Black Feather Guides

 

The team of Black Feather guides is exceptional. Over 40 qualified guides work each season, and some have been guiding with Black Feather for over 20 years! We are now reaching our second generation of guides - the sons and daughters of the original founders and guides - who have now matured into guides themselves.

MEET THE GUIDES

Who are your guides? Most are Canadians who have a strong background in canoe tripping and wilderness travel that has been developed through summer camps, school programs, and/or family trips. Some came to Black Feather with extensive personal resumes, and some started as Black Feather participants and clients. Many work through a long apprenticeship program under the tutelage of our more-experienced guides, and advance to longer, more-remote trips and greater responsibility as their abilities are proven. They are certified by recognized accreditation bodies such as the Canadian Red Cross, Paddle Canada, and Wilderness Medical Associates, to name a few.

Wendy Grater

I’ve been guiding for Black Feather since 1984, when I joined the company as guide and partner.  Since then, I’ve paddled, hiked, kayaked, mountain biked and skied in the NWT, Yukon, Nunavut, B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Greenland. I am now the sole owner and director of Black Feather. This is a rewarding and multifaceted profession. I enjoy the challenges and rewards of operating a wilderness adventure company, the amazing people that I meet, both participants and guides, and the inspiring connection with the land!

A couple of my favourite trips are canoeing the Mountain River and sea kayaking in East Greenland because I love the combination of excellent paddling and fantastic day hiking opportunities. Of course, the opportunity to paddle, hike or ski in any part of our vast land is always a bonus! On trips, I really enjoy the chance to get to know all the participants, feel a sense of challenge and to share the fantastic wilderness environment.

In 2011, I was awarded the Northwest Territories Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award, for service and commitment to the tourism industry in Canada’s north.  In 2013, Black Feather was awarded both the Nunavut Tourism Business of the Year and Northwest Territories Tourism Operator of the Year.  I am honoured to be recognized and to introduce Canada’s wilderness to so many keen adventurers.

When not guiding or in the Black feather office, my interests are cross country and back country skiing, yoga and hiking. I look forward to meeting you and sharing an amazing outdoor adventure.

 

Katja Mathys

“Why would you ever move from beautiful Switzerland to Canada?” many people ask. “Because there is very little wilderness left in Europe!” I moved from Zurich to Parry Sound, Ontario in January, 1998, leaving my teaching career behind. I’ve worked for Black Feather ever since. I manage the finances and trip registrations in the office all year round but I do get to experience the wilderness while guiding trips in the summer. Having scrambled up mountains all my life, I feel most comfortable on my feet and therefore have guided Black Feather’s hiking trips to Ellesmere Island, Devon Island, Auyuittuq and Greenland. I’ve also guided Northern sea kayaking trips to East Greenland and Pond Inlet as well as some canoeing trips in the South.  I love the chance experience the challenge of the north and to help all the participants to feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Cross country skiing is another passion of mine. I work for Cross Country Ontario as the provincial coaching development co-ordinator and sometimes put my own race skis on. I also play violin and enjoy spending as much time as possible with my dog, Taiga.

Steve Ruskay

I have worked outside full time as a guide, instructor, photographer, avalanche forecaster, and ski patroller since 1999.  During this time, I've guided on the arctic ice floe, in the most remote fjords of Greenland and amongst the giant ice of Antarctica.  With thousands of kilometers of wilderness leadership, I have hiked, canoed and kayaked in every geographical region in Canada. This includes over 30 extended trips in the arctic. In the summer months, I can be found high above the Arctic Circle where I lead multiple sea kayaking expeditions in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland each year. I've also led numerous 30 plus day self supported expeditions including a circumnavigation of Anticosti Island, along the rugged Labrador coast, and across Northern Alberta and the NWT.  I am a recognized director of instructor training of sea kayaking, avalanche skills training, and wilderness leadership, as well as an Ice Rescue and Swift Water Rescue instructor. I work full time as the lead guide for Black Feather. When I am not away on an adventure, I enjoy playing my guitar, flying airplanes, and volunteering as a fire fighter. I look forward seeing you on your next adventure!

Michelle Bastien

I have been with Black Feather since 2008 working both as a full time guide as well as at the Parry Sound base during pre-season prep. My experience as both a canoeing and hiking guide have brought me to magnificent places in Ontario, Quebec, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is a blessing and an honour to meet adventurous souls, like yourself, who decide to spend their vacation exposed to the elements, submerged in fresh air, and learning lessons about themselves in ways that can only be taught here, on expeditions.

These days I am living in Newfoundland and Labrador where I am completing a fast-track nursing programme. I hope to have the opportunity to return to Northern Canada as a practicing nurse and to continue guiding in and exploring the amazing Canadian landscapes.

