“Your guides seem to bring out the kid in all of us.”
Our guides are carefully chosen professionals and year after year are the highest-rated aspects of our trips. They are there to take care of all the details but also play with you during the day, eat with you at dinner, and often show you their favorite watering hole or sunset-watching point in the evening.
“I don’t know how you do it. They are all great!”
Most importantly, they know how to have fun, and that is contagious. All Zephyr guides are trained in CPR and First Aid and, when appropriate, are certified as inline skating instructors. One or more of the guides and/or staff members listed below will accompany you on your adventure. On many of our trips we utilize additional local guides who specialize in the area’s history, language, geography or culture.
Check out our Guide Training video, which will give you a glimpse at our fun-loving natures.
Aaron Rothfolk is a Midwestern-inspired “masterpiece” residing in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Captivated at a young age by our dynamic planet he studied earth sciences in college, kicked rocks across North America for a decade, and currently moonlights as a geologist. Enchanted by the beauty of diverse landscapes and the charm of wildlife, he considers these a priority for any travel adventure. Enjoys hiking, biking, boating, or skating to explore the natural world. Believes a memorable journey involves some accidental adversity, soothed by a visit to a local purveyor of food and beverage. Aspiring beer nerd. Ambitious cook. Awful ukulele player. He loves kitty cats, his wife, and ice cream, not necessarily in that order.
“Loved Aaron’s calm demeanor.”
“Lots of fun, organized, flexible and relaxed! Hope to be on another trip with him again!”
Allan Wright is Zephyr’s owner and president and has been running adventure vacations since 1997 when Zephyr first created the inline skate touring industry. If you have questions about where your next Zephyr trip should be, ask Allan – he set up most of Zephyr’s locations and is planning all the future ones! Allan is a native of Seattle and has lived in ten cities in four countries on three continents during his many traveling years. When asked about his life dreams, Allan will tell you, “To have a significant impact on other people and the world and to have fun doing it.” Allan is a bit of an idealist.
“His passion for creating an active travel company that is centered around the participants’ wants and needs clearly shows.”
“Brilliant! Always everywhere in tune to everything and everyone. Can he be cloned?”
Annelee Steyn has a passion for hiking, botany, nature, camping and the great outdoors. She is also a wine teacher at the Cape Wine Academy. What a beautiful combination! She says, “I keep thinking about retiring but then yet another fabulous tour arrives on the horizon and I’m off again…” She is also passionate about South Africa’s rich diverse cultural background – the people, the politics, the languages, the history pre- and post-Colonialism and loves to share what she knows with travelers to her country. She speaks English in a most delightful accent, but her native language is Afrikaans (which is a form of Dutch) and is also currently learning Xhosa, the language spoken by the second largest ethnic group in South Africa. She’s been married to Pauncho for a zillion years and they have two grown-up daughters. Annelee is a guide on all Zephyr’s South African tours.
“Annelee was genuine and lovely to have as a guide and companion.”
“Annelee’s knowledge and warm style was a key asset to this [South Africa] trip.
Beth Peluse loved her 2013 Zephyr trip to Chile & Argentina so much, she decided to join the company! Beth’s professional background is in digital marketing and event planning. She was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and grew up camping her way across the US every summer with her family. During college, she expanded her travels internationally by studying abroad in London. She is a self-described book nerd and loves to run, hike, cook, garden and is even an amateur beekeeper. Beth is our tour marketing lead and you may find her as a guide on a variety of Zephyr trips.
“Beth is very much in the tradition of fine Zephyr guides–bright, kind, aware of everything going on around her, upbeat, accommodating, a total kick in the pants to be with. I look forward to traveling with her in the future.”
“Beth could not have been sweeter, nicer or more accommodating. She worked extremely hard to make sure the trip flowed smoothly.”
Dejan Anić was born and raised in the southern Croatian region of Dalmatia and is a travel and outdoor enthusiast with a special passion for the sea and mountains. After obtaining Master of Finance degree and working in Finance for 10 years all around the world, he decided to dedicate his professional life to adventure tourism in Croatia. Dejan loves to guide cycling, sea kayaking (3-star BCU certified) and hiking tours but always enjoys spicing things up by showing others the amazing gastronomy and wines of Croatia. He loves searching for the best spots for surfing or windsurfing all over the world, traveling with this camper van and the sound of flip flops.
