodie ended up with our group! She was an incredible leader and teacher and I could not believe that this was her first trip as a guide; it was as if she had been doing this for years.”
  • “Melodie was knowledgeable, personable, and empathetic. She has all the hard skills to be a great backpacking guide, but she also brought a really wonderful sense of humanity and compassion to the trip.”
  • “It was clear to see that backpacking is a deeply meaningful ritual for Melodie, and I loved that she encouraged each of us to dig a bit for that deeper meaning ourselves and really consider why we seek the outdoors.”
Melodie in the Sierras.

Caroline Kellough

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 32 years-old
  • Trail dog, Oso
  • she/they

I grew up in the flatlands of this country but quickly found my passion in the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest where I learned to backpack and climb.

Initially I trained as a guide in the Yukon Territory, where I completed the Donjek Route at nineteen. Since then I have taught in wilderness education and worked as a family and group therapist at a wilderness therapy company in Utah’s West Desert where I’ve racked up over 300 field days. This year I also began guiding along the Grand Canyon’s north rim and am constantly humbled at the ruggedness of the desert.

I’ve completed several long walks like the Camino de Santiago (2015) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2018), plus shorter ones all over northern New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Oklahoma. This summer, I plan on finishing the Colorado Trail and thru-hiking the Uinta Highline trail.

During the pandemic I started my own guiding business, The Desert Song. Our expeditions are geared towards folks who have been marginalized in outdoor spaces. We are dedicated to equity and inclusion in the outdoors and offer small, therapeutically themed trips. When I’m not hiking I’m often found baking, climbing, and singing at the top of my lungs — my trail name is Songbird, after all.

I’m a desert rat through and through and have guided for Andrew in Grand – Staircase Escalante for 2 seasons. This year, I look forward to expanding my range and getting to know a whole new group of great folks!  

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “I really greatly appreciated Caro’s focus on the health and wellness aspect of backpacking, including it’s spiritual components.”
  • “I loved hearing about her prior adventures and her other work. She offered help with making future plans. She demonstrated several important skills and had a lot of helpful information for the ladies in the group.”
  • “She was a great listener with lots of experience. I liked that she had some “non-typical” approaches to backpacking that illustrated that there are lots of ways to be in the backcountry.”
Caro in her element, goofing off in the Grand Canyon

Nikki Mann

  • Lander, WY
  • Live with fellow Skurka guide Jeff Wohl
  • Born in 1983
  • Rural Wyoming is a terrible place to be on social media. The spinning wheel of digital death is our ever-present companion.
  • Website
  • she/her

I have worked behind-the-scenes for NOLS, supporting backpacking and horse-packing since 2002, as a naturalist and guide for the Nature Conservancy and with Adventure Scientists. I discovered guiding for Andrew and his great team in 2021. I geek out on natural history, from bugs to birds and everything in between. I actually love hiking with whomever is at the back of the line, because those folks are full of questions and curiosity, and when we have to turn on the burners to catch back up, that’s great fun too! 

Jeff and I wrote and illustrated guides to encourage people to get to know the flora, fauna and ecosystems of Alaska, and I am currently working on finishing up a guide for the Rocky Mountains (out in 2022 with luck!). We have also tackled some crazy adventures together, from trying to horsepack from Nevada to Wyoming (oh the stories there!) to hiking the CDT in 2011, to building a house together with our own four hands. 

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “Her joy at finding new flowers, interesting animal droppings, and unique rock formations was absolutely infectious and I took every opportunity to soak up her knowledge.” 
  • “I found her to be really awesome at helping the group make its own decisions and being a really good teacher of a bunch of different skills.”

Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”)

  • Seattle, WA
  • 30 years-old
  • Married to Katie and Australian Shepherd, Crash Bandipooch
  • Instagram
  • Website
  • he/him/his

This is my fourth season guiding with Andrew and my third season as his Program Manager. I’ve guided in West Virginia, California and Utah. I’m excited to be showing off the Olympics in the PNW this September. I guide because of the wide range of passionate outdoors people I get to meet, and because of the creative routes we draw up in interesting places.

Growing up an Eagle Scout and runner helped cultivate a lifelong interest in the outdoors and my physical limits. I’ve backpacked a handful of long trails in the US, including the PCT, AT, JMT, LT and AZT. I love ultralight backpacking and moving quickly through nature. I’m also a sponsored ultramarathon runner with Brooks and like to combine the disciplines of backpacking and trail running. The mountains and forests are the places I like to visit to be introspective. It’s my place of zen, and I love sharing that with other people.