 

Garret Boyd

My name is Garret, and I started guiding with Black Feather in 2006.  Since a young age, I have always felt most at home traveling and exploring wilderness environments.  I find joy in the simplicity, beauty, excitement and challenge of wilderness tripping.  I spend my winters guiding backcountry skiing throughout British Columbia and Japan.  Summer's are filed with guiding rivers and mountain hiking, with a variety of people, places and intentions.  When I have time away from guiding, I putter away at my off-grid homestead, growing food, and finding adventures in my backyard near Golden BC, paddling, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.  This will be my fifth season with Black Feather, and I'm excited to be back.  Happy Trails!

Maureen Bretz

I’ve had the privilege of guiding canoe and sea kayak trips for Black Feather for 14 years - the opportunity to share wilderness travel in amazing places is fantastic. I’ve guided rivers and lakes in Ontario, Quebec, Northern BC, Nunavut, NWT and the Yukon.  My personal passion for the outdoors began early, camping on Georgian Bay. Competitive whitewater kayaking in my youth led me to explore many adventures on several continents  - hiking, cross country skiing, biking, canoeing, whitewater and sea kayaking, wherever and whenever I can. On trips you are likely to see me with a camera in hand, or on my hands and knees with a book, wondering and sharing about the local flora, fauna and geology of new landscapes.   My favourite things about guiding:  watching the group become cohesive, teaching and learning new skills, rising to the occasion with challenges, and enjoying stories and good food around the campfire .

Every BF trip has its special highlights, but the Canadian north holds a special place in my heart.  The Mountain, Coppermine, Nahanni, and Wind Rivers for whitewater, spectacular scenery, hiking, wildlife and flowers are favourites.

When I’m  not guiding  my day job is key account sales  in the publishing/book industry. I recently moved to Horseshoe Valley, Ontario  - a good place to grow gardens, photograph, read,  hike, paddle, ski and dream of upcoming trips.

Tegan Brock

Hello there! I have been part of the Black Feather family since 2012, and have had the opportunity to lead sea kayaking trips along Georgian Bay, and whitewater river trips in Ontario, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories. 

My earlier years have been filled with canoe trips in Algonquin Park and Temagami, and whitewater kayaking on the Madawaska River.  While on trip I enjoy sharing stories, learning from others, and experiencing each day as a unique opportunity for something new, as well as a time for reflection.  I have a B.Sc. degree in Environmental Science and a post-graduate diploma in Applied and Community-based Research, and am committed to expanding my understanding of land-use projects and policy in Canada. 

I adore baking, creating good food, and swimming in fresh water.  I am in perpetual awe of the Canadian wilderness and look forward to enjoying its wonders, beauty and challenges with you.

Devon Cariou

My name is Devon Cariou, and I’ve been guiding trips for Black Feather since 2011. I fell in love with white water when I was 16 and It’s been a driving force in my life ever since. In my time at Black Feather I’ve been fortunate enough to guide trips on rivers in Ontario, Quebec, and the NWT. My favourite trips are the Dumoine for its fantastic white water and the Nahanni for the overwhelming beauty of the landscape it passes through.

I spend the winter months in Algonquin Park, working as a dogsled guide and kennel hand for Chocpaw Expeditions.  When I’m not guiding I can usually be found in the Ottawa Valley, paddling c1 on the world class Ottawa River and its many tributaries.

Sarah Creasor

I grew up on Georgian Bay and many of the surrounding lakes which led to my love for water. I became exposed to kayaking and canoeing at a young age and started guiding as an apprentice on Georgian Bay in the summer of 2010. I then started with Black Feather in the spring of 2015. I’ve started teaching more over the years and have dabbled in other areas of water sports like Stand-Up Paddling. One of my favourite parts about guiding is that each trip is so different because of the people you meet, and what they bring to the experience. When I’m not guiding in the summers I’ve been spending my time working away at an undergraduate degree in Bio-Medical Sciences, at the University of Guelph. In my spare time my other interests include: horse-back riding, nordic skiing, ultimate frisbee, and biking to name a few. I love trying new things so my biggest problem is normally that there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything!
 

Sophie Deschamps

Sophie’s photographic journey began 15 years ago when she took her first international flight and was exposed to new cultures, textures, flavors and topography. She knew then that she wanted to explore the world and capture, through photography, the moments and details that form the essence of each adventure. From the vastness of Greenland, to the contrasts of Iceland, the disparities of India, the aridity of Botswana, the vitality of Kenya, and even the wonder of her own backyard, Sophie finds joy and wholeness with her camera in her hand.

Sophie’s guiding career began in 1997 when she fell for 21 dogs while leading dogsledding tours in the Laurentians, Québec. In 2002, she joined the Black Feather team of guides canoeing and kayaking in Ontario and Québec, going on to lead yoga on the company’s Baja kayaking adventure, and then finding – and losing – herself for 5 years on sea kayaking and hiking trips to Kulusuk and Scoresbysund, Greenland. Sophie then started the adventure of motherhood and moved to Africa, but kept her connection with Black Feather, creating photo books for selected trips each year, which further fueled her passion for documentary photography. Sophie was delighted to return to guiding in 2014, and to renew her connection with the Arctic, where she finds her deepest inspiration for both adventure and photography.

