Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon River Adventures
Sundog Guides

Guides and Crew

SUNDOG EXPEDITIONS

The river is a wonderful place and our guides and crew will make your experience truly exceptional! Sundog Expeditions has one of the most experienced and talented crews in the country. Our guides are professionals - selected for their boating, safety, culinary, and interpretive skills, as well as their years of experience, aptitude for leadership and positive attitudes.  They share their diverse knowledge, interests and experiences to enhance your adventure! Most of all, our guides and crew are committed to creating the best and safest participatory river trip possible !


LONNIE HUTSON

Lonnie is co-owner of Sundog Expeditions (Salmon River Dories, Inc.) with Gail Siegel. He started guiding as a college student and went to work for the legendary activist and river outfitter Martin Litton at Grand Canyon Dories, in 1982, after graduating from the University of Washington where he studied architecture. Lonnie has been rowing, managing river operations, and outfitting since then. He and Gail met when they were both graduate students in art at the University of Idaho. They settled in rural Deary, Idaho, where they live with their canine companions Tundra, Copper, and Phoebe and kitty-pups Bigs and Middles, in a home that Lonnie designed and built. When Lonnie isn’t running Sundog, you can find him working on his paper-cast fish sculpture project, teaching art classes, or training to be a yoga instructor.

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GAIL SIEGEL

A native of Detroit, Gail attended art school at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and then took a twelve-year detour to Miami, FL, where she pursued a career in graphic design, before moving out west. In time, Lonnie caught her eye and they created Sundog Expeditions. Gail often works behind the scenes at Sundog but according to Lonnie, she runs the show. Gail is also the Director of Performing Arts at Washington State University and is one of the lucky few who has turned a lifelong passion for the arts into a career. Gail is a lover of animals and stays busy rescuing kittens and bald eagles at their home in Deary, ID, where she also runs the “Sundog River Trip Test Kitchen.” She also enjoys running, knitting, and weaving. While she has played classical violin nearly all her life, she is now working on her fiddling technique.

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Gail

PETE GROSS

Pete, or “Dirtbag” as he is affectionately known to friends and colleagues, has been rowing dories and guiding professionally for 40 seasons. He’ll give you a graceful ride in his boat, The Orca Bay, play his recorder in the natural amphitheater of gorges and slot canyons, and his guitar by firelight. He pursues his passion for responsible waste management both on and off the river and runs a volunteer food redistribution program in Moab, UT. Pete is an eloquent storyteller and an expert on river legends. Pete’s dog, Josie, logged over 1,000 river miles and it won’t be long before his new friend Dingo is also as well-traveled. Pete is in the process of building a house in a green community and more often than not, he can be found cycling on his recumbent bike.

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Pete Gross

Elena Kirschner

Elena cut her teeth rowing dories in the big water of the Grand Canyon, and what a beautiful smile she has. She has moved on to even grander things, including rowing for us in Alaska. Though she has a degree in chemistry, she is a naturalist at heart, excelling in plant identification and fishing. She is an expert at packing coolers and planning menus and is also well known for her famous southwest-inspired enchilada sauce. Elena works as a full-time nurse at a local hospital in Flagstaff, AZ and she also likes to knit, bike, cook, and hike with her dog Zia.

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Elena Kirshner

KENNY HUTSON

Like all the guides at Sundog, Kenny “Glacial-Pace” Hutson is living the dream. He splits his time between rowing dories for us in Idaho, Alaska and on the Grand Canyon, and at his place in but aptly-named town of Glacier, WA. Over the years, he has asserted himself as an excellent boatman, often having better runs than “the old guides.” When Kenny is not putting his mechanical talents to use fixing his minivan or perfecting his gin and tonic recipe, he works as a ski instructor in Washington. A skiing injury kept him off the river this past season but he will be back better than ever in 2017. There are rumours that he has been experimenting with novel flavors and original recipes to add to the already delicious Sundog menu.

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Kenny Hutson

SUSAN CHAMBERS

During and after graduate school in the 1980's Susan worked as a dory guide in Idaho on the Snake and Salmon Rivers. Susan recently retired from teaching health education and prevention at Linfield College, in McMinnville, OR, which has allowed her to return to guiding. She says that watching her two sons Kevin and Kyle grow up to be guides and enjoy the outdoors is one of the greatest rewards of parenthood. Off the river, she keeps busy with projects and crafts including knitting and quilting. She spends much of her time with her dog and “granddog,” Tappan and Rhett. Susan enjoys using her Spanish as a full-time volunteer assisting at a local elementary school.

