Save 10% During Our Leap of Courage Flash Sale

Peep the New 2024 Trips!

Meet the Dream Team

Coming on strong is our jam. You’re about the only thing we’re super serious about around here. And it’s written in our guiding principles to treat you with endless love and respect like we’ve been bffs since second grade. Should we write our initials in the sand now, or?

Our mantra: Give ‘em what they never dreamed possible.

 

Everything we do, from planning the itinerary to sneaking in pop-up surprises to hyping you on social media, is designed to help you feel deliciously powerful. So you can’t help but find your edge.

A good guide is as life-changing as a good boss or teacher. Beyond survival skills, you want to follow excellent humans who don’t play favorites or hog all the air time.

We’ve got your people on speed dial.

Our Team’s Secret Sauce:

  • Professional, certified women––can respond in the Wilderness and slo-mo dance to Pony
  • Passionate and educational with all the juicy ghost stories
  • Majorly empathetic, you can share any special needs in confidence
  • Expertly resourceful with a magic belt of tampons, crampons, and s’mores trail mix
  • Gold-star sneaksters of the best birthday treats and campfire cocktails
  • Mediocre trail singers, but with lots of heart.

 

Come say hi to the women who will walk the ends of the earth with you.

1 Amanda Gerwing

Amanda is an Explorer Chick Guide who has spent most of her life in the outdoors. She is an accomplished long-distance hiker and bike-packer. Amanda attended Appalachian State for Elementary Education and Sustainable Development. It was there that she fell in love with the lush green forests and abundance of water in the Appalachian mountains. She began exploring the area through backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and floating down rivers in tubes. Since then, she has lived in her van traveling and guiding around the country. She has led backpacking trips in Colorado, California, Utah, and North Carolina.  Her love for the Appalachian woods pulled her back across the country to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2021. This sparked a passion for long-distance travel and influenced a cross-country bike trip from Canada to Mexico the following summer. She is now back in the Appalachian mountains in Boone, NC. Between guiding Amanda enjoys working with her hands on a flower and vegetable farm. In her leisure time, you can find Amanda playing in the mountains or working on a sewing project to wind down. 

2 Amy Anslinger

Amy is an Explorer Chick Guide who has been exploring the wilderness for over 30 years.  Her passion for the outdoors was sparked by an Outward Bound (OB) Course in Maine that set her on a path of adventure. She then completed another OB course in Utah and a semester NOLS course in Alaska before earning a degree in Natural History and Outdoor Education from Northland College along the shore of Lake Superior. Some of Amy‘s personal highlights include thru-hiking the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, being the first woman to thru-hike the 1,300-mile Buckeye Trail around Ohio, and backpacking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon fourteen times.

Since her early foundation in the outdoors, Amy has lived around the country leading and inspiring others in some of the nation’s most adventurous destinations including western North Carolina, California, New England, Maryland, and Glacier National Park Montana. Amy led the Wright State University Outdoor Recreation Program in Dayton, Ohio for eleven years where she developed the trip program that included training student trip leaders and leading trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, backpacking the Wind River Range, Vegas multi-sport adventure, backpacking and trail work on the Appalachian Trail, sea kayaking the Ten Thousand Islands of Everglades National Park, and many more.

Since 2008, her personal adventures have typically included her now teenage daughters and husband. They have traveled to 49 states and dozens of National Parks including paddling trips to the Rio Grande and Boundary Waters, hiking to the top of Mount Katahdin, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and sharing their backcountry campsites in Glacier N.P. with moose and bear.  When she is not guiding, Amy is the Wellness Coordinator for a Montessori School where she leads yoga, gardening, and wellness programs for grades pre-k-12.  She lives on a small farm south of Dayton, Ohio with her family, a flock of chickens, and two horses.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Red River Gorge Backpacking in Kentucky

