Escape Artists

We’re Not Just Guides, We’re Escape Artists

Our goal is to creatively help people escape from the chaos and stress of everyday life and appreciate the natural and cultural beauty of our region. This task is an art form like painting or poetry – one must always work to master his/her craft.

Our lead guide Tyler Davis was recently nominated Seattle’s Tourism Ambassador of the year!

Our Escape Artist guides not only come with a variety of backgrounds, amazing skill sets and dedication, but we also strive to continually educate ourselves on everything there is to know about the region.  We pride ourselves on providing first-class service as we escort you through the most magnificent highlights of our region and impart our knowledge of the local culture, history, industry, agriculture, cuisine, wines, microbrews and sustainability. Many of our guides are ecologists, marine biologists or have taught natural history both in the field and in the classroom. Depending on your tailor made itinerary, we will match you with a guide that we feel best fits your destination, interest and activity. Sound like your dream job?  We’re hiring!  

The Team Behind the Scenes

JAKE HAUPERTPresident & Founder

A Pacific Northwest native, Jake Haupert owns and operates acclaimed eco-friendly adventure travel companies EverGreen Escapes & Explorers 3 Adventures based in Seattle, Washington. Jake graduated from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon with a Business degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. He added a certification from the World Leisure Travel Academy shortly there after. An avid outdoorsman and a responsible and active traveler, he has turned his passion for the transformational power of travel into his life’s work. Even his closest friends cannot decipher when he is working or playing. Professional experience was gained at reputable travel companies such as Four Seasons Resorts, Marco Polo Expeditions, Galapagos Cruises, Cruise West and Down Under Answers. An unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit and genuine personality has resulted in two adventure travel companies that combine a deep appreciation of nature, wildlife and active pursuits with sustainable, intimate and exclusive culinary, wine and luxe lodging experiences. Explorers 3 Adventures sends clients to Alaska, Antarctica, Latin America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. EverGreen Escapes welcomes visiting tourists and locals alike on authentic and experiential northwest adventures, treks and tours.

JEFF PIETKA Portland Base Camp Manager, Lead Escape Artist 

Born and raised in Portland, OR, when Jeff studied International Affairs and Geography in Washington, D.C. he had an eye on working in the foreign service – being a naturalist and tour leader was nowhere on his map. But upon graduation, his father asked: “So, what was the most important thing you learned back East?” And after a moment’s contemplation, he replied: “That I belong back West.” Travel became a central theme in Jeff’s life, and he learned quickly that a good guide can make or break a traveler’s experience. Inspired by his own travel experiences with guides both skilled and dubious, he started his interpretive guiding career in Southeast Alaska, and branched out year by year, working in the Pacific Northwest, then Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and British Columbia. Jeff is a National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide, and has learned from some of the best around as an Interpretive Ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in ’09 and ’10. After seven years guiding at all latitudes from 30 to 60 degrees North latitude, he has returned to his roots in the Portland region – smack in the middle at about 45 North – where he is prepared to put the places that are nearest and dearest to him on center stage and make them shine for you.

TYLER DAVIS- Director of International Programs, Lead Escape Artist, Seattle 

A native Seattlite, I’ve been exploring the Pacific Northwest since my earliest childhood memories, escaping at every opportunity to experience the beauty that this area has to offer. My childhood endeavors to turn over every rock or log and find the creepiest of crawlies blossomed into a desire to learn as much as possible about the flora and fauna of the region as I grew older. My ever-developing passion for ecology and conservation took me to Cornell University, where I obtained a B.S. in Natural Resources with a focus in ecology. While Cornell was a perfect fit for me, four years on the East Coast taught me what I’ve always known: that I’m a Pacific Northwesterner at heart and Seattle will always be my home. Thus, after a variety of field jobs around the world – from searching for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the swamps of the Southern Mississippi to studying Superb Starlings in central Kenya – I’m glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest, escaping to and exploring some of the most beautiful environments the world has to offer by bike, ski, kayak, boot . . . you name it! I’m even more excited to share what I know with others – and have the opportunity to make a positive impact – through hands-on, exciting, sustainable adventure ecotourism.

