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Meet Our Team
Born from a love of wild and beautiful places, The Wildland Trekking Company delivers outstanding hiking adventures to the best desert and mountain regions of America. Wildland Trekking is more than a business, it's a vehicle to make a difference in people's lives and in the world. This aim is reflected in our mission statement:

"To provide exceptional hiking adventures to North America's most beautiful and wild landscapes, and to contribute significantly to the conservation of these special places." We have over 25 years of owner experience leading unique journeys that have lasting positive impact on people's lives and, as importantly, on the regions and cultures we visit. (Read more about our mission.)

Hiking and Backpacking Guide Qualifications:
  • Wilderness First Responder or EMT medical certifications
  • Extensive experience and proven competence with backcountry travel and guiding in area of expertise
  • NAU Backcountry Environmental Health Certification (Food Handlers Permit)
  • Certifications in Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
Meet the Staff
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W  
  Larry Abels, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Equipment and Warehouse Manager / Guide
Larry Abels fostered his love of the outdoors growing up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania and camping in PA's old growth forests. While earning an art education degree he realized that a career indoors would simply not fulfill him. So he rounded out his art degree with a semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in order to pursue the career path he is currently on. Before coming to Wildland to guide in the Grand Canyon he worked as a crewleader for various conservation corps in the west, and worked several years as a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program in southern Utah. Larry is the Equipment Manager as well as a guide. When guiding, he deeply enjoys opportunities to laugh with his guests and increase their awareness of the beauty of the natural world.

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  Scott Abrams, Yellowstone Hiking Guide
Logistics and Screening Manager / Guide
On his first mountain climb near Yellowstone, at eight years of age, Scott Abrams decided anything worth doing is worth doing on foot. That decision, made 20 years ago, sparked a passion in him to extensively explore the fantastic mountain ranges near his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. Eventually his passion for hiking the mountains led Scott to a career working with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). His next leap landed him at the Wildland Trekking Company doorstep, where he now shares his love of hiking and outdoor adventure with all who are willing. Scott is our Logistics Director and guides trips in the Grand Canyon, Utah and Yellowstone.

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  Avianna Acid, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Avianna (Avi) Acid was born on a small military base in Millington, Tennessee. Most of her youth was spent moving between states as a military kid and experiencing a grand diversity of people and places. Although her surroundings were always changing, her love for the outdoors was always a constant. It started out with collecting rocks, climbing trees, and catching bugs. It evolved throughout her childhood until she found herself studying Park and Recreation Management at Northern Arizona University with hopes of one day becoming a backpacking guide. Avi started officially guiding as a sophomore in college, co-leading trips to Kanab Creek Wilderness and acting as an assistant guide for NAU Outdoors, as well as leading trips throughout the Grand Canyon. Now with years of guiding experience under her belt, she believes you never truly find yourself except in true wilderness, and that everyone should get out there once in a while and have some fun!

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  Brad Ball, co-owner of the Wildland Trekking Company
Southwest Director
Brad Ball, owner and co-founder, has well over a quarter century of professional experience in wilderness and adventure travel. As a long time senior instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the executive director of Sylvan Rocks Climbing School and Guide Service, and as a state, federal, and consulting forester, Brad has spent the entirety of his career in the outdoors. He is passionate about providing meaningful travel experiences that leave people with a sense of wonder with the natural world. Brad is also a strong voice for conservation, as it is a lifestyle and a mission for him. He is married and raising two young outdoor adventurers in Flagstaff, Arizona.
  Myriam Bishop, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
International Markets Director / Guide
Myriam Bishop grew up in the French Alps, and started hiking before she started school. Joining outdoor trainings available in the area, as well as Nature Conservation events, she entered an outdoor recreation program in high school. Caving, backcountry skiing, rock-climbing and then mountaineering were her favorites. She has a degree in Outdoor recreation and Tourism. She started guiding hiking and backpacking trips in Iceland in 2002 and hasn't since stopped sharing her passion of the outdoors, showing off the beaten track's nature marvels. She got addicted to travelling and has since explored and hiked on 4 continents, from Sahara sand dunes to Greenland glaciers, Hawaii, New Zealand or Alaska. Her never ending fascination for plants, animals, and landscape formation drew her across the Southwest a few times before she decided she had to settle here in order to explore and share this amazing Canyon Country. She has the European Mountain Leader and Wilderness First Responder certifications.

