We’d like to introduce you to our exceptional roster of wilderness guides. The collective canoe country knowledge and expertise runs deep among these amazing women. Each of our guides looks forward to welcoming you to our beautiful Boundary Waters in all seasons!
Sue has a degree in forestry with an emphasis in recreation and that is what she loves to do – recreate in the woods. She worked for the US Forest Service on the Monongahela and Superior National Forests doing forestry, recreation, fire, environmental planning, and wilderness management work. Sue retired in 2017 and now spends time hiking, skiing, camping, traveling, touring, and still finds time to volunteer with several nonprofits. She delights in staying active and engaged, and helping others do the same.
Pam Wright began her outdoor adventures by camping when her parents lived on Montana’s eastern prairies. Later, her family moved and made their home in Minnesota, exploring the land of sky-blue lakes and pine forests. For the past 20 years she has been adventuring and taking others with her to the BWCA and other backcountry locations throughout the US and Canada. When she’s not dipping a paddle, she enjoys ultra-running, winter camping and backpacking. She takes joy introducing everyone to the beauty of the north country, hoping that they too will be caught in the wonder of the wild.
Anna Heil was born and raised in San Diego, California but discovered a love for the Boundary Waters when she visited for a week-long dog sledding and winter camping trip over New Year’s Eve in high school. After receiving her degree in Environmental Geography at Colgate University in upstate New York, Anna moved to Minnesota in 2016. After working for Voyageur Outward Bound School and REI, she started guiding for Women’s Wilderness Discovery. Anna is now the Fall, Winter, Spring Program Director at YMCA Camp Northern Lights, and lives year-round in Ely. Anna’s favorite part of guiding is sharing her love of camping while allowing space on trips for both introspection and laughter.
Martha has loved the Boundary Waters and Quetico since first encountering them in 1971 as a student on a five-week Minnesota Outward Bound Course. She spent decades checking the want ads in Ely, MN and other communities surrounding the BWCA looking for a scientist job that would keep body and soul together plus provide for retirement. Although she failed in that original mission, she spent 18 “seasons” instructing for Voyageur Outward Bound School plus another 10 seasons canoeing with friends while accumulating retirement funds as a research scientist and later as an outdoor program administrator. Now she has retired to Ely and guides a few WWD trips each year for pure enjoyment. You are guaranteed a happy guide with Martha.
Elsa grew up in the Twin Cities but was fortunate to spend much of her summers exploring Northern Minnesota’s woods and waters. She’s been taking trips into the Boundary Waters for as long as she can remember and loves sharing in the beauty and curiosity that the wilderness fosters. She holds a joint degree in Environmental Studies and Geology from Middlebury College in Vermont, and this will be her fourth summer planning canoe trips for BWCA visitors at Ely Outfitting Company. She spent this past winter guiding dogsled trips and taking advantage of everything the snow season has to offer. Some her favorite things on trail include watching dragonflies at dusk, the smell of a fresh fire, and the patterns paddle strokes leave on the water’s surface.
Bridget grew up on the shores of Lake of the Woods and spent her childhood fishing the lake’s Minnesota waters with her family, and her middle and high school years paddling the lake’s Ontario waters with a summer camp called Laketrails. She spent five summer seasons at Laketrails guiding trips for teenagers, exploring the remote and largely unexplored forests, lakes and bogs, teaching her campers to love the lake she grew up on and grow confident in building their wilderness skill sets. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a degree in business & entrepreneurship, and now lives in Duluth, MN working as an interior designer at a residential remodeling company. While she considers canoeing & canoe-tripping her greatest love, she also loves backpacking, cross-country skiing, cooking, fishing Minnesota’s lakes & streams, trail running, and film photography.