MIRA ANSELMI- Director of Marketing, Escape Artist, Seattle

mira anselmiThe two great passions of my life are art and nature and this is apparent in almost everything I do. The foothills of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico were my backyard growing up. I spent much of my youth exploring these mountains, but while the desert is still in my bones, I longed to be closer to water. I studied photography at the the University of Oregon and then moved to Seattle in 2003. I have spent the last eight years exploring the region from “urban hiking” all around the city, to back packing, rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, sailing, snow shoeing and skiing all around the state. When I’m not playing outside or leading tours, I am an avid vegetable gardener, owner of my own portrait and special events photography company, Mirastories, and volunteer with the Nature Consortium working on the annual Arts in Nature Festival to teach conservation lessons through the arts. Seattle is the perfect city to practice conservation and be immersed in art and nature simultaneously. I feel so lucky to get to share this fascinating place with others and to teach photography while showcasing my favorite city.

ERIC KOCAJA- General Manager

After growing up in almost every part of the mid-west, I spent one summer in Colorado and knew instantly that I find comfort, peace, and inspiration in the mountains. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 (go Badgers!), I immediately headed west and landed in Seattle which I am proud to call home. I am continuously amazed by the endless bounty this region of the world has to offer. I’ve been kayaking, climbing, hiking, mountaineering, birding, sailing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing – and I haven’t made a dent in the list of places to experience and enjoy. Having started at EverGreen Escapes in early 2012, I am excited to be surrounded by people who share the excitement of exploration and the passion to share this incredible part of the world with others.

KELSEY IVEYLogistics Specialist, Escape Artist, Portland

Trail to terroir, Kelsey is a buzz for the bountiful Pacific Northwest. Growing up in Olympia, Washington along the shores of the Puget Sound and evergreen forests of the Cascades Mountains, she learned to love the outdoors at an early age. From her parent’s backpack as a babe to donning her own, Kelsey summited her first mountain at age 11 and then continued to explore the region one hike at a time. Yet while earning her B.A. in Journalism at the University Oregon, she fell head over hiking boots for a new taste of adventure, wine and travel. From her first glass of bubbly in northern Italy to the wild vineyards and varietals of Cape Town, South Africa and rich, savory Pinot Noirs of Oregon, Kelsey loves to share the grape story and the people behind it. When not in the vineyards or forests, Kelsey spends most of her time freelance writing or training for her next half marathon.

ERIC RUPPTour Manager, Seattle 

A broad range of talents combined with an unwavering desire to explore have taken Eric all over the planet and resulted in a delightfully abstract resume.  Having recently completed a two year walk-about through Asia and South America, Eric can now add Director of a university to a list of vocations that includes missile propulsion design in California, bartending in Greece, stone construction in Spain, and designing landmark structures in Seattle, WA.  That same love of exploration has resulted in Eric leading trips everywhere from up the mountains and volcanoes of Washington and Oregon, to grand kayaking adventures in the US and Canada.   A lover of the outdoors, from deserts to rainforests, one of the few things Eric loves more than biking, hiking, paddling and climbing is sharing it all with others.

KERSTIN HUDON -Reservations Manager

A native of Rhode Island, Kerstin got her first taste of the Pacific Northwest as an intern for EverGreen Escapes in the summer of 2013.  Despite growing up on two acres of New England woods, Kerstin hated being outside as a child.  Her parents are thoroughly surprised that outdoor recreation is now one of her favorite things. Kerstin will receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management from the University of South Carolina in May 2014 and is passionate about sustainable tourism planning.