3 Amy Mixell

Amy is the Senior Destination Manager for Explorer Chick. With her knack for organization, detail, and customer service she is the point-woman for communicating with you, your guides, and our partners. If you have a questions about a trip, Amy is your gal! She calls Cincinnati home and loves to explore with her husband, three young daughters, and their rescue pup, Archie. She’s a literacy tutor, a starter of many craft projects, a reluctant home cook, an animal lover, and a bookworm. Amy loves hiking, camping, yoga, thrift stores, and daydreaming. Helping to empower women through adventure and seeing the bond made during them is her favorite thing about working for Explorer Chick.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Iceland

Instagram

4 Ashley Butler

Ashley is an Explorer Chick Guide who found her strength in the mountains. Lead by curiosity and two willing legs she left her very small Ohio town to first explore Red River Gorge, KY. Solo backpacking in the Gorge was her introduction to the wilderness. Not only did she build up her hiker muscles, through backpacking she developed her confidence as an outdoorswoman which led her to explore National Parks across the country. Some of Ashley’s favorite places to adventure are the Smokie Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and her all-time favorite region is the Pacific North West. She has training in Wilderness First Aid.

Ashley’s most memorable adventures include scrambling glaciers in Alaska and solo climbing Mt. Si in Washington. When she’s not scrambling mountain tops, she enjoys the adrenaline of rock climbing, skydiving, rafting, kayaking, parasailing, canyoning, horseback riding, and caving.

Ashley is also a professional oil painter with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Her work is inspired by all the beautiful places she explores. Having always been in predominantly female workplaces, Ashley is on a mission to help women see their true power and feel supported by their community no matter how difficult the journey.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: San Juan Islands in Washington

5 Ashley Delehunt

Ashley is the Guide Manager for Explorer Chick. She has been a guide in wilderness therapy and travel abroad programs and has accumulated over 1,000 professional field days as a guide. Needless to say, she’s got an eye for what it takes to be a successful guide. Ashley has a BA in Adventure Education from Fort Lewis College. She has been a certified Wilderness First Responder since 2010, and a yoga instructor since 2013. Some of her favorite adventures include rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, backpacking the Colorado Trail, and mountain biking the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands, UT.

Ashley is a mom to a cutie-pie son and a lover of outdoor adventures. When she’s not coordinating our guide logistics, Ashley is out enjoying her beautiful backyard of Durango, Colorado. Her perfect day is spent cruising down the river in a raft and ending the night curled up in her sleeping bag under the stars!

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Jordan and Petra

6 Christina Bruno

Christina is an Explorer Chick Guide who loves reconnecting with herself in remote wilderness, deserts, mountains, rivers, and different cultures. Being a professional snowboarder, Christina has traveled all over the United States, Canada, and New Zealand challenging herself through freeride competitions and chasing snow. Christina did 6 years of back-to-back winters, sharing her time between Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Queenstown, New Zealand where she managed a snowsports school. In addition to living in New Zealand, Christina spent a summer backpacking through Costa Rica, coached at the last Paralympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, spent two months climbing in Nepal summitting Peaks
over 21,000 feet. Christina has a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Leadership and an Outdoor Industry
MBA, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Christina has led multi-sport trips for teenagers in the past, been a mountain bike patroller, rafting
guide, skiing, and snowboard instructor, and specializes in outdoor recreation for people with disabilities. Christina grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and frequented Moab and the surrounding National and State Parks as a child. She found a deep love for the contrast of resilient desert beauty to the lush mountain environment. She currently lives near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and works as a professional ski and snowboard instructor and PSIA-AASI National Team member representing brands such as The North Face, Burton, Phunkshun Wear, Terramar, Lorpen, Honey Stinger, Atomic, Hestra, as an athlete and ambassador. When she is not on snow you can find her adventuring with her two dogs, gardening, baking, and getting lost in a good book.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Machu Picchu Peru Multisport

Instagram
Courtney Stephenson hiking the W trek in Patagonia. She's smiling at the camera wearing an orange backpacking pack and holding trekking poles

7 Courtney Stephenson

As our Website Content Manager, Courtney oversees all of the Explorer Chick content, from adding and updating trip pages to overseeing all of our blog posts.