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  Eddie Bowers, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Eddie Bowers is originally from Mississippi, where his love of the outdoors developed early while spending summers at "the lake" with family and friends. It wasn't until 2003 that he discovered the beauty of the southwestern United States, visiting as often as possible until moving west several years later. Eddie has since racked up over two years of full time guiding experience in the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls. He lives part of the year in Flagstaff, AZ and the other part in Breckenridge, CO where he enjoys snowboarding and climbing Colorado's famous 14ers. He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.

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  Katie Bryce, Grand Canyon backpacking guide
Katie Bryce grew up in a Wisconsin farm town hiking, camping, cross country skiing, and dog sledding with her family. Every year her parents took her and her sisters backpacking out west, where she fell completely in love with the outdoors. She earned a BA in Wilderness Leadership and Environmental Studies at Prescott College, giving her countless opportunities to backpack all over North America’s wilderness. Katie lives in Flagstaff and guides hiking and backpacking trips into the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls and Southern Utah. When not guiding, she enjoys work as a massage therapist in Sedona. "I am tremendously grateful to my parents for introducing me to the great outdoors - it's become a life long passion I love to share with others!"

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  Ann Bubb, Hiking Trip Coordinator
Customer Service Director
Ann Marie Bubb is an avid hiker, backpacker, climber, and skier. She has been living in Southwest Colorado for 15 years, exploring the wonders of the San Juan Mountains and the Colorado Plateau nearly that whole time. As long time co-owner of an outdoor gear store, Ann is an expert in almost all things outdoors. She also has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Illinois and has had guided trips in the four corners region. When not helping Wildland Trekking guests find, prepare for, and get the most from their trips - or out having adventures of her own - she can often be found volunteering, enjoying local music festivals and spending time with friends.
  Ron Bubb, Colorado Rockies backpacking and Grand Canyon Guide
Ron Bubb has been living, working, hiking, backpacking, skiing, kayaking, and canoeing in the four corners region for more than 15 years. He has an MBA and worked in state government before leaving his home state of Illinois for the west in 1996. Since that time, he has opened and operated three outdoor gear shops in Durango and Pagosa Springs, Colorado and started guiding for Wildland Trekking in 2008. "I want to help people get into the backcountry. That's what I feel I was put on this planet to do." Ron lives his purpose by guiding trips in the Grand Canyon, Utah, Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone.

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  Jason Bull, Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Jason Bull is originally from the Bay Area and began his guiding career in 2005 as a river runner in Colorado. He has a background in environmental sciences and a love for the outdoors, particularly the unique desert landscapes of the Southwest. In addition to leading hikes, Jason also enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. He has recently worked in the fields of wildland conservation, forest management, and renewable energy procurement, and is currently finishing up his Master’s degree in Climate Science and Solutions at Northern Arizona University.

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  Doug Campbell, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Hiking Guide
Doug Campbell was raised in New Mexico and Oklahoma and went on his first backpacking adventure when he was 10 years old. He earned a degree in history from Penn State University and is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School. A former Social Worker, Doug has been guiding treks for The Wildland Trekking Company since 2009. He also instructs wilderness courses for NOLS and United World College-USA. He is a passionate student and teacher of wilderness and the natural and human history of the American West and enjoys sharing with others the unique, diverse and inspiring wonders found there. Doug resides in Albuquerque.

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  Tiffany James, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Tiffany Cooper grew up in Mississippi where she started camping at an early age with her grand parents. Her love of the outdoors was born from weekend getaways to lakes and forests in the area where she grew up. In 1999 she graduated from Mississippi State with a Bachelor's degree in Fitness management. After college she moved to Montana, where she hiked and explored Montana and Wyoming for over 2 years. It was in 2002 however that her life was forever changed - she moved to Arizona and started hiking the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau. "I fell in love with the Canyon and do not think I can leave. I have been guiding in the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau now for more than 8 years {since 2004} and see no end in sight!"