 

TRAVIS BURKE -Operations Manager, Seattle

Travis BurkeTravis has savored tea with tribal elders in Afghanistan, sipped cappuccino with reformed pirates in Somalia, and thrown back vodka with Ukrainian miners. Raised in Reno, Travis grew up exploring Northern Nevada–climbing, hiking, and biking the mountains and deserts. He caught the travel bug while living in southern Spain during university, and let it carry him across Europe and Latin America. After graduating, Travis joined the Peace Corps to spend two years in a sleepy village in eastern Ukraine, where he learned Russian, tried to stay warm, and ate too many potatoes. Seeking to merge his love of travel with his interest in development, Travis earned a Master’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University, but missed the mountains too much to stay in the swamps of the mid-Atlantic. He left DC to work for the US Agency for International Development in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, trying to foster stability at the edge of the world. After two years in the dust, he followed a girl to Seattle, and fell into the Operations Manager role at EverGreen Escapes. When he’s not running Ops, Travis can be found backpacking and climbing in the Cascades or sampling the Pacific Northwest’s finest brews throughout the region.

 

CAMPBELL DIEBOLTReservations Specialist

Campbell Diebolt

Campbell was born and raised in the Appalachian oak forests of Pennsylvania and spent a majority of his youthful years roaming about and recreating in the outdoors. While he has many great memories of those carefree days, his true love for travel was solidified during a three-year stint working in destination and enterprise development in Ethiopia. Through that formative experience, Campbell decided that he would dedicate himself in serving as a proponent for others to experience the same sense of wanderlust that captivates him on a daily basis. Consistently found with his bikes and/or skis strapped to the top of his wagon, Campbell also enjoys dedicating time to listen to music, read and familiarize himself with world happenings. Staunch daydreamer and explorer, Campbell will provide inspiration for your next trip.

 

Base Camp Seattle

TYLER DAVIS- Lead Escape Artist

A native Seattlite, I’ve been exploring the Pacific Northwest since my earliest childhood memories, escaping at every opportunity to experience the beauty that this area has to offer. My childhood endeavors to turn over every rock or log and find the creepiest of crawlies blossomed into a desire to learn as much as possible about the flora and fauna of the region as I grew older. My ever-developing passion for ecology and conservation took me to Cornell University, where I obtained a B.S. in Natural Resources with a focus in ecology. While Cornell was a perfect fit for me, four years on the East Coast taught me what I’ve always known: that I’m a Pacific Northwesterner at heart and Seattle will always be my home. Thus, after a variety of field jobs around the world – from searching for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the swamps of the Southern Mississippi to studying Superb Starlings in central Kenya – I’m glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest, escaping to and exploring some of the most beautiful environments the world has to offer by bike, ski, kayak, boot . . . you name it! I’m even more excited to share what I know with others – and have the opportunity to make a positive impact – through hands-on, exciting, sustainable adventure ecotourism.

DAN SALVATORA Escape Artist

Grew up in Pennsylvania but realized early on that I yearned for the West. Graduated from the University of Utah in Recreation and Leisure Studies and continued to pursue my love of the outdoors. I quickly realized that my true passion was to live in the mountains and teach downhill and cross country skiing which I did in Park City, Utah and Sun Valley, Idaho. I continued my studies abroad and then taught skiing in Courchevel, France before arriving in Washington State. I owned my own tour company for many years and guided over 250 tours in the Pacific Northwest, Canada, Central America, and Europe. Most recently I have focused my business acumen on hospitality /travel sales and marketing. My 30 year love affair with Seattle continues and my passion of exploring and sharing my knowledge of the Pacific Northwest excites me every day.

JEFF CARTER Escape Artist

Born overseas (in Spain), I caught the travel bug early on in life.  I’ve traveled around the world, lived for two years in Niger, Africa (as a Peace Corps volunteer), and continue to explore as often as possible. I grew up in Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, lived in Michigan (while earning a graduate degree and working in environmental education) and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999.  Since then, I’ve worked as a seasonal sea kayak guide in the San Juan Islands and outreach specialist in salmon recovery and marine resources.  I’ve hiked, skied, biked, and paddled throughout the Northwest and enjoy sharing my knowledge of this beautiful area with others.

