Courtney Braun is a recent transplant to Bend, OR after spending the past 10 years in Upstate New York. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a degree in Communication and spent her free time hiking in the Adirondack Mountains or traveling! After a trip to India, she took off on a 145 day thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. This hike took her through Bend, where she fell in love with Central Oregon and it's High Desert! Courtney spends most of her free time outdoors and can be found disc golfing, skiing, climbing, running, biking, hunting, or sitting in a hammock with a good book. Her dog Spoons followed her to Bend and is enjoying the plethora of dog parks and dog lovers! Courtney is most excited to share the knowledge, passion and excitement she has for the outdoors with others. Not all who wander are lost, and she is excited to wander with you!
Chip is an experienced naturalist and outdoor advocate. Originally from Vermont, Chip left the Green Mountains for the high desert of Prescott, Arizona where he received his Bachelorís degree, double majoring in Adventure Education and Regenerative Design. After leaving Arizona Chip realized how much he loved the high desert ecosystem but longed for snowy peaks and a ski season. He found Bend and knew he belonged. He has been working as an Outdoor Educator for the past 8 years where his work has brought him to Alaska, Texas and just about everywhere in between. He is an avid skier, rock climber, backpacker, and ecologist. His love for the outdoors and passion for inspiring others in nature will surely leave you with an experience worth remembering!
Greg Dixon has been a Central Oregon local since 1996, when he moved from upstate NY to Sisters Oregon to work as a wilderness ranger. Greg went to school at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse NY, and graduated with a degree in Environmental Science with a focus in Biological Applications. With the Forest Service, Greg worked on habitat preservation and restoration, environmental education, and trail construction. In the winter seasons, Greg will be found up at Mt. Bachelor, where he is a snowsports school supervisor and trainer. When not guiding tours for Wanderlust, you can find Greg backpacking in the wilderness, swimming in the Cascade Lakes, cruising the local trails on his mountain bike, climbing a Cascade peak or local crag, and of course at the end of the day, enjoying a microbrew at a local pub. Greg loves spending his time enjoying natures gifts and sharing his knowledge and experience of the local area with others!
Jeff Gartzke is the Operations Manager at Wanderlust Tours. He has over a decade of experience as a naturalist and still relishes working with the sun on his back. Hailing from the Midwest, he attended the University of Wisconsin and earned a degree in geology where he focused strongly on speleology and hydrology. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Watershed Technician and Wilderness Conservationist, as a guide at Cave of the Mounds, and as a Bear Naturalist and fishing guide in Alaska. Known for his love of skiing and for winter sports, Jeff can often be found exploring the expanses of North America's high country in his free time. With an easy going, yet intelligent guiding style, you will find Jeffís passion and admiration of our natural world quite contagious.
Rachael Gonsiewski is a professional naturalist with a passion for showing others the beauty in nature. While getting her Bachelorís of Fine Arts at Oregon State University, she held a respected role as a climbing instructor and outdoor guide at the Outdoor Recreation Center at OSU. After graduating in 2008, she traveled to Africa as an outdoor educational guide in Zambia where she worked with the Peace Corps and native Zambians, teaching them team skills in first aid, rock climbing, orienteering, canoeing, backpacking, outdoor cooking, mountain biking, as well as flora and fauna uses. Rachael grew up with a florist as a mother and so adopted a love for plants and therefore studied botany throughout her university years. Rachael loves exploring the wonders of Central Oregonís wilderness and can be found rock climbing, fly-fishing with her amazing husband, backpacking, canoeing, hiking, trail running, and making art. Rachael is a very relational guide whose love for nature and people will create a fun and comfortable learning environment.
James Jaggard is General Manager at Wanderlust Tours. He has earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Outdoor and Experiential Education from Oregon State University. In addition to holding Certified Interpretive Guide credentials from the National Association for Interpretation, he is certified in CPR and Wilderness Advanced First Aid.†James guided for Wanderlust Tours for†several summer and winter seasons before taking on more of the operational and marketing responsibilities. James is also an accomplished nature and portrait photographer. You can find much of his work on this website.
Dave Nissen founded Wanderlust Tours in 1993. Wanderlust Tours, which is based in Bend, offers half- and full-day guided, natural and cultural history tours around the Central Oregon region. Daveís passion is to help people understand the intricate links between nature and us; afterall, we rely on everything she provides for us.
David and his wife, Aleta, have received the 2000 Governorís Tourism Award. Governor Kitzhaber gave this award to Wanderlust Tours in recognition of their leadership, cooperation and support for building sustainable tourism in Oregon. In 2005 Wanderlust Tours received
the Gene Leo award for their outstanding contributions and efforts in outdoor recreation and for its focus on Oregonís natural beauty. In 2007 Dave and Aleta were awarded the Excellence in Family Business Award from the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University for promoting the understanding of natural, cultural and environmental issues in Oregon.
Outside of business, life is active with his family pursuing outdoor recreation in Bendís nearby forest, traveling and volunteering in various capacities.