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  Sandra Corso, Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Sandra Corso was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Like most “Cariocas” (natives of Rio), she fell in love with nature at a very young age. Because Rio is surrounded by beautiful tropical beaches, islands, rainforest and mountains, it inspires many people with a deep desire to enjoy nature. As an adult she has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, leading 2-day to 30-day mountaineering, climbing and backpacking trips. Sandra is a senior Outward Bound Instructor and a member of the American Guiding Association, the American Alpine Club, and the New Mexico Mountain Club. When not guiding and instructing, Sandra enjoys adventures of her own - the longer the better - all over the world.

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  Scott Cundy, co-owner of the Wildland Trekking Company
Marketing Director
Scott Cundy, owner and co-founder, grew up hiking and backpacking with his family in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. He's sure backcountry hiking is severely contagious and doesn't have any known cure, because once afflicted with it the constant desire to "get out" has plagued him his whole life. He has a degree in English and has worked in the adventure travel profession most of his career. He's ventured professionally to 13 countries throughout North America, Europe, the South Pacific, and Central America. For five years Scott also enjoyed facilitating leadership development seminars and workshops with two training companies, Odyssey Performance Enhancement Network and Klemmer and Associates.
  Steve Cundy, co-owner of the Wildland Trekking Company
Rocky Mountain Director
Steve Cundy, owner and co-founder, worked as a natural resources specialist for federal and state governments before discovering his passion for leading people into wild places. After this revelation, he spent his working life as a wilderness counselor for at-risk youth in Utah and as an outdoor educator and hiking guide, before co-founding the Wildland Trekking Company. Steve is a personable and attentive owner and guide who is dedicated to seeing that his guests get as much out of their wilderness hiking experience as possible. Also an avid rock climber, he can usually be found scaling the cliffs of his usual haunts when not in the office or the field.
  Steve Cundy, co-owner of the Wildland Trekking Company
Guy Dobyns grew up in Indiana, but fell in love with the Southwest at an early age during family backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon. He escaped the corn fields of the Midwest as soon as he could for the grander landscapes of the West. He is passionate about getting people outside, and has worked in a variety of wild places. Aside from guiding for Wildland Trekking, he was an outdoor educator for a high school in New Mexico, coordinated logistics for an Outward Bound school in Utah, and guided ice climbing and rafting trips in Alaska. The Grand Canyon remains his first and best love though, and he has been exploring the Canyon by foot and raft for more than six years. Guy enjoys sharing his knowledge about the geology of the Canyon and its history of human exploration with guests, but most of all he just loves introducing new people to his favorite place in the world.

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  Margie Erhart, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Margie Erhart leads hiking trips for us in the Grand Canyon and in Utah. She has been a river and hiking guide in the Grand Canyon and on the San Juan River for years. She has hiked in several countries all over the world, including Chile, Burma, and Ireland. She is the author of five novels, countless essays, and her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio. She has been swinging a butterfly net since the turn of the millennium and has a working knowledge of the bugs of the Colorado Plateau. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona and teaches creative writing for the Navajo Nation.

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  Crystal Ghiglieri, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Fleet Manager/Guide
Crystal Ghiglieri has been immersed in nature since she took her first steps, which were on the Colorado Plateau in Northern Arizona. At age twelve, she was officially introduced to the Grand Canyon on a 2-week whitewater trip with her father, who's been a Grand Canyon rafting guide for over 4 decades. She spent the rest of her childhood years hiking, backpacking and rafting the Canyon every chance she got. You could say the Grand Canyon is in her blood! She earned a double Bachelor degrees in Parks and Recreation Management and Spanish from Northern Arizona University, and has been guiding hiking and rafting tours in the Canyon since 2009. What excites her most as a guide is balancing the protection of the Canyon with providing a high quality experience for visitors. She believes her chief duty is to educate people about the importance of taking care of our shared environment and how intimately it connects to their lives.

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  Shayne Hall, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Staffing and Permits Manager / Guide
Shayne Hall grew up in Tucson, Arizona where he found a passion for the outdoors during his first backpacking trip, a solo excursion into the Rincon Mountains. In 1998 he spent 105 days hiking 720 miles from the border of Mexico to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While passing through the Canyon on this life-changing journey, he met a hiking guide who sparked his interest. In 2001 he began his guiding career. "I love to see people blown away by the intense beauty of the Canyon. Also seeing friends and families bond during their time in the Canyon is the most rewarding part of my job." Shayne oversees permits and staffing, and he guides hikes every chance he gets.