Originally from Indiana, Courtney didn’t get into the outdoors until she moved to Las Vegas after college (yes, Vegas is more than just the strip ????). She spent her weekends exploring Red Rock Canyon and Mt. Charleston locally, and often did extended trips to Joshua Tree, Zion, and Bryce Canyon where she really fell in love with the desert.

She quit her career as a retail buyer in 2019 and took off to Southeast Asia in hopes of traveling for a year or two… which was cut short in 2020. Unexpectedly back in the US and not wanting to return to Vegas or the retail industry, she bought a 1999 Ford Econoline van, quickly converted it into a camper, and took off on a “6 month trip” — which turned into 3.5 years of van life around the US and Mexico. She began writing about her travels for various blogs and started to lean into work that combined her analytical buyer brain with her creative writer brain — and her love of travel and the outdoors.

More than 4 years later, she’s still traveling nomadically around the world, working remotely and hiking and backpacking as much as possible along the way. Her favorite trails include the Lost Coast Trail in California, Sahale Glacier in Washington, and the W Trek in Chile.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Patagonia W Trek Hut To Hut

Connect On Instagram

8 Dannah Nilay

Dannah is an Office Admin taking care of all of our Explorer Chick with guest services, reservations, and assisting our Destination Managers. She calls the the Philippines home where she is currently finishing her post-graduate studies at the University of the Philippines in Business Management. She loves to chase the clouds and fill her soul with beautiful places. She has gone on several backpacking trips throughout her home country with her personal favorite being Sagada Mountain. Weekends spent playing soccer and running keep her in ready to chase the next mountain sunset or waterfall.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Iceland

9 Emily McDonald

Emily is the Digital Marketing Manager at Explorer Chick. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and communications and loves to help connect women to the outdoors through storytelling and media.

While her home base is now Portland, OR, Emily has been nomadic for the last five years, living in Yellowstone National Park, South Korea, and a Chevy Express van cruising around the western US. Some of her favorite adventures have been climbing Mt Fuji in Japan, scuba diving in Indonesia, and hiking to watch an active volcano erupt in Guatemala. Emily loves cooking meals for friends, trying local brews in every new city she explores, and booking last-minute spontaneous flights to new countries.

While she loves traveling to new places, her favorite memories are always where she connects with new people and shares her experiences with others. So far, she’s checked off 33 states and 17 countries.

Instagram

10 Erin Halliwell

Erin is an Explorer Chick Guide who is always thinking about her next adventure. She is an avid traveler who loves to explore new places internationally and domestically both solo and with friends. She has visited nearly 30 countries and lists South America as being a favorite destination. One of her most epic adventures was a progressive horseback pack trip in the Yukon region of Canada.

She is originally from the Northeast but has lived in several states and currently resides in Lexington, Kentucky where she can often be found hiking throughout the Red River Gorge. When not guiding, Erin works for a nonprofit that works to help Thoroughbred racehorses transition from the race track into second careers. When not adventuring, Erin enjoys working out, visiting with friends, and being a cat mom to two elderly but spry felines.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Jordan and Petra

Instagram

11 Hannah Davis

Hannah is an Explorer Chick guide who understands the value of spending time outdoors, and the power of doing it with all ladies! Originally from North Carolina, Hannah studied Outdoor Education and Leadership at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. While in school she worked for a local non-profit that provided outdoor, service, and leadership trips for local high-school students at no cost to them. Working here showed her the importance of making the outdoors inclusive to everyone, and the power of spending time recreating outdoors on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Since graduating, Hannah has worked summers leading extended outdoor programs for in North Carolina, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. Her winters were spent ski instructing in Colorado. Hannah is also an artist, owning her own business and capturing her adventures through abstract fine-line landscape drawings. Hannah is a Wilderness First Responder, holds two ski instructing certifications, and is pursuing certifications in avalanche safety.

She is a seeker of adventure and new experiences, Hannah has a passion for travel – spending time in the Belizian jungle, living in Christchurch New Zealand, exploring the streets of Taiwan, and visiting almost every state. Her favorite challenge is planning her next adventure while also enjoying the present moment. There’s nothing that makes her feel more jazzed than having meaningful conversations with others, especially around a campfire under a sky full of stars. When not working, you can find her in her home of Grand Junction, Colorado exploring the desert via mountain bike, drinking good coffee with great friends, trail running through canyons, and always on the hunt for the next dance party.