My favorite testimonials from 2021

  • “Displayed patience, knowledge and an air confidence. He is easy to get along with, worked well with Christy Rosander, and pushed when we needed to be pushed.”
  • “Ton’s of credibility. Very engaging, upbeat and fun. An adventurer. Patient and supportive”
  • “Is there anything Joe doesn’t know? Is there any joke he won’t laugh at? Joe is an exceptional leader and backcountry expert who made it clear that he was with us as a member of a high-functioning team first, and as a guide second.”
  • “Joe’s enthusiasm for the trip is absolutely infectious”
Selfie on the PCT

Jose Mendez

  • San Francisco, CA
  • 34 years-old
  • Happily partnered, occasional foster cat dad
  • Instagram
  • Website
  • he/him/his

After spending most of my adult life working adult desk jobs, I leapt into outdoor education and guiding, working as a camp instructor and field guide in California and Colorado. I currently work as an outdoor instructor leading kayaking, climbing, and hiking trips around the San Francisco Bay Area. 

I grew up in LA and didn’t spend much (or any) time in the great outdoors until I was an old twenty-something. Guiding gives me the opportunity to share my newfound love of the outdoors with those who haven’t had the ability or resources to discover these amazing places and experiences. On each trip I lead, I try to share all the skills I’ve acquired as an outdoor enthusiast and my passion for preserving these beautiful wild places. I especially love talking about the Indigenous and geological history of the places we adventure in. 

I’ve gone on some long walks on the John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Colorado Trail and routes like the Lowest to Highest, Hayduke Trail, and Yosemite High Route (with half a guidebook). I’m a solidly mid-pack runner with over 10,000 running miles and a few ultramarathons from 50K-100K. I’m also a Wilderness First Responder and Red Cross CPR and Basic Water Rescue certified.

Atop Quartzite Peak on the Yosemite High Route

Samuel Novey

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 34 years-old
  • Lives with: Partner – Ashley; Boston Terriers – Sigmund and Birch; Pit Bull – Rosie; and usually one or two foster dogs
  • Instagram

I love empowering people and helping them build the confidence to have their own adventures outdoors but even more important to me is the existential and communal experience of being in the wilderness together. I see our adventures as an opportunity to explore inwards as much as outwards, discovering the variety of aesthetic experiences that nature can evoke. I value creating a sense of intradependence amongst the group and the landscape, getting really far out there and having immersive and sublime journeys. This will be my first season guiding with Skurka Adventures.

I was born and raised in the bay area and grew up hiking and climbing in the Sierra Nevada. I’ve been serious about climbing mountains for over fifteen years. I’ve climbed big routes on big mountains on multiple continents, guided on Denali, and hiked, run, climbed, or skied over one hundred peaks in the Wasatch alone. My experience in alpine climbing distills a lightweight and highly physical approach to backpacking. 

I’ve also worked as an Emergency Room/Triage nurse and a Wilderness First Responder instructor in Utah for the past eight years. On the side I work as a coach and personal trainer for mountain athletes. I love training and watching my athletes grow and achieve their goals. I volunteer as the Salt Lake Chapter Chair of the American Alpine Club.

Some of my personal experiences include:

  • Climbing the Cassin Ridge on Denali
  • Mt. Rainier’s Liberty Ridge in 24 hours
  • The North Face of Quitaraju in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • The three tallest peaks of the Rwenzori Range, Uganda
  • Off trail scrambles, high routes, rock climbs, ice climbs, and peak bagging adventures in the North Cascades, Cascade Volcanoes, Sierras, Wind River, Teton, San Juans, Front, Lost River, Wasatch, and Uinta mountain ranges
  • Backcountry hiking trips and rock climbs all over the desert southwest, including: Grand Staircase Escalante, Canyonlands, Greater Moab area, Bears’ Ears, Buckskin Gulch/Paria River, and the Grand Canyon
Sam in in Little Box Death Hollow, Escalante, UT

Mikaela Osler

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • 27 years-old
  • Live with my partner and too many houseplants
  • Instagram
  • she/her

This is my first season guiding with Andrew, but I’ve been leading outdoor trips for almost a decade. In college, I guided and trained leaders at Stanford Outdoors. Since then, I’ve done some guiding with youth, and have been thru-hiking, studying creative writing, and teaching English. I’m a pedagogy nerd; whether I’m teaching how to structure a paragraph or how to read a map, I love finding creative ways to help people connect with new skills or ideas. I especially love talking about the night sky, the history of public lands conservation, and writing about nature and adventure. 