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  Betsy Harter, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Betsy Harter was born and raised on a small farm in southwest Missouri. Raised with 4 brothers and a sister, her family spent their summer vacations camping at local lakes and canoeing on the local rivers. She moved to Colorado in 2001, at the age of 19, to become a river guide, an adventure from the git-go that changed her life forever. She spent 3 months traveling around the west after her first summer of river guiding, a week of which was spent falling in love with the Grand Canyon. She vowed to someday live and work in this amazing place. Over the next decade she river guided and managed a rafting outfitter in Colorado in the summers. During the winters she spent time skiing or traveling to various countries around Central and South America. She spent several of those winters working as a river and eco-tour guide in Costa Rica and Argentina before moving to Flagstaff. She now works full time as both a river guide and trekking guide in the Grand Canyon. With a degree in Neuropsychology and a minor in Biology, Betsy is devoted to keeping society connected to nature by making every trip both meaningful and educational for each individual, while focusing on protecting the environment.

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  Jill Hewins, Hiking Tour Guide
Trip Coordinator / Guide
Jill Hewins has been guiding wilderness backpacking, biking, hiking and travel journeys since 1986. In the outdoor adventure industry, she has worked as a Program Director, Trip Planner, Guide and Staff Trainer. She has a Masters Degree in Higher Education and certifications in Wilderness First Responder and Advanced First Aid. Jill loves bringing together groups of individuals for self-growth, play, laughter and adventure. She has been working at being a good yoga student for over ten years, and in her free time she is an avid cyclist, hiker and student of life. As a Trip Coordinator, Jill helps guests plan their trips, and as a guide helps them make the most of their time in the wilderness.

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  Chris Hoge, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Backpacking and Hiking Guide
Chris Hoge developed a love of backpacking and climbing in the Appalachian Mountains of his homestate of Tennessee. After earning a B.A. in Recreation and Tourism Management from the University of Tennessee, he headed west looking for a change of scenery. His quest landed him in Flagstaff, Arizona where the Grand Canyon grabbed firm hold of him. “Any day that starts by waking up in the Grand Canyon has the strong potential to be one of the greatest days of your life!” Being as fascinated about the history of the Canyon as he is hiking inside its towering walls, Chris has been teaching and guiding in the Canyon for over 5 years. He also migrates north to lead Yellowstone trips in the summer.

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  Rob James, Grand Canyon and Utah backpacking Guide
Rob James grew up hunting and fishing in his home state of Mississippi and first felt strongly drawn to the West during a family vacation (Griswald style) to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks at the age of 10. After receiving a bachelors degree in education from Mississippi State, he set off to explore the west, moving initially to Montana. On a road trip to the Southwest he fell in love with the desert and it's had him in its grasp ever since. He's spent the last 9 years as a backpacking guide in the Grand Canyon, but does migrate north in the summer to lead Yellowstone trips for Wildland Trekking, not completely abandoning his initial love of the Northern Rockies. Rob currrently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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  Tiffany James, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Julie Jurkowski was born and raised outside of Chicago, but it wasn’t until she moved West in her early 20’s that she felt she had truly found her home. She has lead outdoor education and adventure trips with a number of companies over the past eight years. Many of these trips have been with at-risk youth as she believes whole-heartedly in the healing power of nature. She has hiked from Georgia to Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail and has lead trips in places from Alaska to Hawaii and North Carolina to Arizona. Although she is currently a Flagstaff resident and a graduate student in the Climate Science Program at Northern Arizona University, she is most at home in the backcountry and spends as many nights under the stars each year as possible.

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  Dean Kelly, Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Dean Kelly was born in Ireland but grew up in the Northeast. He earned a BA in Environmental Studies and Education from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Dean was a science teacher in New York City for five years. He has remained in education in that he is now a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructor. as well as a Wildland Trekking Company guide. Dean home base is in Bend, Oregon where he spends his free time rock climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and running.