12 Janie Allen

Janie is an Explorer Chick Guide who loves to explore the Red River Gorge! She grew up in Cincinnati, OH where she spent her childhood hiking, camping, canoeing, and playing in creeks. She decided to follow her heart and ended up at Appalachian State University where she studied Recreation Management and Outdoor Experiential Education and fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Since 2013 Janie has been an outdoor educator, spending her summers as a raft guide on New River Gorge and taking other students on backpacking and canoeing trips in the mountains of NC. After graduating she spent her time moving around the country teaching environmental education in Minnesota and Maine, being a ski lift operator in Utah, and farming in Washington. Now back in Cincinnati, she loves to float on her ridiculous inflatable raft down the Little Miami River, ski at her home slopes of Perfect North, and play in the Red River Gorge. Janie works as a flower and vegetable farmer and when she’s not harvesting arugula or making bouquets, she loves to make wooden earrings, sing, go out dancing, and plan mini-weekend adventures!

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Banff National Park in Winter

Instagram

13 Jayme Vance

Jayme is an Explorer Chick Guide who is passionate about getting people outdoors and firmly believes we can all always benefit from more time spent in nature! Her love for the outdoor community and lifestyle started during summers in college doing trail work for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Her pursuit for outdoor adventures grew, leading her to guide for a wilderness therapy program in Durango, Colorado, and complete thru-hikes of the Te Araroa Trail (2016) in New Zealand and the Colorado Trail (2018). She has spent close to 500 days in the backcountry and counting!

When not in the backcountry, Jayme works as a licensed occupational therapist (OT). As an OT, she is passionate about empowering people to create meaning in their personal lives and redefining “dis”abilities. Jayme is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT). She additionally combines her love of the outdoors and contemplative practices as an instructor of the Nature and Mindfulness course at the University of Virginia. In her free time, Jayme can be found rolling around on her mountain bike, climbing up rock walls, paddling reasonable rapids on her kayak, trail running alongside her pup Tofu, or simply sitting still and finding solace in nature. She resides in Virginia where she enjoys mild winters, long growing seasons, and time with her lifelong adventure buddy and husband.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Hiking the Triple Crown in Virginia

14 Jeannie Panchal

Jeannie is an Explorer Chick Guide who considers herself a nomad, having lived in four countries and 11 states. Currently residing in Anchorage, AK after a sporadic decision to move from Portland, OR during a pandemic. She follows her heart fiercely and quit a career in pharmaceutical sales to travel the world for six months… which accidentally became three years. After returning stateside she decided to spend a summer as a guide before returning to the grown-up world. It only took one trip to realize she found her calling and has been hooked for the past 10 years.

While traveling is her biggest hobby it’s sharing the experiences with amazing people that keep her coming back for more. She has a strong passion for experiential travel and learning about the local culture and been lucky enough to travel to over 60 countries. All things outdoors are appealing to her, but she has a special place in her heart for hiking, running and yoga. In general, she is willing to try anything once and will get into almost any water no matter how cold! She loves learning about different types of food from her travels and spends a tremendous amount of time experimenting with both front country and back country cuisine. Although she’s absolutely certain she could survive on a diet of cheese, chocolate, ice cream and wine!

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Alaska

15 Jessica Urton

Jessica is an Explorer Chick Guide who stepped out on a journey to search for kindness, love, sharing, and peace in this world. We have news for you, she found it! She found it on trails, caves, under the water, and hanging from the edge of cliffs. Jessica’s message is to overcome fear, challenge yourself, be grateful, and always help others along their journey! 

In the summer Jessica is a camp host and volunteer at Caesar Creek State Park, in Southwestern Ohio. She leads group hikes, works on trail maintenance, and enjoys connecting with the amazing people she meets. Jessica is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, leading many retreats with an emphasis on mindfulness. She is also an Ohio-certified volunteer naturalist (OCVN) with education on how to interpret our local environment and share that knowledge with everyone. She is certified in WFA and open-water SCUBA.  

