David has worn out many a boot sole during his 36 years of hiking in the mountains. As a former instructor for both the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the American Wilderness Leadership School, Dave has spent a great portion of his life guiding and sharing his love and knowledge of the great outdoors. As a First Aid/CPR instructor for the American Red Cross, and former member of the Teton County Search and Rescue team, Dave is extremely qualified and puts safety as a first and foremost priority.
Jill Aanonsen Hodges (owner)
Jill has been hosting backcountry trips since 1980. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Education and several years ago retired from 21 years as a massage therapist. She enjoys the opportunity to be in the mountains and share her passion for the wilderness with folks like you. Jill has been honing her culinary skills in backcountry kitchens for over two decades, preparing cuisine that is nutritious, satisfying and palate-piquing – wilderness dining at its best.
Kristin is a seventh-grade biology teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management and a minor in Biology from Wright State University in Ohio. She recently earned a Masters of Education from Montana State University and will graduate with a Masters of Science in Science Education in 2015. Before becoming a classroom teacher, Kristin field taught at Teton Science Schools and worked with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Mark Dudek Johnson
Mark has a background in the biological sciences. He has hiked, fly-fished, backpacked and skied in the greater Yellowstone region since 1974. Besides guiding llama trips, Mark has worked as a naturalist and mountain host in Jackson Hole. Extremely aware, personable, and knowledgeable, he will have you identifying flowers, watching birds soar overhead and sharing laughs around the evening campfire.
Trask joined the family llama business at the age of 16 and has been cultivating his llamaneering skills ever since. He is passionate about all things outdoors and when he’s not teaching courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), you will find him climbing, biking, fishing, skiing, pack rafting or hiking a trail somewhere in the backcountry.
Cathy started working with llamas at the early age of 11. As a child, her weekends were spent going to llama exhibitions nationwide. While studying Animal Sciences at Ohio State, Cathy stumbled upon an internship on a pack llama farm in Wyoming. The farm introduced her to backcountry llama packing along with the joys of guiding people into the wilderness with the company of our four legged friends. We got to know Cathy when we purchased several female llamas from that farm. We were impressed with her skills and natural ability with the animals and feel fortunate to have her join us on the trail. This is her 8th year guiding with llamas after a brief hiatus following the birth of her daughter Marta, who has spent most of her 2+ years exploring the world outside.
Jackson, aka Jack, came to us as a rescue dog and initially was not too promising at becoming a “llama dog”. After letting him know he needed to blend into the four legged world if he wanted to go hiking and camping with us, and a little mentoring from his sister Pepper, Jack figured it out and eventually became compatible with the llamas both on the trail and in camp. He was lucky to have Pepper to “show him the ropes” his first year. While she will be greatly missed around the campfire this summer, Jack will do his best to carry on for her.
Pepper – In Memoriam
Pepper departed us at the age of 15 on October 31, 2015. She had been our camp guard and trail leader on llama hikes and treks for most of her life. We will miss her boundless energy and her passion for the great outdoors. She was starting to slow down last summer, but still was eager to join us for time on the trail. As a big sister, she took Jackson under her wing and showed him the ropes of llama trekking passing on her role as camp guard dog. You remain in our hearts forever sweet girl.