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  Bob Kraus, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Hiking Tour Guide
Steve Klefstad fell in love with the Grand Canyon on his first rafting trip in the summer of 2002. Less than a year and a half later, he moved to the South Rim where he lived and worked for Grand Canyon National Park. A side trip took him to Colorado, where he spent two summers guiding rafting trips on the Arkansas River. The Canyon was in his blood though, so he returned to Arizona where he now leads backpacking and river trips throughout Grand Canyon and the Southwest. Thrilled to be guiding for the Wildland Trekking Company, Steve is looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you the Canyon that he knows and loves.

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  Bob Kraus, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Hiking Tour Guide
We joke that when Bob Kraus started hiking in the Grand Canyon it was only a couple hundred feet deep. As a 30-year veteran hiker of the Grand Canyon and other areas of the Southwest, Bob offers a rare wealth of knowledge and experience to his guests. He's a "Canyon Country Guru" that Wildland Trekking is privileged to have as part of its staff. Bob is also a fly-fishing fanatic and Rocky Mountain expert, and escapes to the north in the summer season to lead backcountry Yellowstone tours and fly-fish between trips. Bob's guests are regularly charmed by his welcoming personality and astonished by his extensive knowledge of natural and cultural history, and we know you will be too!

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  Elaine Meier, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Elaine Maier was raised in Arizona and has spent much of her time hiking and backpacking the Southwest. For over 20 years she has hiked extensively in the Grand Canyon. Elaine has been professionally guiding at the Grand Canyon for 8 years, spending 100-plus days on the trail each year. She also works as an instructor for the Grand Canyon Field Institute and now makes her home as a Grand Canyon resident year-round. She has also taught backpacking and hiking classes for several Parks and Recreation Departments in the Phoenix Area.

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  Jacqui Mandell, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Jacqui Mandell discovered the Grand Canyon at an early age on a family vacation, and it has inspired and guided her life ever since. She went on her first Grand Canyon backpacking trip as a student at Arizona State University, where she earned a BA in Geography. That first trip triggered a passion for backpacking that she immediately felt compelled to share with others. She has now been backpacking in the Grand Canyon for more than 13 years as well as learning about its cultural history, flora, fauna, and geology. She has also explored wild parts of Southern Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii, and has made it a lifelong goal to share her passion for hiking and backpacking with others. She spent more than a decade in customer service/sales before being inspired to join the Wildland Trekking team in 2012. Jacqui is a certified Wilderness First Responder and currently resides in Phoenix. When not guiding, she is busy raising her two young children and hiking with them every chance she gets!

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  Ian McBride, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Ian McBride grew up on the Front Range of Colorado with the Rocky Mountains as his backyard and playground. After earning his degree at Boston College, Ian decided it was time to return to the West and begin pursuing a life in the outdoors. Backcountry skiing and hiking in Lake Tahoe led Ian to take a course in mountaineering with the National Outdoor Leadership School where he has now been an instructor for 5 years. Ian once again calls Denver home and relishes the time he gets to "work" in the Grand Canyon and the mountains of Wyoming.

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  Leah McCabe, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Born and raised in Flagstaff, Leah McCabe has always found adventure and solace in the arms of the outdoors. She has also lived in Northern California for several years, helping run her family's white water rafting company. It was in 2006 on a hiking trip to Havasupai that she fell in-love with hiking the Grand Canyon and rafting Colorado river. Drawn back to the Colorado Plateau by these new passions, she began to explore all of the wonders of the Grand canyon really for the first time. She also fell in love with the geology and anthropology of the Canyon and became eager to share this magical place with everyone possible. Leah Now works as a back country hiking and backpacking guide for The Wildland Trekking Company and as a Grand Canyon river guide for Canyoneers River Company. She also works seasonally as a hiking guide in Utah and Arizona for young students with Grand Classroom and as a Sedona mountain bike guide for 360 Adventures. Last but in no way least, Leah is a mother of 2 amazing girls who are just adventurous as she is!