When not leading Explorer Chicks on incredible journeys, you can find Jessica trail running, kayaking, and exploring caves with her three amazing daughters. Jessica is passionate about taking the knowledge she gains from her own personal quest to continually learn and share with everyone. This is the key to the preservation of our beautiful world. 

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah

16 Jody Miller

Jody is an Explorer Chick Guide whose passion for outdoor adventures came later in life. After raising her two sons, Jody set off to seek her own adventures. She spent two weeks walking the Camino de Santiago with her father. From there she spent 2 weeks immersed in the backcountry of Alaska on a NOLS course, learning the ins and outs of outdoor living skills. Jody is certified in Wilderness First Aid and is continuing her outdoor education through a Wilderness Survival Master Class. Jody gets fired up about teaching survival skills, tying knots, backcountry navigation, cooking, and so on. Her adventurous spirit has taken her to hike in the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, and Zion National Parks.  

Jody enjoys backpacking as a means to deeply connect with nature and all it has to offer. Her favorite backpacking trail is in the Smokie Mountains along Gabe’s mountain trail. This is where she fell in love with beautiful fungi and fern-covered forest floors. When Jody is not on the trail with Explorer Chick, she is kayaking, fishing, or spending time creating in her garden. She looks forward to connecting with like-minded women to inspire them to get outside and enjoy the simplicity and challenges that nature provides. 

17 Kara O’Dea

Kara is an Explorer Chick Guide who loves to get out of her comfort zone! She calls Columbus, OH home and has hiked hundreds of miles in Ohio, but considers the Red River Gorge her happy place. She spends much of her time in KY hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, and backpacking. She discovered her love of the outdoors in college and continues to find new ways to push herself to connect with nature and others who love to be outside. Kara also loves to winter camp, enjoying the solitude and quiet that comes with camping in the snow. When Kara is not out exploring the local trails she is a passionate artist and art teacher and can be found floating in her kayak or burritoed into a blanket with her cat.

Instagram

18 Karen Kaylor

Karen is our Operations Manager. She works behind the scenes on your Explorer Chick Trips and Adventures. A long-time traveler with Explorer Chick, she has been interested in being more involved with the company from the start. She got hooked at West Virginia Wild 2017 and became an ambassador shortly thereafter. Aside from cheering on and supporting other women as an ambassador on our single day events, she also enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, fishing and virtually any activity that gets her outside. Especially if there will be a cold craft beer afterward.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Belize

Instagram

19 Kat Porter

Kat is an Explorer Chick Guide nicknamed the “energizer bunny”. An outdoorsy extrovert, Kat thrives on bringing energy and sharing adventures. Kat has worked as a part of the climbing industry for over a decade. As a competitive rock climbing coach, Kat has trained athletes at the national level. She also holds her AMGA SPI certification as a climbing guide so she can share her passion for climbing with people outdoors. Her favorite local spots to climb are the New River Gorge and Seneca Rocks, WV.

It was through climbing that she fell in love with the outdoors and learned to push the limits of what she thought was possible. Although climbing is her main passion, she loves anything involving challenge and movement – scuba diving, snowboarding, hiking, dancing, skateboarding, slacklining, caving, canyoneering, kayaking, yoga, and so much more. Kat’s superpower is to be able to sleep on planes and she is also a big nerd, so feel free to geek out with her. She looks forward to meeting you on a future adventure!

Instagram

20 Katie Klos

Katie Klos is an Explorer Chick Guide whose love for the outdoors started as a child in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Drawn to the simplicity the outdoors had to offer she became an Adventure Guide at the University of South Florida where she got certified as a Wilderness First Responder and led backpacking trips throughout the United States and abroad. After college she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, claiming that the 2,000-mile trek was more of a “spiritual journey” above all else. Exploring the outdoors has given Katie confidence, and a deep sense of connection to her body, peers, and the natural world around her. One of her goals is to help others experience all the gifts the outdoors has given her.