 

PENNY ROSE Escape Artist

I was fortunate enough to be born into my vocation – literally.  I was born as the daughter of a ranger in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and my formative years were spent living in a State Park in Pennsylvania.  I have turned my childhood wanderings through the woods into a full time job at the largest park in the City of Seattle – Discovery Park.  I have spent several years leading programs in the meadow, beach, forest, or wetlands for children of all ages (2 to 92) in Seattle’s crown jewel park – allowing visitors to discover their own joy in nature.  While my natural history knowledge is extensive and well-rounded from the intertidal zone to creatures of the night, my first passion is birds.  As a Master Birder I have led trips throughout Washington State.  An ideal birding trip with me is the chance for everyone to see a diversity of species, discover something new about bird habitats, and perhaps “get” a life bird or two!

CHRISTINE LYNCH Escape Artist

I grew up in Alberta, Canada, and spent many hours as a kid mucking about in the Canadian Rockies.  After completing a bachelor’s degree in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership, I traveled to SE Asia where I taught English, ate a lot of green curry and met my husband- in that order!  We spent a year hiking and snowboarding around New Zealand and now call the Pacific Northwest home.  I love the Northwest for the lush green forests, the access to the mountains and the copious amount of great coffee.  I have had the great fortune of combining my passion for the natural world with my work and have held a diverse range of jobs from Park Ranger to Naturalist to Snowboard Instructor.  When I am not sharing my love of this landscape with clients, or leading youth in the backcountry, I can be found running, biking, hiking, or working on expanding my knowledge of the local microbrew culture!

MARTIN WENTZEL– Escape Artist

As a native of the Pacific Northwest, Marty has long enjoyed exploring the waterways and mountains of the Puget Sound region.  He attended the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, earning a BA in Liberal Arts in 2000.  His love of working in the outdoors has brought him to many exciting new frontiers including; Colorado’s Rocky mountains as a chair lift operator, and the rivers and lakes of Washington while working for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Marty spent 10 years living on Hawaii’s Big Island, where he began his career as a naturalist guide.  He lead bike rides and hiking tours through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, guiding groups within feet of active lava surface flows of Kilauea volcano. Marty’s travel adventures have brought him to the beaches and jungles of Thailand, and the pristine wilderness of Alaska.  But his most exciting adventure of all began on New Years day of 2011 when he welcomed his first daughter Milan into the world.  Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Marty is in his element leading tours of the gems of Cascadia and is excited to share his love of his home. In his free time Marty enjoys spending time with his family, making Thai food and teaching his daughter how to play soccer and skateboard.

SHAWNA SHERMAN - Escape Artist, Team Building Facilitator

Early in life Shawna could be found in the fields, woods, or knee-deep in Maine tidal pools checking out wandering sea life. After growing up, she wandered four continents and settled in Washington State twelve years ago. Shawna is most at home wherever nature is. Her fondest interests include exploring the wonders of volcanoes, rain shadows, and tall trees, as well as creating fresh local cuisine and stretching out in yoga class. Her degrees are from Wellesley College and the University of Washington. Shawna’s studies included those having to do with people, business, and the environment and with that she brings a passion for sharing Washington’s truly unique, natural places.

 

ANGIE SIPE - Escape Artist

I was born and raised in Seattle and developed a love for the outdoors at an early age, especially while on outings to Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. I moved to a small town in Alaska during high school and fell in love with the natural beauty and recreation opportunities. I joined the Army where my love of travel began while stationed in Germany. My first career as an airplane mechanic lasted about 20 years. During that time I worked for Boeing and then back up to Alaska to work for small companies that flew tourists and climbers up to Denali, occasionally having to fix an airplane on one of the glaciers (very cool spot to work)! In the summer of 2007 I decided to take a break from wrenching and was a hiking guide full time in Denali State Park. I was hooked and decided I wanted my second career to be in outdoor recreation. I moved back to Seattle, got my B.S. in Parks and Recreation Management, and worked for two summers as a Park Ranger at Olympic National Park before discovering Evergreen Escapes. I continue to travel at every opportunity and take advantage of the hiking, biking, and kayaking that is everywhere in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