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  Elaine Meier, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Tess McDaniel moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2002, from her home town of Boulder, Colorado. In 2005, she participated in Northern Arizona University’s “Grand Canyon Semester”, a study abroad style program focused on Grand Canyon. After 5 months of rafting, hiking, backpacking, exploring, and researching the cultural, historic, and natural history of the Canyon, she was absolutely hooked. Since then she has worked as a hiking and backpacking guide and food packer for a Grand Canyon whitewater outfitter. When not working, she takes most of her personal vacations backpacking in the Canyon Country of the Southwest. Tess received her Bachelor's of Science in Geology from Northern Arizona University in 2009 and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

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  Elaine Meier, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Charlie Mikulewicz is an Arizona native and has been hiking and exploring the southwest his whole life. He can still recall his first Grand Canyon experience: a full moon hike down the North Kaibab Trail in 1973. It was on that hike he discovered his "home away from home" and has been exploring The Canyon ever since. He’s hiked almost every rim to river trail from Marble Canyon down to the South Bass Trails as well as connected most of those routes on loop hikes. Charlie moved to Flagstaff in 1976 to go to school and stayed in Flagstaff having a long, fruitful career as an engineer. Living so close the Grand Canyon made it easy to keep exploring and hiking on weekends as well as extended trips. Even though he was ready to retire from engineering in 2012 he sure wasn’t ready to quit working; he just wanted it to be something fun and rewarding. Making use of his knowledge of The Canyon and love of hiking, guiding for Wildland Trekking has been the perfect fit!

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  Thad Miller, Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Thad Miller has been exploring wild places since his first "self guided hike" of the neighborhood at age 2, much to his mother's displeasure. He grew up in Georgia but has lived in the Four Corner's Region for over a decade. He has guided a variety of adventures from hiking and backpacking to mountaineering in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusettes, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Alaska. He has spent the last 12 years ardently exploring the wild country of the Southwest both professionally and personally. When not guiding, he works as a paramedic and flight medic in Southern Colorado, which is where he calls home. Thad is an extremely thorough and knowledgeable guide, and is dedicated to making the trips he leads true peak experiences for his guests.

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  Scott Moore, Yellowstone Backpacking Guide
Scott Moore is one of our core Yellowstone guides. He lives in Missoula, Montana and has been an outdoor leader for more than seven years. From the hills of Romania to the peaks of Montana and Wyoming, there is nothing he enjoys more than backpacking and hiking new, beautiful places with others. To mention just a few highlights, he has taught leadership for Outward Bound in Costa Rica, instructed at Outdoor Education centers, and rode the high seas on an EPA environmental survey ship. Reliable, friendly, and knowledgeable, Scott is a huge asset to the Wildland Trekking team.

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  Merik Morgan, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Backpacking Guide
Merik Morgan is relatively new to Wildland Trekking - he joined us in early 2012 - but he is no stranger to the outdoors and the world of adventure. He has been hiking, backpacking and skiing the mountains and canyons of the west for more than 30 years. He guides Yellowstone backpacking trips for us in the summer, and Grand Canyon trips in the Spring and Fall. In the winter he is a ski patroller and the Avalanche Control Director at Moonlight Basin Ski Area in Big Sky, Montana. A man of great experience, light hearteded humor, and incredible knowledge, Merik is a wonderful addition to the Wildland Trekking team!

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  Russ Nordstrand, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Hiking Guide
Photographer / Guide
Russ Nordstrand studied Outdoor Recreation at Western State College of Colorado after moving from his home town of Seattle in search of some sun. He has spent the last decade exploring and guiding hiking trips on the Colorado Plateau and beyond including the mountains and canyons of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, California and Arizona. Russ feels truly at home in the wilderness and loves to share his passion for the outdoors with people from all over the world! Besides leading hiking and backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon and our other destinations, Russ loves to surf and backcountry snowboard depending on the season! He is also a professional nature and adventure photographer, and is our Company Photographer. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

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  PJ O'Malley, hiking and backpacking tour guide
PJ O'Malley is originally a cheesehead from western Wisconsin. His love of the outdoors began with fishing the many lakes and rivers of that region, including the mighty Mississippi River. After moving to AZ in 1989, and taking his first hike in the Grand Canyon, he began his life of being a "desert rat". Since then he has spent his days exploring, rafting, and photographing the many beautiful landscapes that Arizona has to offer. He has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the flora, fauna, and the human and geological histories of the areas he's explored, which is sure to provide a deeper appreciation of the area you explore with him. As an avid photographer he's always got an eye out for the next great shot and as he puts it, "the Grand Canyon is one giant photo opportunity. "

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  Ashley Ravestein, Backpacking Guide
Ashley Ravestein grew up in the forests of Ohio and became captured by the West at age thirteen during her first backpacking trip to Montana. Spurred on by a high school teacher, she studied natural sciences at the University of Illinois while earning dual degrees in geology and philosophy. Working from a solid foundation of outdoor and leadership skills learned from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and personal trips Ashley is equally at home in the desert and the mountains. She splits her time working as a field instructor for NOLS and leading trips in the Grand Canyon for Wildland Trekking, and eagerly shares her enthusiasm for the outdoors with anyone willing to go on an adventure with her.