She currently resides in New Orleans working in the film industry, and on receiving her 200-Hour Yoga Instructor Certification. She enjoys spending her winters snowboarding with her family in Colorado, and is planning her next great adventure: Learning how to surf!

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Instagram

21 Kayla Lamb

Kayla is an Explorer Chick Guide with a passion for rock climbing and exploring the outdoors. She is a rock climbing coach, route setter, illustrator, and naturalist. She calls Birmingham, AL home, however, Kayla has been living her best van-life having traveled and lived in North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, and California over the past few years. Kayla has a BA in Art and Psychology and has 3 years as a wilderness therapy guide.

Kayla loves to travel and her latest adventure has been exploring the Arizona desert with her sister. When she is not rock climbing or hiking, she enjoys singing, painting, and cuddling her dog. She has found value in connecting people back to nature and looks forward to continuing this calling.

22 Kirstie Mullikin

Kirstie is an Explorer Chick Guide who loves scrambling up mountains and dancing on top of them. Hailing from May’s Lick, Kentucky, she’s a graduate of the University of Kentucky carrying a B.S. in Horticulture, Plant, and Soil Sciences. She developed her love for the outdoors and hiking by spending most of her free time exploring around Red River Gorge and finding humor in the unpredictable. In 2019 she hiked over 400 miles and hit her goal of summiting a mountain a month – from North Carolina to California and everywhere in between. Kirstie is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has led guide training in the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Her favorite place to hike right now is Rocky Mountain National Park, but she still makes plenty of time for her second love, the Smoky Mountains. Kirstie enjoys long hikes, organic wine, 90 Day Fiancè reruns, charcuterie boards, tattoos, summiting Southern Sixers, being the best cat mom to two precious nuggets, and making new friends!

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Patagonia Multisport

23 Lauren Beatty

Lauren joined Explorer Chick as a Guide in 2018, leading our backpacking trips in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Since then, she’s guided more than 300 Explorer Chicks on adventures in 12 states and 7 countries, hiking over 1500 SHE-nanigan filled miles with our bold sisterhood of women! Born, raised, and currently residing in Cincinnati Ohio, Lauren spends her free time finding quirky roadside Americana stops on road trips, camping in her 1983 Burro camper, spoiling the heck out of her two dogs and three cats, and pouring beers at a local brewery. Lauren graduated from Georgia State University with her bachelor’s in Anthropology and worked as an educator in museums, zoos, and aquariums before making the leap to guiding full-time. Lauren is certified in Wilderness First Aid & CPR and is a certified Instructor for Leave No Trace, the American Canoe Association (ACA) in River Kayak and Canoe, and USA Archery. She is also a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), an ACA Paddlesports Safety Facilitator, and an AIDA 1 Freediver.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Belize

Instagram

24 Mary Morton

Mary is an Explorer Chick Guide who prioritizes seeing a little more of the world every day. In her 18 years as a seasonal road-warrior nomad, she has hiked in all 50 states, lived in 10 (PA, MD, VA, ME, OR, NM, MT, CA, CO, and currently UT), and is well on her way to standing on 1,000 summits. She celebrated both her 30th and 40th birthdays at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and has thru-hiked the John Muir Trail and section-hiked the Continental Divide Trail. Internationally, she’s trodded the Inca Trail, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast Trail, and ski-toured to hot springs in Iceland. Two summers ago she began learning the ancient art of equine-supported backcountry travel with her handsome mule Zorro. Mary is a Wilderness First Responder, former ski patroller, and search and rescue volunteer. When she’s not hiking, riding, or skiing, Mary makes her living as a freelance science and travel writer, specializing in geology and adventure travel. She has published three books and over 1,000 magazine articles.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Utah National Parks Road Trip

Instagram
Nicki Bruckmann, CEO and Founder of Explorer Chick

25 Nicki Bruckmann

Nicki Bruckmann, a trailblazing entrepreneur and passionate adventurer, is the dynamic CEO and founder of Explorer Chick. Together with her Dream Team of almost 30 women, they are committed to changing the lives of women through adventure travel with a supportive community in the most beautiful places in the world.

With a vision to break down barriers and inspire confidence in women, Nicki has curated a diverse range of adventurous trips and activities, encouraging women to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the transformative power of exploration.

