Our Guides Set Us Apart
We believe that purposefully crafted tours provide more than just access to wild places – they have the power to change the way we look at the world. Our guides are at the heart of everything we do. They are passionate about facilitating meaningful outdoor experiences, and recognize that we won’t save our wild places until we fall in love with them. We conduct the longest training of any sea kayak operator in the state, a 3+ week intensive guide training for all staff (new & returning). By the time our guides are leading trips, they each hold:
- ACA Level 2 or higher skill assessment (sea kayaking skills & rescues)
- ACA Day Trip Leadership assessment (trip leading skills for sea kayakers)
- Wilderness First Responder Certification (wilderness medical skills)
- Leave-No-Trace Training
You’ll find that our tours incorporate an inspiring educational component, enhancing your experience of Seward with an understanding of its ecology, geology, and history. Many of our guides have completed higher education in the fields of Adventure Education, Environmental Science, and related areas. Not only that, they can also tell you where to find the best IPA on draught or where grab a bite to eat after your tour.
Hannah & Trent Lafleur
Hannah and Trent met, fell in love, and married in Seward and are endlessly grateful to call this little slice of Alaska home. Both spent many years guiding internationally from New Zealand to Uganda and consider Seward and the surrounding area one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Hannah grew up outside, exploring the hills, ponds, and dirt roads of rural New Hampshire. Her passion for the outdoors led her to Colby College in Maine, where she received a BA in Environmental Science, focusing on conservation biology.
Trent considers himself a grand generalist who enjoys windy hikes, sleeping outside, and empty surf breaks at sunrise. He originally hails from Southern California and spent his college years in Vermont obtaining a B.A. in Adventure Education and Wilderness Leadership.
They’re passionate about regenerative tourism, keeping tourism dollars in the Seward community, and taking good care of their guests and guides. You can find them answering calls in the office, leading multi-day trips in the fjords, hosting the Seward Farmers Market, or walking their sweet pup, Miss Jones, around town.
Tobey grew up in rural Massachusetts where she fell in love with the outdoors while finding salamanders and climbing trees.
In college she pursued her love of nature by working to understand and interpret it through mapping and modeling. She holds an undergraduate degree in GIS and a master’s in environmental science and policy.
She is fascinated by the intersection of environment and society. Her interest has led her to field research in human-elephant conflict, work in LGBTQ advocacy, studies on international climate justice movements, and positions in science interpretation.
For the past few years, Tobey has been working in outdoor education, where she ran week-long programming for middle school aged students to learn about science and nature. She loves learning alongside participants and sharing information.
She is happiest when exploring new places, meeting people, and playing outside.
Laban grew up at camp in central Pennsylvania. Having thousands of public forested acres around him, his childhood was spent in exploration with his two brothers. After a confusing few years studying saxophone, he spent his 20s in NC growing food in a horticultural therapy program and working operations at an outdoor ed center in California. Most recently, he’s worked natural resources at Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Laban loves the classic Type 1 fun: biking flowy singletrack and climbing wild scrambly peaks, though he often comes back to that gentle space of peacefulness and awe that comes from slowly exploring, birding, or just sitting in the desert sun playing music.
Having spent 15 years sharing the outdoors with youth and adults, Laban believes connecting with ecological systems of which we are part is a joyous experience that thrives with our innate senses of wonder and curiosity. That when we explore these spaces together, we become a community of reverence and gentleness.
Abby has loved the environment for as long as she can remember. From growing up in St. Louis, to exploring New England during her time at Boston College, hiking in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah, and kayaking through the North Carolina wetlands, Abby has explored some rad niches of the environment. With a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies, Abby’s dedicated herself to learning about the earth in every way she can.
Most recently, Abby’s been wading through the bayous of Louisiana and working to remove invasive carp from the Mississippi River. As her time in Louisiana ended, Abby set her sights on studying high-latitude polar and arctic ecosystems. Abby is so stoked to introduce KAW guests to the beauty, wonder, and immensity that drew her to Alaska in the first place.
Abby is driven every day by her love of learning, her deeply adventurous spirit, and her unbridled passion for the environment. When Abby isn’t guiding, she enjoys trail running, hiking, skiing, biking, or swimming. On off-days, you may see her meandering through town on the prowl for a good coffee, working on her latest creative writing piece, or just spending quality time with her pals.