In addition to her work for Black Feather, Sophie is a certified massage therapist and yoga teacher. She is currently pursuing studies with internationally-known photographers and at the School of the Photographic Arts of Ottawa. You can see some of Sophie’s work on the blog of her adventures living abroad and on her website:

Jake Fell

My name is Jake and 2016 will be my second summer guiding for Black Feather. This past summer I had the opportunity to guide trips in Ontario, Quebec and the Yukon and it was definitely one of the best summers of my life. I grew up white water paddling and before guiding for Black Feather I have tripped in the Northwest Territories and extensively throughout Ontario and Quebec. I will always have a special place in my heart for every river I have paddled; however, the far north is definitely my favourite place to be on the river. One of my favourite trips so far has been the Keele River because of the amazing scenery, beautiful hiking and great fishing. When I’m not on trip I’m either white water paddling, fishing, or at Laurier University working on my Business degree. I love meeting new people and making really cool friends has definitely been one of the best aspects of tripping these past summers. I truly love being outside and am passionate about sharing these awesome experiences with participants. I’m super pumped to get on the river this summer and I can’t wait to meet a whole new group of amazing people! 

Kira Gangbar

I’m Kira Gangbar and I’ve been guiding for Black Feather since 2007. I fell in love with Canada’s north after paddling the Nahanni River with Black Feather as a guest, and since then have spent my summers working and paddling in the NWT, Nunavut, Ontario, and Quebec. Some of my favorite trips are the Nahanni’s infamous Moose Ponds as well as the Mountain River, because I love the challenging paddling but even more so because I find the beauty of these rivers unparalleled. My favorite parts of Black Feather’s trips are getting to know the guests and helping them enjoy their experience as much as I do. I also am a huge fan of Black Feather’s incredible menu! My hobbies are running, rock climbing, cycling, skiing and snowboarding, reading, and playing piano.

Natalie Gillis

Hi! My name is Natalie Gillis and I’ve had the pleasure of guiding Black Feather trips since 2010. I’ve led sea kayaking, canoeing and hiking trips throughout the Canadian North and some of my favorite routes have included the hikes on Baffin and Ellesmere Island in the high arctic; I especially love these hikes for the sense of knowing that everything you need is in your head or on your back. I feel the best trips are the ones that take you far into the wilderness, where the distractions of everyday life are distant and far removed; it’s these types of trips attract the company of incredible individuals who bring adventure to life. Between the summers, I’m pursuing a Masters degree in Natural Resource and Environmental Studies with a focus on the Eastern Arctic and I enjoy creative writing, skiing, whitewater kayaking, literature, cooking and playing guitar.

Conor Goddard

I have been a Black Feather Guide since 2006 and have been teaching paddlesports and guiding since 2002.  I love the sea, rivers and the land.  I am also fascinated by the human relationship with these places. 

I have fallen for the Arctic particularly, and continue to enjoy exploring its fascinating land/waterscapes.  If I had to pick a favourite trip it would be the Pond Inlet sea kayak trip as I feel it offers a bit of everything.  Beautiful scenery, incredible wildlife, culture, history, awesome paddling and day hikes.  I especially like longer trips as they offer enough time for a group to gel and work together as a team.  They also allow for a bizarre inter-group humour to develop which also makes a trip quite memorable!

Outside of guiding I paddle a lot, spend time on the land with my family and dog, drink tea, eat as much country food as possible & catch what we eat whether it be under water or on land. I live and play in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik with my partner Tracy Partridge and we are expecting our new baby soon!

Colleen Hammond

I am Colleen and I have been guiding for Black feather for 8 years. I have paddled, hiked and kayaked in the NWT, Nunavut, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and Greenland. Pond Inlet is one of my favorite trips … I love the Narwhal and the serenity of the open landscapes. The Nahanni is another favorite with its amazing white water, day hikes, and stunning views. On trips I love the feeling of leaving everything behind and the opportunity to travel with the great people that Black Feather trips attract. In my spare time I love to paddle whitewater, back country ski, and pretty much do anything outside. During the year when the north is frozen I have worked for a variety of outdoor education programs, instructed at Lakeland College, dog sled guided and travelled when I could.

Micheil Hill

Ullakut! I’m Mike and I’ve had the privilege of being a Black Feather hiking and canoe guide since 2010. My favourite Blackfeather trip is usually whichever one I have just completed! However, Auyuittuq National Park is a place I hope to keep returning to as often as I can. The landscape has a grandeur beauty that can be felt.  On trip I always enjoy the camaraderie on trail, the history and local flora and the “genius loci” or spirit of the place. In the off season, I spend the time winter camping, climbing and catching up on reading. I also try to remember to fit in my “other job” as a physiotherapist working in out-patient orthopaedics. I am really happy to part of the Blackfeather team and look forward to seeing you on the trail someday soon.