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  Kopavi Rubens, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Kopavi Rubens took his first backpacking trip at age 6 with his father in the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado. He has been wandering into the wilderness ever since. He has hiked thousands of miles in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierras, the Trinity Alps, the coastal mountains of Northern California and Southern Oregon, and throughout the Utah Canyon Country. Kopavi moved to Flagstaff in 2005 and fell head-over-heels in love with (not in-to!) the Grand Canyon, where he has been guiding hiking and backpacking trips professionally ever since. When not in the Canyon, Kopavi loves to rock climb and ski, he has taught both, as well as worked as a ski-patroller and ski-racing coach. Recently, he moved to Albuquerque with his wife, and is spending all his free time learning the New Mexico backcountry.

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  Zoe Scanlon, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Long before Zoë Scanlon was born, generations of her family had been paving the way for her to be an adventurer by exploring rare sections of Glen Canyon, and by illegally rafting the Colorado River on homemade boats. She did her first river trip before she could walk, and started working in the Grand Canyon as a teenager. In 2010 she graduated from Prescott College (with a Bachelor of Arts in Adventure Education), where she continues to lead three-week backpacking orientations for incoming students each year. She is a Wilderness First Responder and has been trained in a variety of rescue techniques. She recently returned from Australia where she lived and worked for a year as a senior instructor with Outward Bound. Her passions include painting, dancing, natural history, and exploring and sharing the infinite hidden jewels the Grand Canyon has to offer.

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  Steve Scott, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Drew Schlachter is passionate about the outdoors and backpacking, and has been involved in outdoor education programs for over 15 years. He has been fortunate to lead groups of all backgrounds across the United States, including the 4 Corners states, Yellowstone, California, Oregon, and Alaska. Fun professional experiences include student travel programs, recreational therapy, ropes courses, wilderness therapy programs, location scout/film projects, National Forest Service internships, and managing tutoring programs across the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau have been his focus and main inspiration for his guiding, and he loves to share his knowledge of the region. Believing in the transformative power of travel and outdoor experiences keeps Drew always excited for the next trip! Drew lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, just down the road from Grand Canyon.

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  Peter Scott, Yosemite Program Director
Yosemite Director / Guide
Peter Scott, a thirteen year resident of California’s Sierra Nevada, is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. He has been in love with backpacking since a teenage trip to Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Since that trip, he has backpacked thousands of miles throughout the American West and Alaska. He recently won Backpacker Magazine’s 2011 mapping contest by hiking, mapping and chronicling 460 miles of trail, primarily in the Sierra Nevada. Peter, a graduate of Brown University, is also a writer and accomplished photographer. He authored the book, Best Backpacking Trips and Trails of Yosemite and the Central Sierra: Volume 1 and has written over 80 articles on the cultural and natural history of the Sierra Nevada and the West. When not leading trips into the wilderness, he road and mountain bikes throughout the beautiful foothills of the Sierras and helps his wife, Annie, raise two young daughters.

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  Steve Scott, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Steve Scott has been living in Flagstaff and hiking and backpacking the Colorado Plateau for more than 30 years. He raised his 4 sons as Grand Canyon backpackers, and he's been involved with the Grand Canyon Search and Rescue as a volunteer ranger for more than 10 years. He hiked nearly every established and semi-established backpacking route in the Canyon and participated in more than 20 search and rescues before starting his guiding career. Due to his experience, Steve's stories and knowledge of the Canyon are fascinating. Steve is a true veteran of the Canyon and a kind, caring and competent guide.