Gigi grew up in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire, spending every summer tromping through the woods in her backyard. During her college years, her love of the outdoors turned professional and she became a white water raft guide leading raft trips throughout NH and Maine. After four summers battling the rapids, she turned to the mountains, leading children and young adults on fun and educational hiking and canoeing trips. This lead her to realize that guiding and being outdoors was truly her passion and inspired her to become a Licensed Maine Recreation Guide.
Gigi has found meaningful and deep connections in the backcountry, both with the natural world and with her fellow humans. She hopes to spend her days facilitating those bonds with others, all while having a grand ol’ time.
Her sense of humor and good spirits cannot be smothered, except by hunger, which is why she always has plenty of snacks to share. She’ll be sure you and your crew have a great time on the water!
Reliable. Dreamy. A good listener. Humble guide. Aquarius. These are some of the words that would be used to describe Erick. Growing up in Maryland, Erick spent his childhood catching frogs and flipping logs. It was in Maryland that Erick went to school for environmental studies and philosophy while playing football. Since graduating, he’s led a conservation crew in the West Virginia forests, where he built, maintained, and restored trails. Afterwards, he moved to New England to work around the region as a wilderness educator. Helping inspire individuals to recognize the love they have for the natural world has been his greatest driving factor!
In his free time, Erick loves being outdoors in any capacity. From climbing to, you guessed it, kayaking, hiking, camping, he just loves getting outside whenever possible! In addition, when in New England, Erick began playing rugby and has found teams in any region he’s been in. You can always strike up a conversation with him about mushrooms, since he just loves those little fungi!
Cedar finds great joy in small moments in nature, from hearing the back and forth birdsong of early mornings to spotting an unusual cloud shape. They grew up in New York City and while Central Park was for a long time the largest green space they knew of, Cedar still found the pull of nature too strong to ignore. Cedar started out working in the art world in NYC then hopped around many odd jobs before finding their true passion for the outdoors while working in the 100 Mile Wilderness in northern Maine. They managed a remote off-the grid lodge there for 4 seasons and discovered the joys of backpacking, ice skating on remote ponds, birdwatching, pack rafting, and nordic skiing. Cedar found their passion for guiding while getting the chance to witness people experience the remote wilderness for the first time and seeing what access of conserved public land can bring to a community.
You’ll find Cedar on and around the water as much as possible, trying to find the best breakfast sandwich in town, or painting watercolors of the stunning landscapes around Seward. They believe that everyone can deeply connect with others and the environment best while engaging eagerly with our surroundings and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. Cedar cannot wait to explore the beauty of the Kenai Peninsula with you!
Kaelyn grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, but escaped to the Northern shores of Minnesota to get her adventure fix growing up. She attended college at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where she got a degree in Psychology with minors in Environmental Studies and Global Health. While in college, she spent a summer in Alaska and fell in love with the state and incredible outdoor opportunities, and since has been determined to come back. Her love for the outdoors expanded upon moving to Utah in 2020 to become a wilderness therapy guide.
Since living in Utah, Kaelyn has spent countless nights sleeping under the stars, exploring the deserts and mountains the area has to offer. She has continued to work in the mental health field over the past couple years, working with programs that offer outdoor adventure as a means of healing. To escape the hot summers in Utah, Kaelyn has gone north to Montana and Washington to guide outdoor adventure camps for youth that include back packing, horse packing, rafting and sea kayaking. She is looking forward to focusing her skills on sea kayaking this year, and furthering her passion for the diverse landscapes of Alaska.
When Kaelyn is not guiding, she enjoys snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, paddling, reading, making art, and cooking.
Ryan has spent much of his life nor-dorking around — fishing, farming, kayak guiding, fumbling with skis, and generally managing mildew in the fjords of Alaska and Scandinavia. Why is he once again uprooting himself from his home amidst the dry soaring granite and friendly mules of the Eastern Sierra to spend the best parts of the year smack in the middle of the earth’s largest temperate rainforest? From experience we know that Ryan actually loves putting his extensive glove & jacket collection to work. But more importantly, we also know that he — like us — has an abiding appreciation and enthusiasm for the connective potencies which can be realized through experiential learning.