Rhys Hill

Hi, I’m Rhys Hill. I’ve spent my whole life on the water, mostly in sprint kayaks where I competed internationally for many years, including being a member of Canada’s Olympic team.   I started canoe tripping at a very young age on family trips and have always loved everything outdoors.  When not paddling, I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, hiking, trail running, and pretty much any kind of adventure I can get myself into.  I’m currently studying finance at the University of Ottawa and will be graduating this December.  I’m looking forward to meeting everyone soon and hope we can have some fun adventures together.

Ken MacDiarmid

Working at Black Feather is a dream come true for me.  Since 2009 I have been working in the canoe tripping program at Black Feather, paddling northern rivers and southern classics.  I also work on the floe edge and arctic ski trips.

My paddle guiding career began at camp Kandalore, guiding youth trips on rivers around Ontario and Quebec.  I have also worked as an instructor for the National Outdoor leadership school in Utah and Arizona, and I teach spring canoe courses at the Madawaska Kanu Center.  As a certified advanced solo and tandem canoe instructor with paddle Canada I am always looking for new tricks to make paddling easier.   Once in a while I pretend to like rafting and kayaking, but the finesse of the canoe keeps it my true summer love.

When I am not at Black Feather I try to spend as much time as possible outside in the snowy mountains.  I am a certified Ski Guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and a Professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association.  Winter work finds me guiding at Great Canadian Heli-skiing, Purcell lodge or Golden Alpine Holidays.  I love backcountry ski touring out of home in Golden, BC.

Always keen for a new adventure and meeting people on the trail, I can’t wait for more expeditions this coming year.

Stef McArdle

This will be my second season working with Black Feather and I’m excited to get back on the water! My canoeing started in my teens on flatwater at summer camp and moved to whitewater soon after. I’ve tripped mostly in Quebec and Ontario and look forward to heading north this year! I love being outside, teaching and playing outdoors. I have a degree in environmental sciences with a minor in vocal music…I look forward to creating sweet music together around a campfire! When I’m not working with Black Feather during the summer, I spend my time as the Head Instructor at the Madawaska Kanu Centre and lead a multi-day raft trip in Quebec with local Innu women. For the past 4 winters I have travelled and worked on the rivers of Nepal and Costa Rica guiding kayaking and canoeing trips. Wherever I am, though, I’m pulled back to the mountains, lakes and rivers in this magnificent country we call home. I look forward to sharing these with you!

Mitch McCambly

My name is Mitch McCambly and I’ve had the pleasure of working for Black Feather since 2016. I have been fortunate enough to turn my love for the outdoors into a career through guiding. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in outdoor education, I began guiding canoe trips for youth in the Alberta Rockies. I’ve worked as a guide on the Nahanni River since 2012, and was blown away by the breathtaking canyons and awe-inspiring landscape and instantly fell in love with the place.

My home when I am not on the river is in Nelson B.C., where in the winter I work as a cat skiing tail guide at Baldface Lodge. In my free time I enjoy whitewater canoeing, rock climbing, camping, fishing, hiking, snowboarding and spending as much time outside as I possibly can!

My favorite part of guiding is sharing incredible places and experiences with new people. Seeing the awe and inspiration that people take away from a trip constantly reminds me of why I am so passionate about the outdoors.

Eric Melanson

Hi there! I'm Eric and I've been working for Blackfeather since 2015 and hope to do so for many years to come.  I was in canoes and camping well before I can remember, however it was at 14 that I got my first taste of whitewater and have been hooked ever since.  After completing several long and arduous canoe trips, one of which was in the Yukon and Northwest Territories I realized that I would always be trying to get back out there, and guiding Blackfeather's amazing trips has allowed me to do that.  When I'm not busy admiring all the amazing scenery these trips have to offer I'm completing a Geography degree at Carleton University, playing guitar, or reading excessively.

Pate Neumann

HI, I’m Pate!  I am originally from the town of Caledon, Ontario. I moved west as soon as I finished high school to pursue the sport of cross-country skiing. I now live in beautiful British Columbia, and am finishing up my degree in Adventure Business from Thompson Rivers University. During the summer, I work at Nipika Mountain Resort as a professional hiking and canoeing guide. I am very excited to be working with Black Feather on all of the programs based at Nipika or on the Kootenay River. When not guiding, I love to spend time outside, building trails and exploring on my bike, in a canoe or on my skis.  I am an ACMG certified Hiking Guide, a Paddle Canada moving water canoe instructor, and a Level 1 sea kayak guide.