In 2016, I hiked the PCT.  Since then, I’ve completed the triple crown and have set FKTs on the Colorado Trail and Long Trail. I also dabble in ultra running. I’ve written about multi-day endurance athletics for publications like Trail Runner and Long Trail News. Moving light and fast through beautiful landscapes has given me space to connect with myself, heal, and have a lot of fun. My favorite thing about guiding is helping others gain the skills and comfort they need so they can challenge themselves, grow, and have a blast outdoors. 

Mikaela in Pecos Wilderness

Hazel Platt

  • Sacramento, CA
  • 28 years-old
  • Instagram
  • they/them or he/him

I began guiding hiking and backpacking trips in college with the Penn State Outing Club shortly after discovering my love for the outdoors at age 23, eventually serving as president of the organization, defending the century-old club from dissolution by University administration, helping to train and manage volunteer trip leaders, leading dozens of students on their first backpacking trips, and working as a field instructor for Penn State’s Wilderness Literature course. This is my second season curing “tree blindness” with Andrew’s program – I aspire to leave every client with a deeper appreciation for the incredible biodiversity of the Eastern Forest and the species that call it home. As an out and proud member of the trans community, I also aim to help make the outdoors more welcoming for queer and trans people, and people of all backgrounds. 

Since my first backpacking trip on Pennsylvania’s Black Forest Trail in May of 2017, I have backpacked more than 4,000 miles through diverse landscapes, including a 2019 thruhike of the Appalachian Trail and long-distance adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest in 2021, and dabbled in mountaineering, rock climbing, and off-trail adventuring. I also spent some of that time in an indoor classroom, earning a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management from Penn State University in 2019 after deciding to leave a nascent tech industry career behind.

I currently work with the Pacific Crest Trail Association managing outreach and communications for our extensive volunteer program, which organizes thousands of volunteers to provide tens of thousands of hours of labor to manage, maintain and promote the 2,650-mile-long trail stretching from Mexico to Canada. Previously I’ve worked in the Allegheny Highlands of West Virginia as a Wilderness Specialist alongside the US Forest Service and as a Via Ferrata guide, and spent a thrilling summer as a field instructor at an adventure-based camp for teens with ADHD and learning disabilities in the wilds of northwest Wyoming. As a bonafide nature nerd, I bring a wealth of knowledge about regional & public lands history, dendrology (tree identification), management of protected areas, queer ecologies and the philosophical and cultural histories and quandaries of the Wilderness Idea.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “Hazel’s detailed local knowledge brought the landscape of Dolly Sods to life. I did not think I was interested in trees. I was wrong. Talking to him helped me understand human impact and why it’s so important to follow Leave No Trace principles. I’m very thankful to have had Hazel on this trip.”
  • “Hazel was very knowledgeable about the area, especially the local plants and trees. Learning more about the plant life in Dolly Sods was a fun aspect of our trip which I wasn’t expecting! He was also committed to getting to know everyone on the trip and really helpful if we had questions.”
Hazel on the Pacific Northwest Trail

Dahn Pratt

  • Bend, OR
  • 31 years-old
  • One girlfriend and one pup
  • Instagram
  • he/him/his

I worked on a helicopter-assisted sled dog camp in the Panhandle of Alaska on the Denver Icefield. I have also worked with various non-profits focused on interpersonal and leadership skills in an outdoor setting logging over 300 nights in outdoor classrooms. I have also guided 5 trips with Skurka in 2020 and plan on guiding many more!

I’ve hiked and guided extensively on six continents and each time I meet new people or witness new places I look forward to learning more and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained from a life lived exploring. There hasn’t been a day spent outdoors where I haven’t learned something new and I intend to keep that streak going in 2022 🙂

A lifetime ago I was a Bronze Medalist at the Canadian Track & Field National Championships in Triple Jump. After graduating I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail and have been longing for outdoor exploration ever since. Between late 2017 and early 2020 I hiked over 10,000 miles in perpetual summer along national scenic trails in various countries, even pioneering a 1,250 mile loop in the Middle East called the Peace Trail, a combination of the Israel National Trail and the Jordan Trail.

After University I was a teaching assistant for a travel abroad program and also taught Human Kinetics, Geography, and Orienteering at an International School in Tokyo.