Ryan has been an environmental educator for almost 30 years and continues to be passionate about the capacity this work has to cultivate and create strong and earthly ways of knowing ourselves, one another, and of course the more-than-human. Guiding, tourism, and community organizing in these dynamic glaciated landscapes presents a powerful opportunity for us to build the necessary, new, and creative sense — and response — abilities, to our human ecology.
As a logistics coordinator this summer, Ryan is looking forward to contributing to the high level of guest and guide care that makes Kayak Adventures such a familial and generative organization.
Megan spent the first ten years of her life half-feral in the forests of north Georgia and then moved to Panama City, Florida, where she embraced the beach bum lifestyle. After graduating from college, she moved abroad and lived in Europe, Asia, and South America for 10 years. Finally, she came back to the U.S. to do a Masters in Environmental Studies in New Hampshire. She loves community conservation and wants to work with organizations to help them better engage the community and build projects that are beneficial to the environment and the people caring for it.
She loves being active and doing anything outside (she sat outside while writing this), as well as music and reading. She loves exploring and will try almost anything once.
Dustin Newman (Unignax “Blueberry”) is Unangax and Deg Hit’an Athabascan. He grew up in King Cove, Alaska a small fishing community along the Alaska Peninsula. Dustin is a traditional kayak builder, storyteller and Alaska Native Artist. In the off season Dustin works for his regional non-profit corporation in youth prevention services tying cultural activities to healthy ways of living.
Carly grew up on Long Island where she was never more than 20 minutes from the nearest beach. At some point she finally made it a little higher in latitude right around the Adirondacks where she studied at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, NY and worked at her local co-op grocery store as the Produce Manager. By the time she graduated, she had become deeply invested in creating and cultivating community after having become part of the one she found in Syracuse and admiring the interconnectedness of it.
Carly is the kind of person who wants to get something different every time she goes to the same restaurant, or hike a different trail upon every visit to the same wilderness. In the summer of 2022, she did a month-long trip on Amtrak trains with her bike and visited 7 cities in 30 days. She runs, bikes, and climbs, and she loves reading, writing, and film photography.
Born and raised in Denver Colorado, Cole enjoyed plentiful fly fishing along with mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and rafting. Cole attributes his love for the outdoors to an adventure school he went to from kindergarten through 8th grade, called Odyssey. Creating a deep passion for the beauty of nature, especially shared with others. Cole has an assortment of passions from jamming on the drums, to carpentry, to surfing!
When Cole is not on the water you can catch him, walking around barefoot through the woods, mountain biking, climbing/bouldering, and reading books in his hammock. Recently Cole quit playing hockey after 14 years and WWOOF’d for the past year and a half at a chicken farm, finding a deep appreciation for people through the service of others. Cole cannot wait to share his stoke with you this summer!
Anna grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, walking around primarily with her face in a book. One of the few things that could always make her look up was when her family would announce they were “Taking the scenic route!” on their road trips to various national parks.
She discovered a passion for the environment on these trips, which lead her to major in Environmental Studies and Public Health at Tulane University. After college, she worked in Ecuador on a rainforest reforestation project, where she figured out she wanted to work outdoors, helping the planet. This desire took her to Alaska, where she is incredibly excited to be doing that by guiding with KAW this summer!
When not reading or kayaking, Anna can be found going for runs, jumping into freezing bodies of water, or drinking as much coffee as is humanly possible.
Originally from the East Coast, Adam grew up running around the woods of Vermont. During his teenage years he started to become more passionate about technical adventure sports and began to seek out opportunities to push his comfort zone on rock, snow, and water. In addition to ‘yakin Adam enjoy backcountry skiing and rock climbing. He loves waking up early to see the sunrise, and dislikes cold water – but as he says, you never regret a dip!
Adam has been working in the guiding industry seasonally since 2016, for multiple organizations. He has lead bike and backpacking trips, canoe and sea kayaking voyages, and rock climbing expeditions from coast to coast. Adam is stoked to be living his life-long dream of guiding in Alaska, and in addition to guiding, he hopes to pursue a career in technical rescue. Adam graduated from St. Lawrence University in the spring of 2021.
Logistics Coordinator & Guide
Tziporah was born in Alaska and grew up napping in the cockpit of her dad’s sea kayak and bouncing through the Chugach mountains in her mom’s backpack. Her family instilled in her a deep love of wild backcountry adventure, a connection to the land and respect for the natural world. She spent several years abroad as a teenager, finishing high school in different parts of South East Asia and Mexico. She moved to New Orleans to study Forensic Anthropology and attended field schools for Political Ecology in Tanzania and Australia.