Desiree’ Kameka was born and raised in Miami, she grew up on inline skates and raced for several years as a pro before “retiring” to take on new adventures. You will find her on any of our hiking, biking, or skating tours. On her own time, she loves to play the guitar, salsa dance, and read a good book. She works with autistic youths so she can “partner with those who are autistic to reach their highest level”. You will love her enthusiasm and will enjoy laughing with her each and every day.
“Love her! Please send Desiree’ on all my tours.”
“Desiree’ has a passion for many things in life but seems to be most passionate about whatever is right there in front of her at the time. A great attitude to have.”
Doug Bailey, a.k.a. “The Beerbarian,” works full time for a major beer company, traveling and preaching the good word about great beer. From paired beer dinners, tastings, beer fests, massive bonfire parties (with lots of beer) the Beerbarian is usually the loudest and easiest to spot at any event. He has worked more than 15 years as a guide doing everything from whitewater rafting to horseback guiding to Beerventures. You can see that Doug is a perfect fit for guiding our beer trips! There are few things he loves more than having an adventure with a beer in his hand and another 5 or 6 in his back pack to share.
“He knows his stuff. Great guide. Cool dude. Passionate about the area and beer. He is an asset to Zephyr. Period.”
“Doug did an incredible job and can’t say enough good things about him.”
Francisco Franco Afonso believes a great life is made up of wine, travel, and food. And he should know as he has been guiding wine experiences since 2006 and has his WSET III wine certification. Not content to just stay home and continue to explore all of Portugal’s wine appelations (which he has!) Francisco has traveled extensively to explore wine regions all over the world including wine regions in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain ann France! You will meet Francisco on our Portugal Wine & Hike Adventure…or perhaps in another wine area of the world!
“Francisco added critical extensive wine knowledge and had a great attitude and energy that made the trip fantastic for all guests.”
Giacomo Benedetti is a native of the upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany and grew up cycling (like many Italians!) and particularly loves to ride mountain passes. Unlike most Italians, however, he loves to finish off his rides with a fresh beer instead of vino! He has a master’s degree in Art History and is also a licensed guide. He is passionate about history and is generous sharing his vast knowledge with Zephyr travelers whenever he can. He admits it makes him very happy when people enjoy what he has to tell them about Italian history or what their feelings are about a Romanesque church, for example. His biggest flaw? “I become impatient if I must wait for a pasta with truffles dish!” You may meet Giacomo on any of our European biking or hiking adventures.
“Giacomo was always right there with a cheerful smile, local information and willing to help you. He made the trip super.”
“Giacomo was a real plus for the trip, both for his leadership skill and the research he must have done on local history.”
Giovanni Ramaccioni is our Italian specialist and a man of many talents. Not only is he an expert on the food, culture, and history of his country, he is an expert on bikes and biking. He also is intimately familiar with Italian wines and can give you his opinion on why they are much better than French wines! He has guided biking and hiking tours in Tuscany and Umbria for many years and knows the area like the back of his hand. Giovanni and his college sweetheart Michela live in Umbria with their two kids.
“Best local guide we have ever been on a tour with. He really knew his biking and his country and could talk about both easily.”
“Giovanni made my trip. His personality, energy, and knowledge were awesome and his sense of humor just made him a joy to travel with.”
Hamish Beard loves to joke that he is “your Marlborough Man,” but it truly is no joke – he knows this small-but-famous wine area of New Zealand area inside and out, and everyone there seems to know him as well. He is an Englishman who came to NZ in the eighties on the back of his chef qualifications, along with Angie, his pastry chef wife-to-be. They’ve been there ever since and “have produced a couple tiddly winks, a pink one and a blue one, both grown and living in Wellington.” Hamish and Angie have a wonderful base called Dartington Barn, where they teach cooking classes and host corporate events that have participants doing archery, axe- and star-throwing, and using slingshots and air rifles! Hamish keeps fit by running, biking, hiking, golfing and drinking wine. He says, “perhaps the wine intake is a tad on the heavy side, but hey, we live in one of the very best wine regions in the world, so why not live the dream we say!”
“Fun to be with and very informative. It was important to him that we were all enjoying ourselves.”
“Fun, passionate and knowledgeable. He enhanced the whole learning experience.”
Iker Garamendi guides with us on many of our Spain tours and adds a whole lot to your experience. He is our local bike expert and works full-time as a bike messenger in Pamplona, sort of a “running with the bikes.” Iker helped us set up our local biking routes and, as the quote below attests, also has the knowledge to take you on an exploratory route if you are so inclined. Asked about his passions, Iker says “Passion is the word, biking and hiking are the ways, and Spain is the place. This is what feeds my mind and always has me looking forward to the next trip.”