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  Jake Slade, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Jake Slade grew up going on family camping trips on the beautiful Pacific Northwestern beaches of Oregon. After High School he picked up and moved from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine to begin his career as an environmental educator for the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Later, after graduating from Northern Arizona University with B.S. in Global and Environmental Change, he began his personal exploration of the wilds that exist in the Desert Southwest and Grand Canyon. His first rafting trip in the Canyon effectively ended his "indoor" classroom teaching career and he began guiding and educating visitors in the Southwestern United States and Grand Canyon. He currently lives in Flagstaff, AZ but feels more at home on the banks of the Colorado River.

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  Zack Summit, Grand Canyon Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Zack Summit grew up in New England, hiking and backpacking with his family. After spending several summers in Colorado Zack moved out west and fell in love with the Grand Canyon and the high desert country. Zack has canyoneered, hiked, and climbed across the Western United States as well as Europe, Alaska, Northwestern Canada, and Patagonia. He graduated from Prescott College in 2010 with a B.A. Degree in Environmental Studies and has been guiding in Arizona, Colorado, and Alaska ever since. Zack is a certified Wilderness First Responder as well as an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor. When he's not guiding, you can find him cooking, climbing, or packing in some much needed calories with good friends.

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  Chris Updike, Grand Canyon and Yosemite Guide
Chris Updike grew up in Cincinnati Ohio and in the late 1990’s followed his love of the outdoors west to attend Northern Arizona University. During and after school he worked for the University’s School of Forestry and Center for Sustainable Environments, involved in fieldwork around the southwest. Several years after school he meet his wife, Marissa and they joined the Peace Corps in Paraguay, South America. After volunteering they returned home to northern Arizona. Then “by accident I found guiding and I have been in love with my career ever since. Now starting my fifth year I cannot imagine my life any other way.” When Chris is not leading adventures across the western United States he is probably at home or outside with his young family. Chris joined the team at Wildland Trekking in 2012.

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  Slaton Watley, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Trip Coordinator / Guide
Slaton Whatley was introduced to hiking and backpacking by his mother at a young age. In college he attended a 90-day National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) semester course dedicated to backpacking, kayaking and mountaineering in Alaska. That was it for leading a "regular" life. He is fluent in Spanish and earned a Masters Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, meanwhile getting out hiking and climbing every chance he got. Slaton is a certified Wilderness First Responder and a guide at the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls. He absolutely loves guiding in the Canyon and his enthusiasm rubs off, making him a truly fun guide to hike with.

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  Kristen Widmark, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Trip Coordinator / Guide
Kristen Widmark has more than a decade of extensive personal and professional hiking, backpacking, and rafting experience in the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest. Originally from Phoenix, she has a Masters Degree in Counseling and enjoyed a career as a high school counselor for several years in Flagstaff. She guides hiking and backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon when not helping guests find and prepare for their trips. She also holds the position of Educational Outreach Coordinator for the Arizona Trail Association, where her job is to inspire youth to become stewards of the land and the environment. Kristen is a very warm, personable and conscientious person, and is a wonderful contribution to the Wildland Trekking team.

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  Michael Wichman, Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide
Michael Wichman's first trip below the rim in Grand Canyon was in October 2004 and he hasn’t looked back since. He's passionate about the Southwest, and especially Grand Canyon, with a love of hiking, climbing, and paddling on and below its rims. He's dedicated to lifelong learning: an avid reader of all things associated with Grand Canyon, his favorite topics are geology, canyon inhabitants, and river stories. He also loves meeting new people -- of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and origins. He finds shared group experiences extremely enriching especially when that experience is in nature. Michael earned a B.A. in psychology from UCLA, where he worked with children with Autism. He also studied at Northern Arizona University, focusing on Environmental Science & Policy in the Southwest. Michael looks forward to the opportunity to share an adventure with you!

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  Alex Wood, Grand Canyon Hiking Guide
Alex Wood grew up in Southern California and found his passion for the outdoors through Boy Scouts, later becoming an Eagle Scout. When it came time to choose a college, he selected Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff for its location. During his time at NAU, Alex studied Geology and worked for NAU Outdoors for four years of school while picking up the knack for guiding along the way. Alex has traveled much of the Western US to hike, climb, ski and bike. Not wanting to do just one hobby, Alex's is a "jack of all trades" and is constantly looking for new adventures in beautiful locations. He has formed a deep connection with the Southwest and enjoys all aspects of its history. His goal is to help spread "the stoke" of the outdoors to as many people as possible and to help them learn about the area they're in along the way.

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