Robert Norton

Hello there! My name is Rob and I've been guiding for Black Feather since 2010. In this time, I've had the pleasure of canoeing beautiful rivers in NWT, Yukon, Nunavut, Quebec and Ontario. I have loved each and every one of my trips. A few of my greatest memories have come on the Coppermine River. I love the trip for the excellent wildlife, great scenery, rich history and awesome fishing. I find tripping is an excellent way for people to get out and explore our expansive northern wilderness and create new memories with other like-minded individuals.

When not guiding, I can be found at the University of Guelph where I am entering my final year of my Bachelor’s degree in Ecology. My hobbies include playing & listening to music, white-water paddling, skiing, fishing and playing hockey. I also enjoy poetry and long walks on the beach in the moonlight.

Kurtis Oman

Hello. I have been working with Black Feather canoeing and sea kayaking across Canada during the summers since 2006. My favorite river is the Bloodvein River in Manitoba for its exciting whitewater, beautiful Canadian shield landscape, warm water and mosquitoes… though, I spend most of my time on northern rivers. I am a Paddle Canada advanced moving water instructor or both solo and tandem canoes and enjoy sharing my knowledge of white water paddling with others, as well as improving my own skills. Besides summer work with Black Feather, I spend my winters skiing, travelling or working as a sea kayak guide in Antarctica. I graduated university with a bachelor of science in geology at Laurentian university, and this has proven useful time and again looking at the natural world while on trips. The most exciting thing I've done recently is visit the roof of the world in Nepal. I look forward to meeting you on a river!

Mark Orzel

I’m Mark, and I am an educational professional with 29 years of high school teaching experience in Ontario. I also instruct Paddle Canada and O.R.C.K.A. Moving Water courses when not guiding. I a passionate about teaching and learning so I endeavor to bring that to my work on the river everyday. One of my favourite things about being a guide is the camaraderie that is shared by a group; paddling and living together in the wilderness. When I’m not working on the water, I love spending time with my wife, three children and my dog. During the seasons of ice and snow, you can find me pursuing Nordic activities in the form of cross-country and telemark skiing.

Charles Pelletier-Solasse

Hello everyone, this will be my 4th season guiding for Black Feather, mostly doing whitewater canoe trips. Working for Black Feather has let me experience things that I would not have thought possible, discovering breathtaking landscapes and scenery and challenging myself every day. My love for the wilderness and the people that I get to share it with is what makes me go back to guiding every year and I hope to be able to keep sharing my passion for many years to come.

When I'm not travelling the great Canadian wilderness, I'm a student and traveler. My hobbies are skiing, paddling, cooking, reading, good company and good beer I have worked as a cook, salesman, barman/waiter and farm worker aside from guiding, as well as studying to become a social worker.

Hannah Pham

For the past 3 years I’ve had the great pleasure of leading trips with Black Feather.  I’ve been on trips in Southern Ontario, Quebec and the North West Territories and have seen some spectacular places as a result.  My favorite part about being on trip is spending time with new people and cooking on the open fire.  I’m best known for my obsession with dogs, which makes me grateful for the wildlife sightings I get to see on trip.  I’m currently studying Commerce at the University of Ottawa.  To make up for the occasional dullness of my studies, I live an active lifestyle, which fuels my love for many sports including hockey, skiing, running and swimming.  For the past few years, I have been working as a lifeguard and swim instructor.  When unoccupied by sports, studies or work, you will find me curled up in front of Netflix likely eating something unhealthy.

Andrew Pichora

I’ve been guiding with Black Feather since 2009. Over the past several years, I have enjoyed rivers in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, and Québec. Some of my favorite rivers are the Nahanni, Mountain and Coppermine.  Every trip presents the opportunity for new experiences! Every Black Feather trip brings together people of varying backgrounds and perspectives. It’s a wonderful way to meet new interesting people while exploring Canada’s beauty.  In 2014 I finished my Bachelor of Science at Dalhousie University, with a major in general Biology.

Molly Prendergast

Hi there, I’m Molly! I have been working with Black Feather as a guide, food packer and logistics assistant since 2010. I have guided kayak and canoe trips in Ontario, Quebec, the North West Territories and Nunavut.

Two of my favourite trips to guide are the Petawawa River in Algonquin Park and the Keele River in the North West Territories. I enjoy “The Pet” for its fun and consistent whitewater, and the Keele for its amazing braided streams and stunning mountainous scenery.

During the fall and winter months, I spend my time in Dortmund, Germany, where I work as an English teacher. In my free time, I enjoy doing yoga and spending as much time as I can exploring the areas around my home.