“We did the long route on Day 5, sort of an “explorer’s route” with Iker. This turned into one of the highlights of the trip for us.”
Jeff Whitmire, an outdoor enthusiast who calls Denton County, Texas home, doesn’t claim to be the reason Rand McNally named Denton one of the Best, Friendliest and Most Fun small towns in America, but he doesn’t deny it either. An inline skater since 1989 and former sporting goods retail manager, he led his first Zephyr tour in 2001 and continues to make time for cycling, running and paddling when he’s not busy with his full time gig in education (currently teaching high school math). Equally happy tinkering with one of his vintage Volkswagens, playing blues guitar badly or enjoying a craft beer with new friends, Jeff is always ready for an adventure – “Heck, I’ll try anything three or four times!”
“Jeff is so sweet and calming. He’s a lot of fun, too.”
“Lots of fun, organized, flexible and relaxed! Hope to be on another trip with him again!”
Jenny Siddall is a Brit who lives in Rioja (Spain) and has ten years experience guiding both active tours and those focused on food and wine. She has a masters degree in Viticulture and Oenology and has worked in several Spanish wineries. She is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and French and so you will find her on any of our food-focused or wine-focused active tours in Europe.
“Jenny is a gem and a real pro. Unflappable, good-natured, professional and a true pleasure to be around. She clearly loves her work and that enthusiasm pops through all the time. I cannot rave enough about her!”
“If we could give Jenny anything higher than outstanding, we would. Very informed, very take charge, yet fun and not stuffy. Best tour guide we’ve ever experienced.”
Jim McCammon is a semi-retired clergyman who, as he describes it, “has a passion for the beauty of wine”. He has become such a fan he volunteered to work at the busy “crush” time in a local winery in his home Sonoma County and spends his vacations traveling to wine festivals. You will be impressed with Jim’s ability to engage you on just about any subject you choose! Jim regularly runs our Sonoma Wine & Walking Tour
“Jim McCammon was a wonderful guide. He is very knowledgable about the vineyards and so much more. We appreciated that he is both professional and personable, which made for a very enjoyable day of both learning and conversing. Thanks Jim!“
“Jim was delightful. I appreciate that he didn’t have a set agenda, so the conversation and pace of the tour was spontaneous and flexible. The combination of Jim’s insight, his wisdom gleaned from years of ministry and counseling, and his passion for wine and nature were exceptional. The best guide I have ever had!“
Katie Edmiston is a “born and raised Montana girl.” She grew up with a family that prioritized outdoor adventure – backpacking, skiing, mountain biking, and fly-fishing – and her passion for outdoor pursuits and adventure only grew from there. After earning a degree from the University of Oregon in Archaeology and Spanish, she spent time traveling and living abroad; she is no stranger to the adventures of international travel! Katie also has her 1st Level Certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers: food and wine are her passions! Currently, she and her husband Cory reside in Whitefish, Montana, and operate a marketing and communications business focused on the fly fishing industry in Alaska. They also produce short adventure and conservation based films. During her free time, you will most likely find Katie in the mountains or on the river.
“Katie’s sunny, welcoming and eager-to-please attitude help make any trip a seamless, low-stress and simply wonderful vacation.”
“Katie was absolutely amazing. She has extensive knowledge, unending energy, an eagerness to help at all times, a passion for the outdoors and the activities related to our tour, an infectious upbeat attitude and effortless leadership qualities that defies her youthfulness.”
Kerry Dopler is a native Montanan who is based in Red Lodge, Montana, where Zephyr is headquartered. She currently works half-time in the Zephyr office as Zephyr’s customer care whiz and dreaming up new locations for Zephyr trips. Kerry has spent the last ten years of her life traveling, guiding, learning languages and perfecting the art and intricacies of Indian and Thai curry. Kerry received her BA in Spanish Literature and Sustainable International Development from the University of Montana in Missoula. During her free time Kerry can be found riding her bicycle up the Beartooth Pass, fly fishing in Rock Creek or gallivanting remote corners of the globe offering kindness and laughter and seeking the same in return.
“Best guide ever! So nice and funny — she loves jokes. If we went on a Zephyr tour again I would want her to be our guide.”
“Kerry was spectacular, so lively and fun and irreverent. She is fantastic.”