Natasha LozanoffEscape Artist

Natasha LozonoffI was fortunate to grow up in Hawaii.  It was here where I developed my passion for exploring the natural world; spending countless days on the water as well as exploring the beautiful mountains.  I moved to Seattle to study at the University of Washington where I received a double degree in Biology Conservation and Photography. I quickly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and proceeded to learn its natural history, with my primary focus in plant ecology. Throughout my undergraduate career I had the opportunity to merge my two areas of interest, ecology and art, and to pursue outdoor recreation with the intention of sharing my passion and concern for the natural world with others.  After studying primary succession on Mt St Helens in 2010, climate change effects on wildflowers on Mt Rainier in 2012, and guiding teenagers on week-long kayak trips around the San Juan Islands I have found myself at Evergreen Escapes. When I am not at work I can be found rock climbing, hiking, fishing, swimming, and most other things that get me outside.

Kirsten Gardner – Escape Artist, South America Specialist

Kirsten GardnerKirsten found her way to Seattle in 2010 after several years working in the fly fishing industry for a Pittsburgh-based travel company.  Traveling to Slovenia every year to fish was great, but time spent kayaking and hiking through Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and seeing Mt. Rainier turn pink with alpenglow convinced her that the west coast was indeed the best coast. So she sold her things, packed her car and embarked on the Great American Road Trip to Seattle where she quickly fell in love and found her soul in the wilderness of the Olympic and Cascade ranges. Kirsten has degrees in Anthropology and History and spent several years designing and leading trekking and eco-tours throughout South America, experiences she draws upon as one of the coordinators of Evergreen Escapes International Programs.   When not in the field with Evergreen she spends her time off the grid on climbing trips through the North Cascades, mountain biking or introducing refugee youth to the great outdoors as a volunteer with the Seattle Inner City Outings Program. Kirsten also has a green thumb and strives each summer to grow an abundance of tomatoes in her garden despite the challenges of Seattle’s slightly wetter climate.

Justin Roberts – Escape Artist

Justin RobertsLike many other Seattleites, I am a transplant to the region.  Wooed by the opportunities of the city and the proximity to so many amazing outdoor wonderlands, I think I’ve found my home in the northwest.  Originally, I hail from the Ozarks region in southern Missouri.  The crystal clear rivers, limestone bluffs, and lush vegetation of the Ozarks represent my initial source of enchantment with the natural world.  I moved out to the North Oregon coast when I was a kid and was further captivated by the massive trees and tumultuous coastline.  At college in Tacoma, WA, at the University of Puget Sound, I studied Science, Technology and Society, along with a minor in Environmental Policy and Decision Making.  For a time after school I worked in the non-profit world, raising money and political support for environmental campaigns in the region.  Now as a naturalist guide for Evergreen Escapes, I’m cultivating my long-held interest in northwest ecology and human history so that I can share it with people from all over the world.  When I’m not out “escaping” with a group of travelers as a guide, I’m often out in the same areas, just pushing a little further with a heavier backpack and a night or two in the backcountry ahead of me.  I also enjoy playing music, cooking, rock climbing, and “studying” the local beer scene, if you catch my drift.  I look forward to continuing to see the seasons change in Washington’s beautiful parks and to share that beauty with you!

BaseCamp Portland

JEFF PIETKAOperations Manager, Lead Escape Artist 

Born and raised in Portland, OR, when Jeff studied International Affairs and Geography in Washington, D.C. he had an eye on working in the foreign service – being a naturalist and tour leader was nowhere on his map. But upon graduation, his father asked: “So, what was the most important thing you learned back East?” And after a moment’s contemplation, he replied: “That I belong back West.” Travel became a central theme in Jeff’s life, and he learned quickly that a good guide can make or break a traveler’s experience. Inspired by his own travel experiences with guides both skilled and dubious, he started his interpretive guiding career in Southeast Alaska, and branched out year by year, working in the Pacific Northwest, then Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and British Columbia. Jeff is a National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide, and has learned from some of the best around as an Interpretive Ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in ’09 and ’10. After seven years guiding at all latitudes from 30 to 60 degrees North latitude, he has returned to his roots in the Portland region – smack in the middle at about 45 North – where he is prepared to put the places that are nearest and dearest to him on center stage and make them shine for you.