After earning a W-EMT, she began her career as an outdoor professional. She worked in a wilderness therapy program as a backpacking guide for at-risk youth in Central Oregon and taught science and marine biology as a nomadic naturalist for private schools throughout California. She worked as a snorkel and kayak instructor in the kelp forest of Catalina Island before making the long journey home to Alaska.
Tziporah now spends her winters ski patrolling, cross-country adventuring, and writing. She loves reading thrillers, making art out of dried fruit, and would love to tell you everything she knows about kelp.
Kat grew up kicking soccer balls, shooting hoops and taking slap shots in the Boston area, and later transferred her athletic drive into the outdoor world when she escaped to Vermont for college. There she developed a passion for people, skiing, big-tree-hugging and finding the most jurassic park-like swimming hole the green mountains had to offer.
After graduating she flew westward to combine her passions of working with people from a variety of backgrounds, learning about our natural world and being physically active through working with Conservation Corps in Idaho and Oregon – helping to restore trails, improve safe access to wild spaces, and get others as excited as she is about being outside.
In between climbing trails, hugging trees and jumping in any body of water she can find, kat is eating all her meals with a spork, reading every book that comes her way and drinking way too much iced coffee.
Guide & SWC Guide
Chris’s love of nature began on the rocky summit of Mt Monadnock in New Hampshire. Up there he discovered the perspective, play, curiosity, challenge, and peace that is possible when we leave the asphalt behind and he’s spent the majority of his adult life pursuing them and helping others do the same.
Chris has worked as an outdoor educator in New England and California, while guiding adventure travel trips in the U.S. and internationally. In the Northwest, Chris taught in Seattle and worked in wilderness therapy in Oregon. Last fall he decided to act on a long held ambition to live in Alaska and drove up the AlCan in winter.
Described by friends as light-hearted, playful (he is a champion WhirlyBall player), and thoughtful, Chris strives to add the personal to his professional side, upholding high standards while allowing space for vulnerability and authenticity. He believes in connecting people to each other and to the natural world.
Operations Support Staff
Although Cooper grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, his passion for wild spaces led him to pursue countless outdoor trips both locally and abroad. In his high school years, Cooper took backpacking and canoeing trips into the Delaware Water Gap and the Pine Barrens. More recently, his new found proclivity towards bike-touring steered him on a 5 week solo bicycle trip from Montana to Alaska. He now sets his eyes on the University of Colorado Boulder, which he will be attending in the fall of 2024.
As Operations Support Staff, he’ll be driving the van, unloading kayaks, and helping you in any way he can. Do not let his younger age fool you. Cooper is accustomed to living outdoors and has a solid foundation of Alaska experience, visiting and hiking many times in the interior. When he’s not out on another adventure you’ll find him playing pickup basketball, eating smoked salmon, and diving into a good movie. Expect some classic film quote drops on the way to the beach!
Farmer’s Market Manager & SWC Guide
Leni has spent a good deal of her life setting up tent and home in high places. Having passed much time on the Atlantic side of “the north,” she’s taken to the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, or open-air living, where the outdoors are not simply those places where we have passing experiences, but are the extension of our everyday lives. She is thrilled to be working as a guide for the Seward Wilderness Collective to help share the senses of home, self, community, and stewardship to be found even as we visit new places.
After spending some years working with environmental coalitions between Scandinavia and Japan, Leni completed her master’s degree in environmental history in Sweden. Her studies and research developed a new passion: storytelling about the ways humans and microorganisms co-create cultures, environments, and flavors on micro and macro scales. Leni is likewise excited to bring some micro/macro stories forth to the community in her second role as manager of the Seward Farmers’ Market.
When she’s not guiding or dishing out nordic veg this summer you’ll find Leni helping out with operations at Kayak Adventures Worldwide, getting to know the landscapes of Seward with her watercolors, or writing about the microverse.
Miss Jones is a rescue pup from Vermont. She has been an assistant guide to Trent on canoe tours in the Adirondacks, backcountry ski tours in New Hampshire, and many more! She loves long hikes, rolling in fresh snow, and treats of all shapes and sizes. She’s very excited to be our friendly, well-behaved shop dog here in Alaska.