Jenn Redvers

I am an Aboriginal woman born and raised in the wonderful Northwest Territories; a Northerner through and through.  I was lucky enough to have been hired with Nahanni National Park Reserve in 2006 where I was able to study the diverse terrain and wildlife of the Mackenzie Mountains and fall in love with the wild South Nahanni river.  I have also worked as an Environmental Education Specialist with the Government of the Northwest Territories, a coordinator of an outdoor youth ecology camp, and as a Support Worker at an experiential treatment program located at a wilderness basecamp in the Rocky Mountains.  I hold a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems and am currently studying Environmental Design at the Graduate level. I started guiding with Black Feather 3 years ago, continuing to spend my summers exploring in the outdoors and guiding people through the land I love so much.   I enjoy anything outdoors, am an avid canoeist, hiker, biker, and skier.  I like to paint, write, play soccer and pond hockey, laugh, and find the spiritual in all aspects of life.  I find guiding a rewarding experience and look forward to another canoe season with Black Feather.

David Reid

For the past eighteen years I’ve been involved in the Arctic expedition and travel business; leading, organising or participating in more than 300 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, trips and projects. In that time, I’ve travelled thousands of miles by dog sled, ski, snowmobile, boat, kayak, ship and on foot.  Completing seven successful expeditions through the famous Northwest Passage has enabled me to explore some rather “hard to get to” parts of the Canadian Arctic. After living year-round in the Arctic for over 20 years, part of my year is now spent in Southern Canada and part spent in the “polar bear capital of the world” - Churchill, Manitoba, now having guided over thirty trips there. Other interests and work include consulting, photography, writing and filming.

Caleb Roberts

I am stoked to say that the summer of 2015 will be my first summer guiding with Black Feather.   Having grown up in the woods of southern Ontario, I love all things outdoors and have spent the last five summer guiding with a local camp in Ontario and Quebec.   When I am not paddling, I am ether climbing the Chief in Squamish BC, or diving into the coffee culture in Vancouver BC.  I am super excited for this summer and all the adventures that will come with it.  

Simon Ruffenach

I have been guiding with Blackfeather for 3 years. Since I was eleven, I have been coming to Canada every summer to go to a camp located in Georgian Bay.  There, I grew to love the Canadian outdoors, and gained a lot of experience in wilderness travel.  I have done many of the trips that Black Feather runs in Quebec/Ontario and I have paddled the Hood River. I love the outdoors and really appreciate getting to know new people and different personalities. I ran track when I was younger, and I am currently studying in France.

Ian Scriver

Canoeing, kayaking, and outdoor adventure have always been a part of my life. Growing up in Ottawa, Canada, I spent times on the rivers of Ontario and Quebec, canoeing and kayaking with my family. For the past 11 years, I’ve guided and taught for Black Feather on canoeing and hiking expeditions in northern Canada. I’ve found that guiding allows me to share my wonder at the natural world, as well as my passion for environmental protection and climate issues. My favourite Black Feather trip is the Mountain River, because of the exciting whitewater and the great variety that the river offers.

During my studies at Queen's University, I was offered the opportunity to travel to Antarctica on a research and educational expedition. Seeing how I could combine my excitement about nature with my mathematics background led me to the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, where I am currently modelling tidewater glacier dynamics and studying the impact of changing climactic regimes on ice caps. I have travelled to the Devon Ice Cap in the Canadian arctic, where I worked to installed and maintain time-lapse cameras, gps stations, weather stations, and geophones for my field research. When I am not working on my degree, guiding, or teaching, I enjoy nordic ski touring and racing, paddling down steep creeks, rock climbing, hiking, and photography.

Paul Scriver

I’ve been guiding for Black Feather since 2005 and have had the opportunity to see many amazing places as a result. Growing up in a very active family fueled my love for the outdoors. As soon as I could hold a paddle my family would be out canoeing, kayaking, skiing or anything else that boiled down to an excuse to go outside. Before I began working for Black Feather, I attended Camp Kandalore for four years culminating in a month long trip on the Moisie river in Quebec. Since then I have done many of the expeditions that BF offers but still have many places to explore! In my personal paddling, I am more focused on canoe creeking (paddling low volume, high gradient rivers) and have recently become completely addicted to Stand Up Paddleboard surfing. I graduated from Queens University in the spring of 2012 with a degree in Geology. While I’m not doing anything related to my degree, I still enjoy interpreting the landscape we travel through on trip. Currently, I am working with Mark Scriver and Johno Foster representing paddle sport manufacturers in eastern Canada. This ‘day job’ has really allowed me to immerse myself in my passions and keeps me sane while waiting for the next trip!

Mark Scriver

I have been guiding for Black Feather since 1984. I started off camping with my family, working at summer camps and teaching outdoor recreation. I have spent many years instructing and guiding canoe, kayak, and hiking trips in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and Mongolia.  I also have a passion for whitewater paddling and led the Canadian whitewater freestyle team for several years in the 1990’s and won the world Championships in open canoe in 1997. I have explored rivers and coastlines on 6 continents.

In addition to guiding and teaching, I authored Canoe Camping, and I co-authored the Black Feather Camp Cookbook with Wendy Grater, and Thrill of the Paddle with Paul Mason, a whitewater instructional book. My latest passion is standup paddleboarding. Ottawa is home, but I love to travel. I also play recreational ice hockey and enjoy most forms of skiing. See a pattern? Any kind of watersports; frozen or liquid.