Nicki was born and raised in Cincinnati with a classic Midwestern, middle-class upbringing. She did all the “right” things as an adult – bought a house, got married, and had a promising corporate career. Yet somehow, she wasn’t happy or fulfilled. She was just going through the motions letting life happen to her.

Turns out she didn’t fit that mold very well, so she called it quits in 2014 with a divorce and set out to reinvent herself. Tapping back into her curious, explorer roots she launched Explorer Chick that same year with next to nothing but a crazy idea, blind ambition, grit, and sheer determination.

Without the walls and expectations, her passion for the outdoors and life was rekindled into a full-on love affair. She’s hiked in 48 states, highpointed 38 of them, explored 6 continents and over 20 countries. She’s a cyclist, kayaker, a bad mountain biker, hiker, climber, dabbler in bike packing and pack rafting, terrible surfer, sunset lover, novice photographer, and an annual National Park Pass carrier. She’s spent months at a time living the van life all over the US and western Canada, but now her second home is a small Class B RV named Ms. Fanny’s Rolling Palace that’s far more reliable.

Personal adventure highlights include cycling the Ohio to Erie trail, a 3 day canoe packing trip on the Suwannee, backpacking Half Dome and Grand Canyon with her team, trekking with gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, several epic climbs in the Moab area, climbing Middle Teton, a single day Presidential Traverse in NH, mountaineering course in Banff, and not letting a particular ice climbing pitch in NH defeat her.

When she is home in Cincinnati, you’ll find her cycling to local breweries, talking to her houseplants, and squeezing in as much time as possible with her family and friends.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Uganda Safari

The Story of Explorer Chick

26 Savannah Tuttle

Savannah is an Explorer Chick Guide with a passion for meditation on foot. In 2015 she became a long-distance hiker, walking from Key West to Maine on the Florida Trail and Appalachian Trail. This experience changed her life in many ways, instilling deep gratitude within her for the simple things in life. Since then she has accumulated over 11,000 miles of long-distance backpacking on trails all over the country. She has walked from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, from Phoenix to Albuquerque on the Grand Enchantment Trail, from Denver to Durango on the Colorado Trail, and from Glacier National Park to Cape Alava on the Pacific Northwest Trail. She has completed remote routes in the Arizona Wilderness as a solo long-distance backpacker, such as the Sky Islands Traverse, which encompasses 10 of southeast Arizona’s most prominent sky islands. Savannah is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Savannah is from a small town in North Carolina, and she misses the green summers there. Before her rebirth as a hiking guru, she lived in New York City, working as a bartender and traveling internationally as a young twenty-something to Spain, France, Italy, and Slovenia. She lived on Maui for a year, and learned to surf, badly! She loves the sound of a needle on wax, the feeling of a pencil on paper, and the smell of hot coffee in the morning. She currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, and spends most of her time in the Grand Canyon.

Favorite Explorer Chick Destination: Scotland

27 Steph Ray

Steph is an Explorer Chick Guide who deeply cares about getting people outside and exploring our connection to nature. She started guiding in 2010 leading kayak tours on Lake Superior, and from there she was hooked. Steph has guided international visitors on backpacking trips in the Southwest, instructed adaptive paddling programs, led SUP Yoga classes, and helped support a children’s program aimed at getting kiddos outside. Steph thoroughly enjoys guiding struggling students in their therapeutic wilderness journey, which has inspired her to become a Clinical Therapist and a Yoga Instructor. In her practice, she specializes in blending mental wellbeing with yoga, meditation, and the wilderness. She is trained as a Wilderness First Responder since 2013. Additionally, Steph is PADI Advanced Scuba and PADI Rescue Scuba certified. And a certified Kayak and SUP Yoga Instructor. If you can’t tell by now, Steph loves to be on the water!

In her free time, Steph can be found outside with her dog, Odie, or spending quality time with the ones she loves. She enjoys slow mornings with coffee and journaling, reading about mindfulness-based therapeutic modalities, painting, traveling, running, snorkeling, and cooking.