Trip Leader Tuesday: Kenton Krueger

We absolutely love our guides who dedicate their lives to showing people how to see sacred, wild places through their eyes. Our guides, who are passionate, professional, avid advocates for the land and keepers of the wild, are the main facilitators that help make each trip an unforgettable one.

Kenton is here to share with us his backstory, passion and guiding knowledge to offer insight on what it is like to lead treks!

Give us some details about you.

I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska, which is actually NOT a farming town despite what most people think. Prior to moving to Flagstaff in 2011, I wasn’t even aware that guided, adventure trips like what Wildland Trekking Co. offers even existed! All these years later, I feel I have the BEST job in the world, one that is highly coveted in this part of the country. This is my 5th season with Wildland Trekking Co.

What is your favorite Wildland Trekking trip? Any specific story or memory you can share?

This is such a tough question to answer!

I’ve been so fortunate to have had wonderful experiences on nearly all of my guided trips over the years.

I will, however, never forget that one trip where I met the love of my life (now fiancee…she said yes!). The story goes that four out of five guests that were originally going on the trip cancelled, which left just her and myself for five days on the HERMIT LOOP backpacking trip.  While nothing romantic happened during the trip, we felt a connection that led us to eventually being together. We have been together ever since. Man, how life has changed since then as well! I moved to Chicago for a year to be with her. Eventually, we returned back to the Southwest and she ended up becoming a guide with Wildland Trekking Co. Now, we get to work together.

Where is one place in the world that you haven’t been to, but would like to go?

Unlike many of my colleagues at Wildland Trekking Co., I am not a global traveler. However, at the top on my travel list is: Iceland, Italy and Alaska. I am headed off to Costa Rica this December 2018, so starting to get around.

Any advice or insight you’d like to share as an experienced trip leader for future hikers?

Engage in your trip from the moment you book it. Yes, as guides, we are here to facilitate an experience for you, but it is up to you to experience it fully on your own. Train, plan, read the trip packets and know what you are getting into so that you can be best prepared. From the hundreds of trips I’ve led over the years, the number one thing that helps folks have the best time is to be the most prepared and ready to have the BEST experiences overall. You don’t need to have experience, but you do need to be physically and mentally ready for the challenges that will certainly be presented.

Interesting fact about you or the places you love to hike?

I used to cover mixed martial arts for a newspaper and went to college to fly airplanes. My career covering mixed martial arts is certainly over; however, I am considering going back to flying, specifically sea (float) planes.

Mikaela Ray

Mikaela Ray grew up in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. She is an avid mountain biker, backpacker, hiker and dog mom.

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