Special areas of interest for me in the backcountry are wild edibles, hydrology, and geology.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “In so many ways, Dahn is an incredible guide. He does such a good job bringing groups together and making us feel comfortable and connected with each other. He also has an unbreakable positive spirit, which helps keep group morale high even during the tough times. On top of that, he’s a great listener, and puts the needs and interests of clients first. I can go on and on about how great Dahn is — but the bottom line is that he is truly an excellent guide.”
  • “Dahn is one the kindest human beings I have ever met. It is humbling to meet someone like that. Always willing to share his experience and answer questions and just be there for everyone.”
  • “Dahn has the most supportive, open heart. He was always asking us questions about ourselves and engaging us in the most interesting conversations. He’s led an amazing life for someone who is only 30, and he has the experience to teach and share and make better hikers and people of us all.”
  • “Dahn was great at encouraging hikers to learn by doing and asking questions that guided us to find our own answers. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge and I found it very interesting and helpful. He also always seemed to know who in the group was struggling and would give those hikers some extra support. For me, he took the time to talk through some anxieties I have about sleeping alone in the backcountry and gave me some tools to help alleviate that in the future.”
  • “Dahn’s telling of his life and hiking experiences are inspiring to listen to. His hiking knowledge and teaching style are rich and genuine. And even more so are his knowledge of places, cultural history, and flora and fauna. On this trip, it was a pleasure to learn more than just hiking skills, but to learn about people and places, and I think Dahn was a big part of this.”
Dahn on Forester Pass, the highest point along the Pacific Crest Trail

Brian Robinson (“Flyin’ Brian“)

Since 2011 I’ve guided 42 trips over 228 days with Andrew, starting with his very first High Sierra trip. I love to teach all the skills necessary to travel off-trail.

I’ve been backpacking since the 1970’s and helped to popularize ultralight gear and techniques. In 2001 I became the first person to complete the Calendar Triple Crown, which entails thru-hiking the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails (7,400 miles total), all in the same year. This feat earned me the trail name “Flyin’ Brian” and induction into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame. It also caught the attention of Andrew, at the time still a college student, who would take my far, fast, and light style to the next level.

I’m also an accomplished ultra runner. I was the seventh finisher (out of 15 total now) and former course record-holder of the infamous Barkley Marathons, and I completed the 224-mile John Muir Trail in 4 days 7 hours. Before they were really a thing, I established FKT’s on the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide, and High Sierra Trails.

I prepare tax returns seasonally, and volunteer as a trail maintenance crew leader in the Ventana Wilderness of Big Sur.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “He gave us seasoned, practical advice and he has a warm, engaging personality. Hard not to like the guy!”
  • “Absolute backpacking encyclopedia. Beyond patient.” 
  • “His leadership, calm, patience, and knowledge are all outstanding. I’m not sure I could imagine a better guide.”
  • “Great knowledge of the area, sky, backpacking skills, tips, and tricks. Will tell you wonderful stories of his experiences over the years if you ask.”
Brian above Roosevelt Lake in Yosemite

Christy Rosander

  • Tehachapi, CA
  • Married to husband Dan with three adult children and 2 grandchildren
  • Instagram
  • Website

This coming season will be my 3rd year as a Skurka guide with 70 days in the field throughout California, Utah and Colorado. Guiding gives me the opportunity to share the outdoors and empower others with the skills and confidence to plan and execute future personal trips. In addition, I love to encourage, support, and have fun with new friends. 

As an elementary school teacher for 20 years, I took advantage of my breaks to hike solo or with family and friends. I love hiking in remote and wild places and documenting trips through photos and video. 

My most notable trips include:

  • Long-distance trails like the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, Great Divide, John Muir (6x), Theodore Solomons, Arizona and Tahoe Rim Trails
  • Off-trail adventures like the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, Yosemite High Route (2x), Sierra High Route (2x), Lowest to Highest, Scotland’s Great Outdoor Challenge, Wind River High Route, and Southern Sierra High Route, plus many DIY itineraries in the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Sierras, southern Utah and Death Valley;
  • Big peaks like Rainier, Shasta, Whitney (via the Mountaineers Route, 5x), Russell, Williamson, Sahale, Banner and Ritter.

In addition to backpacking for over 30 years, I backcountry and alpine ski, road and mountain bike, paddleboard, and rock climb. I’m committed to staying healthy, fit and having fun. A positive attitude, good planning, a bit of spunk, and lightweight gear are a few of the keys to longevity in this sport.

Read my full bio.