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Susan Chambers

COLBY HAWKINSON

Colby has been working the rivers of Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska since he graduated from Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, with a business degree. He worked as a sweepboat guide on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River before joining Sundog as one of the original Alaska crew. Colby’s love for the outdoors is second only to his love of knowledge. He is a teacher at heart and went on to earn a Master's degree in special education from the University of Idaho. Colby currently works for the Bureau of Land Management as an Outdoor Recreation Planner in Grants Pass, OR, where he resides with his one-year-old pup, Sam. On the side, Colby enjoys hunting, fishing, backpacking, and snowshoeing.

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Colby Hawkinson

Andrea Mikus

Andrea she has been guiding since college where she pursued a degree in Outdoor Recreation in Calgary, Alberta. After leading trips in Alaska, the Grand Canyon caught her fancy and she has been guiding on the Colorado for the past 8 years. Andrea is a Colorado River history expert and is arguably the best Canadian-American guide on the river right now. She shares her original poetry and music on trips, as well as her passion for perfectly to-scale sand sculptures of major river features. Away from the river, she is a ski guide, which she enjoys almost as much as riding her dirt bike through the streets of Flagstaff, AZ. You can also find her in the backwoods of British Columbia, as she fixes-up her home (a “heritage charmer” built in 1903) with the love of her life and canine companion, Koee.

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Andrea

Kyle Chambers

Kyle is a second-generation Sundog crew member and while he's one of our youngest guides, he has years of rowing experience and more than holds his own at the oars. Kyle has been known to perform tremendous feats of strength to ensure that all boats make it to camp and he often brings his talents as an accomplished singer-songwriter to the campfire in the evenings. Recently graduating from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, with a degree in geology, Kyle continues his education on river trips, scavenging sand bars and beaches for cool rocks.

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Brenda Schweitzer

Brenda got involved in river running after a long tenure with the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, in La Grande, Oregon. After receiving her masters degree in environmental studies and spending time lobbying politicians on Capitol Hill, she realized the best way to be an advocate for rivers was to show people first hand. Brenda worked for many years in Idaho and Oregon, and now guides for us in Alaska. Her positive energy is as radiant and inescapable as Alaska’s midnight sun. Brenda also works as a school nurse in southern Oregon. Her other passions include gardening and surfing and her dogs, Camas and Sophie Jane love to take Brenda skiing in their free time

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Brenda

Matt Tolley

Matt holds a degree in environmental science and currently works as an Energy Project Manager in Arcata, CA. He also runs a kimchi, sauerkraut, and sea salt company with his wife, Monica. On the river, it is clear that Matt is a people person in addition to being a fantastic rower and chef. His specialties on river trips include “keeping the boss happy” and crafting “culinary excitement,” a skill he honed while working as a preschool chef. Matt is a Class V kayaker, but also enjoys reading, playing scrabble, SUPing, and practicing yoga with equal “Class V” intensity. He is immensely proud of his pets, which he prefers to call “Fur Babies,” including his French bulldog, Napoleon.

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Matt Tolley

Kimberly Richardson

Kimberly started guiding at the age of 19 and has been running rivers ever since. After guiding in California and managing a company in Washington, she started working for Grand Canyon Dories in 1982. Beyond guiding, Kimberly has many hobbies including tai chi, ballroom dancing, gardening, and playing guitar. She has been training in Aikido for 39 years and is a 6th degree black belt and teacher of the martial art. She is also the founder of a non-profit that works to promote core values of Aikido in the Seattle community.

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Kimberly

Zak Sears

Zak has logged an amazing number of river miles, running rivers from Idaho to Africa, and Oceania to South America. He considers the river his true home, visible in his comfortable rowing style, contagious smile, and positive attitude. Zak received his degree in hydrology from the University of Idaho and he reads water like a literature professor reads Shakespeare. When he is not exploring the world in search of the best whitewater, as a rower and Class 5 kayaker, he is teaching swift water rescue courses, building houses, spearfishing, and making jewelry. Many know him best for his cowboy-inspired guitar playing and singing.

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Zak Sears

Scott Chambers

Scott retired from a long career teaching finance at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR and now spends his time running his own investment firm and staying involved in the community. He loves how river running has become a family affair. Some know him as “the Professor,” while others call him “Dad.” He also loves traveling with his wife, Susan, and has a life goal of visiting all of the Presidential Libraries in the US.

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Scott Chambers

Matt Claman

Matt learned to loved the outdoors as he was a kid going on horseback riding trips in Colorado and reinforced by his first trip to Alaska, when he worked as a cook in a mining camp. He started working as a river guide while attending law school at the University of Texas. Matt enjoys sharing the outdoors with his family and he also like to share music on the river where he often brings his trumpet along. Matt spends his off-river time pursing several careers and interests, most notably serving in Alaska’s House of Representatives and practicing law in Anchorage, where he lives with his wife Lisa.  In his spare time, Matt enjoys biking, cross-country skiing, and photography.

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Scott Chambers