Kris Thomas Keys works full time for Zephyr out of our Red Lodge, Montana headquarters. For most of the year Kris is Zephyr’s alumni ambassador and tour operations specialist. However, she also guides a variety of trips. Tour participants find her to be organized, competent, a great leader and – true to her Midwestern roots – always friendly. When asked what her life dream is, Kris answers (among other things), “To always have a job where I can work in my pajamas or shorts.”
“Kris is down-to-earth and easy to be with. One of those people you just feel comfortable with right off the bat.”
“Love her! A true professional, leader, guide, problem-solver and go-to girl. She is the reason I have traveled around the world with Zephyr! She also has the best snacks.”
Laurie Barnard‘s love of adventure started in Colorado where she began skiing at the age of 5 and climbed her first mountain at 7. She has worked in Switzerland, taught skiing and sailing in France, explored Europe by train, foot and bicycle, trekked in Nepal and Peru, volunteered in Ethiopia, snorkeled in Thailand, kayaked in New Zealand and fished in Mexico. After living in Glacier National Park where she climbed all of the big peaks, she landed in Red Lodge, Montana, and has enjoyed living there for 20 years. Red Lodge is the base camp for her worldwide travel adventures, as well as for going out her front door to hike, bicycle, and do all kinds of skiing. Laurie also teaches West African drumming and she confesses to an addiction of zumba and salsa dance lessons from her Peruvian dance instructor. For the past 10 years Laurie has been sharing her passion for Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks as a professional guide, as well as leading her family and friends on trips.
“Laurie was EXCELLENT! She is so easy going and very fun to be around. She also had great knowledge and information about everywhere we went.”
“Laurie has great energy, and is very attentive, enthusiastic and personable.”
Lydia Marchand lives in the French Pyrenees, near the border of Spain, with her partner Frances and their son Peio. Lydia lived and worked in Miami for ten years before returning home to France to run her family hotel near the beautiful mountain adventure town of Gavarnie. Zephyr participants like Lydia’s take-charge attitude on tours and her devilish sense of humor. When she is not working at the hotel, Lydia is outside hiking those beautiful mountains, skiing, or horseback riding. She is also a talented biker and inline skater!
“Loved her. She has great spirit.”
“I don’t think Zephyr could ask for a better addition to its line-up of personalities! Lydia sparkles!”
Luis Laciar was born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina (where he currently lives) and after his formal college education he lived abroad for 13 years (including a stint in the US) to further his informal education. The last five of those years, he entertained himself (and surely many others) by doing a solo bicycle trip through 52 countries and three continents. His passions are cycling and getting outside to do anything. He comes by his athletic gifts naturally – his father is a tango dancer! He has a gift for languages and can converse in many: French, Portuguese, English, and of course, Spanish! Luis is one of the happiest people we know and his enthusiasm for life is infectious – just try not to smile when you’re around him and you’ll find it is impossible.
“Luis is such a dynamic yet down to earth guy and made us feel so welcome to South America by sharing his knowledge and briefing us on customs.”
“What a great guy. I loved his introductory e-mail: “I’m not a millionaire in my bank accounts, but a millionaire in my heart,” and he continued to show what a caring person he was throughout the trip.”
Mario Tribeño is one of our three Cusco-based guides in Peru. Mario was born and raised in the heart of the Sacred Valley, immersed in the culture of his ancestral roots, thus he has a vast knowledge of, and a great sense of respect for, Andean traditions. For a change of pace, he lived in America for a time, and then returned to Peru with excellent language skills and the experience he needed to work as a guide. He now has almost 20 years’ experience in guiding. Mario is definitely a lover of nature and Andean culture — he will bring to life for you the amazing Inca culture in the middle of the Andes.
“Mario is a gem. He is a great leader and wonderful person (he even saved a baby llama who fell off the trail!). This being his 430th time hiking the trail means that his knowledge of how to maximize the trekking experience was vast. He managed all aspects of our adventure with class and style. Truly OUTSTANDING!”
Michael Keys grew up in California and Oregon, but has called Red Lodge, Montana, home since the turn of the century. His “college” experience was spending four years as a climbing bum in Yosemite National Park, and he continues his love of the outdoors by doing almost every outdoor sport he can get his hands or feet on: hiking, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, cycling, mountain biking, rollerblading, backpacking…well, you get the picture! His day job is building custom homes that specialize in sustainability. However, in addition to occasionally guiding for Zephyr, he also moonlights as a commercial truck driver for the local brewery, a rec-league hockey player, a skilled eBay seller, a snowboard instructor, a home caretaker, a snowplow driver, a beertender, a political activist and a dog whisperer! (Some of these jobs pay well and some don’t.) There are few topics about which Michael cannot sustain an enthusiastic conversation.