My favorite testimonials from 2021:

  • “Christy is SO funny and during the tough parts, really helped take the edge off with her humor. She’s just an inspirational human being! I really appreciated her bringing a female perspective to some topics, as things are often a little different for women in some aspects of backpacking! She was a wealth of knowledge, but I also appreciated that she was always giving choices.”
  • “She’s full of Hot Tips! She is very up to date with the latest gear. Christy did a great job teaching map and compass.”
  • “Christy was amazing! I really appreciated having a female guide that could lend some insights to our group from her own experiences. She was always willing to answer our endless questions.”
  • “The positive energy flow from Christy helped maintain the high spirits and cohesiveness of the group. She was very attuned to individual member’s needs, and never missed a teachable moment.”
  • “Super-fit, Super Professional, Super Personable, Super attentive. One word: Super.”
Christy atop Cloud’s Rest – Yosemite National Park

Nicco Tyson

  • Oakland, CA
  • 35 years-survived-so-far
  • Partner: Shelli, Daughter: Ayelet
  • Facebook
  • he/him

Over the past 15 years, I have guided over 130 trips with the Pacific Outdoor Connection and Unalayee Backpacking Camp and on my own.  A major professional accomplishment of mine was leading a group of 13 to 16 years olds on a 30 day backpacking trip that included a circumnavigation of the Trinity Alps High Route on a record snow year.  On an expedition, I aim for everyone to be challenged by the adventure and also be able to enjoy the wonder and beauty of the wilderness.  An important part of the process is connecting and supporting each other as a group of people choosing to step out of the comforts of our day to day lives.  I seek to empower participants to make sound decisions in the backcountry, navigate without trails and have so much fun on their adventures.

When I’m not wandering in the mountains, I am a performing musician and harmonica, guitar and ukulele teacher in the Bay Area. I love teaching as it gives me a wonderful opportunity to share my experience and help others develop even more joy in playing music.  For performing, I have crafted my own unique sound after spending decades studying West African, Brazilian and Cuban music as well as blues and American folk.  

My other big passions are contact dance and storytelling. On many trips, I have performed entire movies and novels under the starry night sky or while cruising through long dusty trail miles.  As a dancer, I have extensively studied Axis Syllabus Movement and Fighting Monkey Training.  I enjoy helping others move their bodies with more playfulness, power and long term sustainability.

Being playful in the High Sierra

Katrina Weyland

  • Circleville, WV
  • 40 years-old
  • Live with my partner David and my Beagle mix, Murphy
  • Instagram
  • she/her

I started my outdoor journey in 2004 at Experience Learning, an outdoor education center in wild and wonderful West Virginia, and I have spent the better part of my adult life working there as an instructor/guide/manager. Through Experience Learning I have learned how to build a community within each group I take out in the woods, helping them excel in the outdoors often with only the resources on their backs. One of my main goals is that the learning does not stop when a participant leaves a trip. By blending the outdoor experience with educational lessons such as geology, forest ecology, forest history, and many others, participants can take home the skills and knowledge that will continue to positively influence their lives. These are the skills and goals that I take on each and every trip as I guide both adults and students in the outdoors.

Working as an outdoor educator has allowed me to hone both my teaching and guiding skills, leading 15 trips a year for over 17 years in both the US and Europe. Whether I am taking people on hut-to-hut hikes in the Alps or canoeing down the Delaware river in New Jersey, connecting people to the outdoors and giving them an opportunity to push past their comfort zones to find out what they’re capable of is a lifelong pursuit of mine.  

In addition to 17 years of outdoor education experience, I’ve thru-hiked the Appalachian and the Continental Divide Trails. I have also backpacked through the Swiss Alps, the West Highland Way in Scotland, and the Routeburn Track in New Zealand. For now, Seneca Creek Backcountry in West Virginia is my home, where I like to roam through the forests on a daily basis. 

Katrina on Grays Peak in Colorado

Jessica Winters

This is my 5th season guiding for Andrew! I love making connections and learning about each individual I’ll get to work with in my groups. My goals are to support you and share my expertise and just have a really good time in the backcountry. 

I’m a full-time yoga teacher and lead outdoor yoga and rafting expeditions in places like the Grand Canyon, Alaska and Idaho. I’m an educator at heart, and being a school teacher I love planting seeds of empowerment and knowledge for whatever goals you have next. 

I completed the Triple Crown in 2007 by thru-hiking the Pacific Crest, Appalachian, and Continental Divide Trails. I thru-hiked across Iceland, the Arizona Trail, and have logged thousands of miles in the Cascades and Olympics. I’ve climbed two of the seven summits; Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro, and love peak bagging and climbing in the Cascade mountains.

