Our guides are more than guides; they're our most important asset. Our staff is trained under the most extensive program of any company we know. They begin sharing their knowledge with each other weeks before our first guests arrive. They love what they do and return to work with us year after year. They are specialists in Alaska's natural history, they are great people to travel with and to get to know, and they'll inspire you with their enthusiasm. They'll guide your way to great adventuring.
Though not all of our guide staff is listed here, these are certainly representative of the excellent staff you'll find on all of our trips.
Leigh Lubin, originally transplanted from Los Angeles, comes to us from alongside the Richardson Highway near Valdez, Alaska. She has been a guide and educator since 1995 and has lived in Alaska full-time since 2003. Leigh received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Alternative Education from Prescott College in 2000, and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2006. Leigh thrives in wilderness and has guided backpacking, sea kayaking, ice travel and natural history trips, in addition to teaching guiding skills, science, Spanish and yoga. Leigh loves helping people sink into their surroundings and expand their own understanding, comfort and skills.
Leigh’s favorite Alaskan memory is her first bush flight within her first 48 hours in Alaska: it was her first view of the enormous landscape. The flight put the wildness of Alaska into perspective. This wildness is what keeps Leigh in Alaska through the long winters and the never-ending light of summer.
Johnny Hughes was raised in suburban Pennsylvania where he spent much of his free time around water, trees and amazing vegetables. His interest in the outdoors was nurtured by his family camping trips and his parents' willingness to let himself, along with his friends, brothers and sisters, go explore as much as possible outdoors without adult supervision. After graduating from Thaddeus Stevens State School of Technology in 1988, he started his own construction company in 1992. He, along with his wife, spent much of their free time exploring the Susquehanna River, the mountains of North America and whitewater kayaking their favorite rivers on the east coast.
While visiting friends in Alaska in the summer in 2008, Johnny fell in love with the state and the endless outdoor opportunities it presented. He quickly came to the realization that the pull of nature was too great and that the life he was living in Pennsylvania was no longer sustainable. In 2010 Johnny sold his business, packed his life up in a pickup truck and a 20’ camper, and he and his wife moved to Alaska.
Since his move, Johnny has worked as a sea kayaking guide, a hiking guide, a rafting guide and a campground manager. Johnny looks forward to showing guests all of the amazing things that made him fall in love with Alaska!
Born and raised in Miami, Alex's interest in the natural world began in the Everglades and Florida Keys. He attended the University of West Florida, where he received a degree in Environmental Science and has since pursued a variety of field work with nonprofits and environmental consultants. This work has taken him to California, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and the Florida Keys. In addition to field work, he has guided in the Amazon of Brazil and recently started a small guiding operation with friends in Nevada.
Alex's work background outside of Alaska is heavily focused on bird and reptile ecology (although he doesn't expect to see many reptiles with you in Alaska!). Among his interests are birding, traveling internationally, NBA basketball, salsa dancing and rock climbing. He has returned to Alaska for his third summer guiding with us and promises a high five to anyone who can help find him his first wolverine.
Chennery grew up in Littleton, Colorado and that is where her love of the outdoors was first cultivated. She received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Though city life was great, the mountains were calling. She moved to Alaska for the first time in 2013 to work in Juneau. She guided hiking and whale watching tours in the area surrounding our capital city. Through her Alaska experiences, Chennery has gained certification as an Alaska Tour Guide Naturalist Interpreter and Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leader.
For the past couple of years Chennery has explored Antarctica, New Zealand, South America and many US National Parks, but continues to be pulled back to Alaska. Last summer, she worked for Alaska Wildland Adventures as a kayak guide at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. She cannot wait to share her passion for Alaska with all of you this summer! She is also thrilled to share her favorite Alaskan wildlife with you: the black bear and the killer whale!
Julie grew up in Arizona and has wanted to live in Alaska since she was three! That was when her uncle took her on her first fishing trip and told her the big fish lived in Alaska. Her first summer in Alaska was thirteen years ago when she was awarded a memorial scholarship from the Yosemite Institute and paddled 480 miles of the Inside Passage of Alaska with a friend. Julie says she had only been in Alaska waters for minutes when she awoke on the ferry at 1:00 am and wrote in her journal that her head and heart were finally in the same place.
Julie currently makes her home in Eagle River, Alaska and loves all that this great state has to offer. From fishing and clamming in the summer to hunting, snowshoeing, snow machining and ice fishing in the winter, she feels she is where she was destined to be. Before moving to Alaska, Julie spent five years teaching environmental education throughout the lower 48 and leading outdoor leadership programs for teens. Since moving to Alaska she has worked in Special Education and just recently finished her teaching credential. Now she teaches at one of the most diverse elementary schools in Alaska. For the past five years her students have been involved in the “Salmon in the School Program,” working in partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to raise and study silver salmon. This is Julie’s 12th summer with Alaska Wildland Adventures and she says she has the best summer job in the world: “I get to show people the magic that brought me to Alaska. Every day I live the dream.”
After receiving a B.A. in Art with an emphasis in photography from San Jose State University in 1993, Wayde fled to Alaska to hone his photographic skills. He spent a year documenting the lives of the Yup'ik people in the village of Eek, then two years assisting some of Anchorage's top photographers such as Clark James Mishler and Tom Bol whenever he had time to join them. He returned to California in 1998 to assist award-winning photographer Keith Sutter in Auburn, CA. He also worked for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley, CA for two and a half years shooting assignments and advertising images.
In 2004, he made the leap and started a full time career in photography and in the summer of 2006 returned to Alaska (a place he just can't get enough of). Wayde's been regularly published in numerous regional and national magazines, books, calendars, and maps including: National Geographic Maps, Alaska Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, Sonoma Magazine, California Tour and Travel, Sierra Heritage, Sierra Alive, Sierra Outdoor Recreation, The Sacramento Bee, The Milepost, and numerous county visitor's guides. In 2006, he was fortunate enough to spend much of the year photographing for Placer Grown, a non-profit organization formed to assist farmers and ranchers, in Placer County California; his photography assisted with their marketing produce and farm product efforts. One image ended up hanging in the State Capitol Building in Sacramento. You can view more of Wayde's photography on his website.