Who is that Puppy on your instagram/Facebook account?

Saisy in front of a ruin in Sand Canyon.

Saisy in front of a ruin in Sand Canyon.

West Adventures & Tours is official! We're a business...and by default I am a business owner! (Well, kinda, in reality we have no sales, no reservations, and no customers...but still, in the state of Colorado West Adventures & Tours is an official, licensed business...we even have our own EIN!) So, even though many things are forthcoming, let this post be seen as a "grand opening" of sorts!

You may be wondering who West Adventures & Tours, LLC is. (If you haven't read all about us and our mission, I suggest you check it out!) In a nutshell, West Adventures & Tours is about relationships and education. We aim to be a locally-grown, locally-centered tour company. We want to build relationships with our guests by guiding them on exciting, fun and educational hikes in the SW Colorado area; we want to build relationships with local businesses by partnering together to grow our respective businesses and the economy of Montezuma county; and we want to build relationships with the people in our town by bringing economic and empowering opportunities to them through scholarships, internships, mentorships, partnerships and good neighborly business practices. In short, if you are coming to Colorado for the "Colorado experience" we are the tour company for you because we are Colorado (and more specifically SW Colorado) to the core!

I am Helen West (*please note later posts may be written by my parnter, and father, Rand West), the founder and head of West Adventures & Tours. My passion has always been for people, history and the outdoors. I grew up in southeast Alaska and spent my summers during high school guiding tours for Sitka Bike & Hike, a local tour company in Sitka. I absolutely loved my first job: I spent those summer days walking through the Tongass National Rainforest, pointing out cool ecological and geological features, different animals or telling intriguing stories about Alaskan history to excited, curious strangers. I enjoyed my summer-career as a tour guide so much that I contemplated dropping out of college to be a full-time eco-tourism guide and travel the world. (I decided a steady paycheck and benefits would be more advantageous in the end.)

Honestly, I thought my tour-guiding days were far behind me. Last summer, I moved to Cortez to stay with my parents while I finished my Master's in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado. During that summer, my family and I somehow started talking about the tourism potential of Cortez. Cortez is absolutely beautiful (I think it's the most beautiful part of the state) and the town is uniquely situated in between the well-known destinations of Durango and Telluride. Telluride has the skiing, and high-end resort feel and Durango is saturated with bike, raft and jeep tours. Cortez, home to the Cortez Cultural Center, Crow Canyon Archeological Center and only 9 miles from Mesa Verde National Park, seemed like the perfect place to start an education/relationship-driven tour company. So, with a a full-time public school music teaching career ahead of me, I figured starting a company as a "summer job" might not be a bad idea. West Adventures & Tours, LLC is the result of that crazy idea. I am SO excited to be here, finally. I am so excited to be launching this somewhat-crazy, potentially-awesome enterprise! With WAT, I hope I can bring the passion and deep love that I feel for the SW Colorado area to my guests and fellow Montezuma County residents. With WAT, I hope I can bridge the things I love (the outdoors, history, culture & education) and give others the opportunity to explore those interests as well! 

Saisy, sitting pretty in the pop-up camper.

Saisy, sitting pretty in the pop-up camper.

Oh, and the puppy? That is Saisy, my sister's toy-Australian shepherd. She's adorable and smart and energetic. She has been on most of my pre-business/planning hikes and she is really just too cute not to take pictures of! Unfortunately, she won't be coming on the tours with us this summer, but she is everything (at least in pictures...) I hope my company can embody: fun, appealing, engaged and always ready to go! 

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