Jennifer will be returning for a fifth season to the San Juan Islands to share its unique beauties with kayakers and foster a reciprocal relationship with nature.
Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Jennifer’s first adventure out West was following the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark Trail on family vacations. Her travels sparked an enthusiasm for the outdoors that drew her to the San Francisco Bay Area for school. Jennifer balanced her studies and work in Human Resources with constant exploration of the California coastline, forests, and mountain ranges. Following the completion of her Masters in Nonprofit Administration, Jennifer spent a summer in Southeast Alaska training as an instructor in mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, backpacking, whitewater rafting, and her true love, sea kayaking. She moved to Washington in 2014 and her adventures in the Pacific Northwest have deepened her love for geology, birding, foraging and outdoor cooking. In the off season, Jennifer instructs yoga and fitness classes in Seattle. Yoga is an integral part of her daily life that she believes can be practiced in any environment, even on a kayaking expedition!
Most amazing outdoor and/or wildlife experience you’ve ever had?
While paddling in Alaska, we pulled over to a beach to camp and were watching humpback whales feed right in front of us. We noticed a porpoise stirring up a salmon near the whales and so did a bald eagle in a nest just above our camp. The bald eagle dove and stole the salmon from the porpoise, but lost grip of the salmon in its talons just feet from its nest. The salmon fell to the forest floor where the eagle could not retrieve it. We ran over and found the pink salmon, talon marks on its sides, flopping around on the forest floor. We cleaned the salmon, steamed it in skunk cabbage from the riverbed and foraged the rest of our meal that night. Quite a feast!
Most incredible whale sighting?
Just after finishing lunch on Stuart Island on a sunny September day, we hopped back on the water and minutes later encountered the L pod. I had heard that a new orca calf had just been born and was excited to see what we might encounter. After most all of the pod swam by our kayaks, giving us quite a show, we saw eight or so fins pierce the water’s surface off in the distance. They were swimming so close to each other in a straight line, they appeared to be swimming on top of each other. As they approached our boats, we could see that in the center of the line of adult orcas was the newborn calf. They were protecting and supporting it as they swam along. It was incredible and humbling experience.