Gail Shields

I’m Gail and I have been guiding for Black Feather for many years. My professional and personal tripping and guiding goes back twenty plus years and I have enjoyed paddling on the Nahanni, Mountain, Hood, Thelon, Snake, Wind, Moisie, Pontax, Katawagami, Harricana, North French and many other rivers in Ontario and Quebec - as well as rivers in the United States. My great love of the outdoors and wanting to share it led me to become a guide. I also teach whitewater caneoing to all levels of paddlers from beginners to instructors,  I outfit and repair canoes, work for an outdoor shop doing their buying, and bike, hike, run and ski!

What do I love most about being on trip? The bonding of the group as we meet the challenges along the way and share the beauty of our environment ; that’s what keeps me coming back.

Adrian Smith

Hi my name is Adrian. I have been canoeing and tripping since I was 10 years old at a summer camp on Georgian Bay. I have been down many of the rivers Black Feather runs in Ontario and Quebec and have also paddled in the Arctic on the Nahanni River and the Hood River. I apprenticed with Black Feather for 2 years after 7 years of summer camping and tripping with my camp. I currently am studying Arts and Science at the University of Toronto, majoring in history,  and enjoy skiing, fitness, rugby, fishing, carpentry and cars when I am not tripping in the summer.

Colin Smith

Hi! My name is Colin and I've been guiding with Black Feather since 2007. I’ve enjoyed guiding canoe trips in the Yukon, NWT, Nunavut and Ontario/Quebec. When not guiding for Black Feather, I split my time between Haines Junction, Yukon and Golden, BC spending time amidst the rivers and mountains working as a backcountry cook and caretaker.  The North is in my soul and I always feel very privileged to work there with the land and the people.  I look forward to sharing your next adventure with you and adding a Black feather in your cap!

Graham Stirling-Moffet

My name is Graham Stirling-Moffet, and I started guiding with Black Feather in 2015. I’ve spent several summers teaching whitewater canoeing at the Madawaska Kanu Center, and guiding rafting trips on the Ottawa River. I spent my formative years skiing, paddling, and sharing outdoor experiences with family and friends. I found my introduction to the outdoor industry through the Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development program in 2012 at Esprit Rafting. During the winter months, I spend my time as a computer science and business student at Queen’s University. Considering this doesn’t quite complement my passion for the outdoors, I am very fortunate to be able to spend my summer months working in the Canadian outdoors. I always look forward to sharing my love for the outdoors with others; paddling, exploring, playing music, and sharing unique experiences. I hope to share some of these experiences with you in the near future!

Candice Stuart

Hi!  I’m Candice and I have enjoyed guiding Black Feather trips the last two summer seasons.  My guiding career has taken me to various places across Ontario, Quebec and Labrador but my Black Feather trips have been predominantly hiking in the Canadian arctic, a place I am extremely excited and passionate about.  Hiking in Expedition and Strand Fiords, Axel Heiberg Island, has offered me stunning wildlife viewing opportunities and an opportunity to enjoy 24-hours of daylight.  Some of my best Black Feather moments have been spent trying to find the words to describe the sheer beauty and magnitude of Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island.  What I love most about guiding for Black Feather is sharing these moments, vistas, stories and laughs with the people who come on trip.  My “day” job is teaching outdoor education to grade 12 high school students within the public system; my hope is that I am nurturing a love and passion within our young adults for the environment and Canada’s remote, rugged and wild places.  It is suffice to say that my personal interests involve the outdoors and protecting our wild places.  Beyond the great outdoors, I also enjoy reading, cooking, running and cycling.

Dana Sykora

Hello! My name is Dana, and I started working for Black Feather in 2015, running trips down the amazing and awe-inspiring Nahanni River in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Growing up in Ontario, I was raised on and in the water, and canoeing has been one of my passions for as long as I can remember. That, coupled with an undying love for sleeping outside under the stars has led me here, guiding and teaching Outdoor Education as a career; and I feel so lucky to wake up each day and do what I do. When I’m not in the field or paddling, I also love reading, writing, travelling to the far reaches of the earth and rock climbing…but through it all, no matter what, the water will always my favorite place to be.

Stefani Van Wijk

I have had the pleasure of guiding Black Feather wilderness trips since 2007. With an endless passion for the outdoors, paddling has been a huge part of my life since I was born. When I am not guiding Black Feather trips, I am a canoe instructor with Madawaska Kanu Centre and a raft guide with OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve; I teach Outdoor Ed to High School kids, I study herbal medicine and yoga, and lately I have been heading up the office at Madawaska Kanu Centre. I love the outdoors and I love people, so naturally, my favourite activity is to facilitate outdoor experiences for all sorts of people.

