I believe in connecting people to the land through story. I grew up not too far from where the Legend of Sleepy Hollow took place, and learned to see my world in a more enchanted way. Guiding is a great way to continue digging up these stories; from Native American lore to mining secrets, the stories help our connection to something deeper.
Heathen Creek Outfitters is named after a creek on my family’s tree farm in upstate New York. That’s where I learned a lot, from catching fish to navigating unfamiliar terrain. As a young teen, mountain biking accidents kept putting me in the emergency room at the local hospital, so I joined the Junior Volunteer Ambulance corps, to learn more about emergency medicine.
During college, I spent a summer manning a fire tower. On a 20-day trek in Montana, the college group I was with encountered a forest fire, which led me to another internship to learn about forest fire management. Because of my emergency medicine experience with the volunteer ambulance corps, and subsequent coursework in wilderness emergency medicine, I was assigned to drive the 4x4 F-350 ambulance of that town. Who knew that driving a 4x4 ambulance could be so much fun?
When that internship ended, I wanted to try to incorporate my love of guiding and four-wheeling into a career that would allow for both activities. That desire, and a family connection, brought me to North Carolina, where I spent summers backpack guiding and exploring Appalachia, and winters working at a ski resort in the San Juans in Colorado.
Six years ago, I made the move to the Rockies. This is my sixth season guiding in the Rocky Mountains, and it never gets old. In order to deepen my own connection to the land, and to share that connection with others, I've become a certified Forest Therapy (Shinrin Yoku) guide, and am continuing to incorporate that more into my tours.
Thank you Jason Van Tatenhove for this article.
20 Days in the Bob Marshall Wilderness
This is from a Lodge Based trip from my time in the Smokies by Deb Stone
Thank you Kendall for mentioning eco-friendly options in Estes Park.
A guide spotlight from my time at Wildland
Thank you Daniel Sewell for this article.