My favorite testimonials from 2021 clients

  • “Jessica was knowledgeable, compassionate, patient, funny, supportive, and entirely unfazed by any difficulty or curveball. She excelled at helping out members of the group and having her as a guide was a true highlight of the experience.”
  • “This experience with Jess, and her steady presence as I faced my fears, was monumental in helping me overcome something that was scary; it was an important lesson for me that I can do really hard, scary things. I owe a huge part of this personal growth to Jess and her steady, strong presence.”
  • “Jess is a natural teacher. A very good listener. Genuinely interested in your story. Great at making sure everyone was heard.”
  • “Jessica’s skill and knowledge of backpacking are top notch. What set her apart was her empathy for anyone who was struggling and her ability to help them. She is patient and made sure that everyone participated in skills lessons so no one was left out.”
Jessica on the top of Mount Olympus!

Witt Wisebram

  • Atlanta, GA
  • 38 years-old
  • Single. I consider my outdoor community to be my 2nd family.
  • Instagram
  • he/him/his

This is my first season guiding with Andrew. Not only am I excited to learn from such an experienced team, I am also looking forward to bringing my skill-set, experience, and perspective to our clients. I feel especially grateful to guide my first trip in West Virginia, as I grew up backpacking in the Southeast, and I spend most of my time in the woods along the Appalachian Trail in Northern Virginia. I have worked as an Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner, patrolling 55 miles of trail between Harpers Ferry, WV and Shenandoah National Park over the last four years. In the past I have guided for REI and privately guided in Chilean Patagonia. 

Some of the most profound and enriching outdoor experiences I have had in recent years have been helping others to achieve their goals. It feels like a natural extension, after achieving many of my own goals and dreams, to help others find their way to their own goals in the outdoors. From helping Stringbean achieve his amazing Arizona Trail FKT to helping friends finish their first 100 mile races to encouraging hikers as they begin the 2nd half of the Appalachian Trail, these experiences have helped broaden and expand my own relationship to the outdoors. I hope to help clients not only learn and grow, but to do so in a way that fosters respect, connection, and a deeper relationship with the natural world. 

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2003, at the age of 19, only one year after Andrew’s first thru-hike. Since then I have completed the Triple Crown of long distance hiking, and I have been able to find strength and push my limits in the outdoors in ways that I never thought possible. I have held FKT’s for the 100-mile-wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail, the Arizona Trail self-supported, the four-state-challenge of the Appalachian Trail, and the Appalachian Trail through all of Shenandoah National Park unsupported. I have been competitive in a broad range of ultra marathons, including top 5 performances at the Moab 240 and the Cocodona 250. Most recently I took 2nd place at the Across the Years 10-day-race by running 630 miles in the 10 days. I am a Wilderness EMT as well as a Leave No Trace educator. 

Cold, hungry, and wet in the Wind River Range. One of the best days I’ve ever had.

Jeff Wohl

  • Lander, WY
  • Born in 1978 
  • Live with partner, Nikki Mann (fellow Skurka Guide), 2 dogs, sometimes ravens, magpies, or other rescue creatures
  • Social Media is no fun in rural Wyoming! You should see how long a text takes. 
  • he/him/his

In 2021, I worked 3 of the 5 Skurka locations, and really enjoyed connecting people to nature, as well as teaching skills and decision making that empowered people to embark on their own adventures. 

I grew up in Wyoming and climbed my first 13’er when I was six, yet I still get excited about outdoor adventures! I’ve been an outdoor educator for over twenty years and spent 200 weeks in the field instructing: backpacking, climbing, horse-packing, caving and winter programs for NOLS. I also took time off from teaching to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail. 

I have worked for the Nature Conservancy as a guide/naturalist alongside experts such as ornithologists David Allen Sibley, bear biologist Chuck Jonkel, and Smithsonian paleo-botanists Scott Wing. My book, Alaska: Illustrated Guide for the Curious, is a guide to common land and marine creatures and their habitats. 

I am a Wilderness First Aid Instructor. 

My favorite testimonials from 2021

  • Jeff is a walking encyclopedia of the outdoors- backpacking, biology, animal identification, history and geology. 
  • Jeff is truly brilliant about finding routes and navigating terrain. 
  • I learned more from Jeff in five days than other person or content channel in all of my backpacking experience. 
  • The way in which Jeff excelled for me personally was being a safe place I could depend on. 
  • His experience is off the chart.