Bella Waterton

Hello there! I have had the wonderful opportunity to work as a Black Feather guide since 2008, during these years I’ve had amazing experiences in beautiful areas, both with a single blade and a double blade. Owen Sound, Ontario is where I call home - growing up in the Georgian Bay area instilled my love for the outdoors. I spent my childhood skiing, hiking and paddling in and around the Bay. Canoe tripping has led me to magical rivers in Ontario, Quebec, and Canada’s majestic North. Some favourites include, the Dumoine River in Quebec, and the diverse Mountain River in the North West Territories. Sea Kayaking on Georgian Bay is absolutely stunning and very special in that it offers many options, be it a 2 day ‘getaway’ or a week long excursion, time on “the Bay” is always memorable.

I have recently moved to beautiful British Columbia, where I live and work in Squamish. On trip I love an exciting day of whitewater, watching skills progress, and always look forward to sharing stories with a tea to end our day.

Dave Weir

I was born in Switzerland, en route to Zaire (Congo) where my parents were missionaries. I began my guiding career straight out of high school in 1987 at Strathcona Park Lodge on Vancouver Island by graduating from the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training Program then guiding school groups. I also graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School. Since then I have guided and instructed for a number of organizations, including the National Outdoor Leadership School, Ecomarine Coastal Kayaking School, Whitney & Smith Legendary Expeditions, Explorers Corner and Black Feather. I have been privileged to guide in many locations, including much of the British Columbia and Alaska Coast, the Sea of Cortez and even Patagonia. It was when I first guided in the Arctic in 1999, that I knew I was home.

In the Arctic, I have guided in Northwest Greenland, Baffin and Bylot Islands, Banks Island, on the mainland Arctic Coast and extensively on Ellesmere Island. I have guided on land, sea, river and ice. Outside of work, my adventures have included high altitude mountaineering expeditions, long route rock climbing, bike touring, white water canoeing and kayaking and many, many miles shouldering a backpack.  Over the years, I have earned a reputation for careful, considered judgement and decision making. I have been extensively involved in training new guides and I am a founding member of the Association of Canadian Sea Kayak Guides.

Tim Wheeler

Hello! I am Tim.  I enjoy long walks on the varied terrains of the High Arctic and paddling rivers flowing downstream.  My bald spot may suggest I am older than the average guide but working in the Outdoor industry for 15 years, and with Black Feather since 2003, gives me the ability to morph your desires into experiences.  In my spare time, I teach Technical Rescue courses for Raven Rescue and enjoy frolicking in most outdoor pursuits.  I have a habit of running into large scary animals and leaving with great photographs! Seeking friendships (as Black Feather introduced me to my wife, Sarah Peters) to travel and explore the outdoors.  

Lyle Wilson

Hi folks, I was born in Winnipeg, and grew up leading outdoor pursuits through the YMCA at Camp Stephens on Lake of the Woods. I have a Phys Ed. degree which led me even farther into the outdoors when I founded an outdoor store called Fresh Air Experience.  I moved from the prairies to the mountains in the late 1970's and ran an Outdoor Training Center called the Blue Lake Center for the Alberta government.  In 1979 I found a spectacular outdoor mecca on the boundary of Kootenay National Park and built Nipika Mountain Resort <www.nipika.com>. 

I have been a cross country skier practically my whole life, which led to a 15 year coaching career including two Olympic Games and ten World Championship events along with countless World Cups and National events here in Canada. I still race enthusiastically as a master skier and have medaled a number of times at the World Masters level.  I have continued to paddle my whole life, competing in Kayak and C2 Slalom at the national level, as well as canoe tripping many of the western prairie and mountain river systems.  I am a certified ACMG Hiking Guide and love trekking in the Rockies around Nipika and my home in Invermere.  My recreational activities include trail running, mountain biking, paddling anything that floats and of course cross country skiing.  My hobby is carpentry and I love to get into my shop and building rustic furniture.  I look forward to sharing future adventures with Black Feather Guests for years to come!

Dan Wong

 I’m Dan and I love to paddle. I hope to get outdoors and on the water with you soon in some of the most beautiful places left on earth. When not working as a public servant, wilderness first aid instructor, or Blackfeather guide - I volunteer as a board member for the Somba K’e Paddling Club, and as a director (Northwest Territories) for Paddle Canada. I’m also trained as a wilderness first responder, whitewater rescue technician and Paddle Canada canoe Tripping /lake canoe/sea kayak instructor. As a lifetime northerner from Yellowknife, I actually got hooked on paddling as part of a varsity dragonboat team at the Univerity of Singapore and am a three-time canoe champion at our local Latham Island Paddle Race (based on a decades-old bet by two prospectors you could not paddle around Latham Island in under 20 minutes). I care about the North, its people, and future and ran for territorial office at the age of 18 before working tirelessly as a Yellowknife City Councilor from 2012-15. The best part about growing up in the North is the strong connection to the land and water and opportunity share this awesome place with others.