If you’ve made it to this page, that means you are for one reason or another interested in seeing the faces behind Quetzaltrekkers (and I can’t blame you). All current, past, and future guides volunteer for a minimum of three months- and no one is paid a centavo! We’ve been functioning this way for over twenty years now, and we think most would agree that this is pretty incredible. Read on to get to know us all a little!
Although vertically challenged herself, Kendall Ahern does not let her small stature get in the way of daring alpinist and tree climbing feats (she may just need a boost to get her started). Just a kid from Akron, this city girl doesn’t raise an eyebrow at mud, bugs, rain, a thousand dirty dishes, nor being almost blown off the summit of Tajumulco. Decked out in badass military pants, tattoos, and piercings, Kendall is continuously looking for ways to, help as many people as possible and make no excuses to ever be bored. From volunteering in a multiple disability classroom by day to coaching girls’ softball by night, she’s now here in Xela helping the children of Guatemala. If you have the chance to climb to the highest point in Central America with her- please hold her down- we definitely need her multi-skill set here at QT (including her ability to whip up beautiful hand drawn posters in under 5 minutes).
From the far reaches of exotic Nebraska, Dylan Horrocks, a Peace Corps volunteer of the impenetrable Panamanian jungle, comes to the highlands of Guatemala to retire in familiar surroundings: corn. He feels at home in the Guate cornfields, with his impeccable Spanish and ability to pick up “Good morning” and “what’s your name?” in all regional dialects of Maya. This QT guide can show you a thing or two on the dance floor in his spare time, and if you happen to be in need, is well versed in proper CPR compressions and resuscitation of a giraffe. All in all, we find ourselves lucky to have Dylan on the team.
Kurt Speigel –a man amongst men– is one of our most reliable guides due to his 8+ years working as a ski instructor at Copper Mountain, (you don’t even need to ask: he will tell you it is the greatest). Not only a dive master, fire expert, and maths wiz, Kurt is also the leading trip adviser for great travel destinations in Honduras per his two consecutive summer’s volunteering in- as well as exploring- the misrepresented nation. If you are in his company of trekkers on either a hike up Tajumulco or a tramp through cornfields on your way to Lago de Atitlan, we can promise you that you will leave more knowledgeable than before you began.
After years of joking about not having found her true calling yet per not looking the part of a school bus driver to her students, it appears that our Abby Gale has discovered her province as a guide. After tenures leading tours around San Fran in her VW van as well as with our sister organization, CondorTrekkers, she has found her way to Xela to become both an excellent addition to our QT football team and has reserved the spot as our only guide who gets pedicures. When not busy climbing volcanoes to support the education of Xela’s local children, you will find Abby hard at work doing one of two things: diligently studying Spanish or turning our personal guide house into a home. With this happy lady’s abundance of patience and will to help others, you’ll be lucky to have her as a guide on your trek– regardless of her “giant throbbing piece of meat [being] ready to be poked.”
Coming to us all the way from the anti-mountains of Holland, Jesse Koopman is a surprisingly excellent addition to our mountain climbing team. Back from a trip to Africa after finishing school with a degree in saving the world, Jesse constantly shows he has a heart of gold and the willingness to help with everything and anything. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see him in all his glory: his [once] pink tank top, matching shorts, and monkey hat (and on rare occurrences, a glimpse of him in a cow onesie). Right from the start, Jesse’s incredible abilities in the kitchen had us hooked (regardless that the spiciness factor is just one degree below the lava of Fuego) leaving us now hopeless when he’s out trekking– unable to remember how to cook for ourselves. We are so delighted to have Jesse as part of our current QT team and glad he stuck it out through the longest trial week in history.
Our Matt Carl hails from the lovely, picturesque, successful city of Detroit, Michigan. One of our most unfortunate and unlucky persons we’ve ever encountered, he started off his trial week with a car accident– no worries, he slept through it. Thankfully, Matt is accustomed to his growing unluckiness and he stuck it out with us to prove that he is an awesome guide. When his dress-up game isn’t on point nor taking tuk-tuks to random towns over in the middle of the night, you can find Matt planning the next couple years of his life to both live and work in South America. We know that he’ll be successful in whatever he puts his mind to after stints with our sister organization in Leon and now here with us in Xela due to his stellar Spanish speaking abilities and the chillest of demeanors. Until then, he is stocked with as much Captain Crunch Berries one could ever eat and we’re all glad he’s finally learned how to use the shower. This is no joke: you’ll be lucky if you ever get the chance to hike with this veteran guide!