KIERON WEIDNER Escape Artist

As a kid I was constantly in the outdoors. Twelve years in Boy Scouts and growing up in rural Wisconsin provided plenty of opportunities to explore all kinds of outdoor recreation. In high school, I logged hundreds of hours canoeing in Canada, hiking the Rockies, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, and just about anything else I could do outside. At the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I earned a degree in Biology with a focus on Environmental Studies, Landscape Ecology and Conservation and spent a semester studying Tropical Ecology and traveling in Costa Rica and Panamá.  I also participated in a UNESCO program in Europe in which I learned how cultural and political factors affect natural resource management.  Since college I’ve further broadened my knowledge of the natural world via work with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Washington State Department of Ecology, and most recently, EverGreen Escapes. I have lived, worked and played in a full spectrum of environments from deserts to rain forests and in addition to learning the natural history of a place, it has also been my hobby to explore the recreational opportunities that exist there as well. I love to share my knowledge and thirst for adventure with any who are willing to take the road less traveled and gain enlightenment through nature.

LAURENCE COTTON Escape Artist

I have worked in the field of international humanitarian assistance, served in state government, directed nonprofit organizations, produced and hosted programs for public radio and public television. From my early academic training in cultural anthropology environmental studies, film and photography at Hampshire College to the present time, my love and passion for the natural world for regional history have proven to be an abiding interest. After moving from Boston to Portland in 1995 and serving as Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, I returned to my earlier interests. A recent project detailed the story of the Nez Perce War. A current project focuses on the Olmsted park legacy, nationwide and here in the Pacific Northwest. I contributed to the planning of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, provided content to the Confluence Project, under the guidance of landscape architect Maya Lin, served as Board President of Columbia Riverkeeper, and I continue to serve as historian and naturalist on board a sternwheeler, taking passengers on week-long journeys along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. An avid outdoor recreationalist, I also consult in the fields of cultural, heritage and eco-tourism. I am all about engendering a sense of place. As I tell tales from the “Oregon Country” I also strive to provide some gentle education about the cultural history and natural history of this unique part of the world, and to encourage all, residents and visitors alike, to treasure and protect its heritage.

KAPPER RICHMOND- Escape Artist

Kapper Richmond PhotoI was brought into this world on a sled pulled behind polar bears in the depths of Alaska, while my mother and father were roaming the globe in search of a place to call home. After fishing, hunting, hiking and backpacking in one of the most remote corners of the world, I left Alaska at 18 and joined the military. I spent five and a half years in the Marine Corps and several continents later began my own wandering – now my explorations are self-selected and self-guided! These travels took me up and down the West Coast by foot, thumb, plane and train until I set up shop in the Portland area, which I now call home. I continued my outdoor pursuits while attending college at Western Washington University where I earned my Bachelor’s of Arts in Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education on top of an Associate’s Degree in Fitness Training. I began to learn the arts of tracking, the essentials of wild edible and medicinal plants, fire by friction, and other so-called primitive ways of life (not to mention other technical skills such as ice climbing, mountaineering, and rock climbing). I continue to expand my base of knowledge while sharing it with anyone that wants to learn, as I believe the only way to fully appreciate and protect our natural world is to spend time with her, and learn to love.

KELSEY IVEYLogistics Specialist, Escape Artist 

Trail to terroir, Kelsey is a buzz for the bountiful Pacific Northwest. Growing up in Olympia, Washington along the shores of the Puget Sound and evergreen forests of the Cascades Mountains, she learned to love the outdoors at an early age. From her parent’s backpack as a babe to donning her own, Kelsey summited her first mountain at age 11 and then continued to explore the region one hike at a time. Yet while earning her B.A. in Journalism at the University Oregon, she fell head over hiking boots for a new taste of adventure, wine and travel. From her first glass of bubbly in northern Italy to the wild vineyards and varietals of Cape Town, South Africa and rich, savory Pinot Noirs of Oregon, Kelsey loves to share the grape story and the people behind it. When not in the vineyards or forests, Kelsey spends most of her time freelance writing or training for her next half marathon.