Instructor, British Columbia Challenge & Pacific Northwest Explorer
Elena joins Adventure Treks for her first season as an instructor. Currently living near her hometown in Madison, WI, Elena recently completed a three-month semester course in Costa Rica with Outward Bound. She’s also completed a three-month expedition with NOLS in Lander, WY. Prior to her Outward Bound program, Elena was a communications specialist and AmeriCorps VISTA member with Ice Age Trail Alliance in Wisconsin, where she created resources for the public on recreating sustainably on local trails. She also worked as an AmeriCorps member in Vermont where she coordinated tree-planting events among other projects. She’s also served as a naturalist intern who ran educational programs for elementary students in Wisconsin; trail apprentice with the Partnership for the National Trails System in D.C.; WWOOF volunteer on a sheep farm in New Zealand, and student ambassador for the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in Wisconsin.
- Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies
- Certifications: Wilderness first responder, Leave No Trace master educator, whitewater rescue technician, recreational rappel operator
- Favorite outdoor memory: A recent favorite memory in the outdoors is from a springtime roadtrip with my mom; we drove from Wisconsin to the Badlands of South Dakota in one big push, arriving at sunset and setting up camp under the stars. We woke up to a bright, chilly morning with meadowlarks singing, prairie dogs peeking from their burrows and calling out, and bison circling us on the ridgelines. It was such a magical morning to share with my mom in a beautiful place!
- Favorite outdoor achievement: One of the most memorable experiences I had in the outdoors was scaling the east ridge of “Wolf’s Head,” a 10-pitch climb in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. The whole route took over 12 hours, beginning with a 4 a.m. approach to the base of the ridge and ending with a moonlit rappel down the mountainside!
- Favorite place you’ve traveled: The Heaphy Track on the northwest coast of New Zealand was truly breathtaking! I’m still in awe of the amazing variety of landscapes and wildlife along the 50-mile track. And as a huge Lord of the Rings fan, it felt as though I was exploring middle Earth!
- Favorite hobbies: Birding, rock climbing, kayaking, snowboarding, hiking, and just appreciating the beauty of each season; researching and adopting ways to live more sustainably; volunteering with local organizations to steward our shared natural spaces; and finding perfect niches to set up a hammock and read in the sun!
- What are you most excited for this summer? I’m just excited to be a part of a fun, welcoming, and supportive community and getting to know all the people at Adventure Treks!