“Michael is a wonderful addition – his quiet confidence lets you know that everything is okay. He is uber-helpful and a lot of fun, too!”
“Great attitude, strong leadership without being forceful, just an amazing person… thanks for sharing him with us for a couple weeks! I have a new friend for life.”
Reno Walsh lives and works in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. He has many years of experience in the adventure travel business. Now he guides one or two awesome tours per season but his primary role with Zephyr is to develop and maintain key partnerships for Zephyr’s Conferences. Reno spends his free time with family and friends in the outdoors with his fly rod, raft, canoe, snowboard, mountain bike or trail shoes. When he’s not on the go, you’ll find him with a glass of local craft beer or whatever bottle of wine that is open at that time, working in the garden until the sun sets and then sitting in front of the stereo listening to old warpy vinyl.
“Reno has a true love of people and the outdoors — we were lucky to have him as our leader!”
“Always helpful, friendly and fun. Displayed an impressive amount of knowledge about the area, geography, hiking and wildlife.”
Although Santiago Castelo lives and works in Peru and is an expert on Peruvian culture and history, his knowledge spreads beyond his country’s borders. Having lived in the U.S. for a time, he is able to relate to North Americans and is comfortable conversing on any subject you choose. Born and raised in the Cusco area, Santiago has trekked the Inca Trail hundreds of times and will amaze you with everything he knows about the flora and fauna, the Incas and the Spanish, and the local food and drink. Santiago’s compassion for his people is easily apparent, as is his wickedly fun sense of humor!
“On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the best … I would rate Santiago as a 12.”
“Santiago was the best – an encyclopedia and always attentive to safety. A really nice guy as well. He has a great respect for Andean culture and I learned a lot from him.”
Serena Falasconi was born and raised in the upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany but traveled throughout Europe with her parents since she was young and continued to travel the world after finishing school. She lived in NYC while studying Art for a few years and then in Rio de Janeiro before coming back to her hometown in Tuscany, Sansepolcro. After moving back, Serena started teaching Yoga and was able to go back to one of her greatest passions: cycling. She loves traveling, riding, and getting to know new places and people. Serena’s favorite thing is to share the beauty of places, culture, and food with others. Inspire and get inspired. You may meet Serena on any of our European biking adventures.
Sonya Mapp focuses on tour communications for Zephyr and lives in McCall, Idaho. Before joining Zephyr she ran her own business and worked for several small companies. She is an avid hiker, skier, soccer player, and mountain biker. She and her husband have two daughters and two dogs that join them on all their outdoor pursuits. While most of her time is spent in the office helping keep Zephyr’s wheels rolling, so to speak, you may also meet Sonya as one of your guides on any number of trips.
“She always knows just when to step in to help and when to quietly observe and let you work something out for yourself.”
“Sonya is unflappable – one of the most organized people I’ve ever worked with.”
Yannick de Cocquéau lives in Ghent, Belgium. He’s adept at what he describes as a “Burgundian Lifestyle” which actually just means he enjoys life as much as possible and especially good food! His passion for beer takes an important place in this. Yannick works at the regional tourist organization and is in charge of everything related to beer tourism. In addition, he graduated as a beer sommelier, brews his own beers, conducts tasting sessions for groups, is active in different beer associations and is also part of the team behind the Zythos Beer Festival. As he loves his country and wants to share this love, beer appreciators can’t go wrong spending time with him in Belgium! As Yannick knows every Belgian brewer personally and the stories behind the breweries and their beers, he fits extremely well in the job of beer guide on our Belgian tours. Did he eat this entire bucket of Belgian fries? You will have to ask him yourself!
Yieber Cueva is an experienced guide from Maras, a picturesque town located in the Sacred Valley of Peru that is known for its salt evaporation ponds, in use since the time of the Incas! Yieber has Incan ancestry and has been educated with knowledge and behaviors in the native language of Quechua. He believes traveling and tourism is a powerful tool to show off his ancient and magnificent culture to the world and at the same time help people of remote areas. Yieber loves to share Peruvian archaeology, geography and traditions with visitors to the Cusco area.
“Extremely competent. I feel like he was the best guide we could have had!”