Owner/Operator Charlie Owens’ love of hiking began in 1978 with his first “Volks-March” in the Bavarian countryside on the outskirts of Fulda in what was then West Germany (see photo of his first achievement medal for hiking on our Facebook Page). The son of a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army, Charlie’s first transatlantic flight came in 1972 and he’s been on the road ever since. Six years of living in Bavaria, combined with numerous childhood trips to Switzerland and Austria, instilled in him a lifelong love of Alpine living, language, culture, and people. Charlie’s list of international hiking destinations includes Europe, Central America, the Hawaiian Islands, the Middle East, and North Africa. Give him a call. Other than his beautiful daughter, Ella, hiking and travel are his favorite topics!
Local Expert and Team Leader Taoko Ishida is of unique German/Japanese origin and lives in the resort town of Garmisch, Germany, high in the Bavarian Alps. She has been planning alpine excursions for the past 12 years and forms an essential part of the Switzerland Hiking Tours team. It always helps to have local on board, and Taoko is one in a million. Just wait ‘til you meet her!
Assistant Team Leader Jessica Lancheros is an experienced hiker from the Seattle, Washington area whose love of hiking started as a teenager in Mt. Rainier National Park and has carried her across the globe to the unrivaled trails of Switzerland. When she’s not yodeling her way from village to village in the Swiss Alps, she’s everyone’s favorite barista at Starbucks in the coastal community of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Assistant Team Leader Emery Valentine hails from Pinehurst, North Carolina and is the youngest member of the Switzerland Hiking Tours team. 2015 will be his inaugural trip to Switzerland but should be a walk in the park after recently spending 4 months at a survivalist camp in the Utah Outback! Emery is young and strong and can carry lots of extra water.
Administrative Director Lori Lewis, a Kansas City native, rarely accompanies us on our Swiss tours but rest easy knowing that she is working hard behind the scenes to make sure your vacation goes smoothly. A happily married mother of three, Lori is in her element and at her best dotting I’s and crossing T’s in the Switzerland Hiking Tours administrative department. We couldn’t make these tours such a seamless (and fun!) experience without her.