Lisa Pugh grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota and was drawn to the outdoors from a young age. Lisa felt she was truly thriving when she would go to her family’s cabin, in northern Minnesota, where she created scavenger hunts in the surrounding woods, explored the regional park, climbed trees, and spent time in nature. Along with playing sports, these became Lisa’s sources of confidence. Lisa attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where she received a research grant to study Fisheries and Wild Life. She was also on the rowing team, winning several accolades, including the big Ten-Conference tile in 2007 and named to the all Big Ten Conference team in 2009. It was through rowing that Lisa discovered her love of being on the water, and she spent the next six years splitting her time between conducting research on commercial fishing boats in the Gulf of México and leading wilderness canoeing expeditions in Northern Minnesota. Lisa currently lives in Ely, Minnesota, instructing wilderness courses year round, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
Alyce Kuenzli grew up in Rockford, Minnesota, and spent much of her childhood in the woods, building forts, jumping across the creek, and playing imaginative games of pirates. From these experiences she developed a deep love of the outdoors, which has been a central passion since then. At 16, Alyce went on her first canoe expedition, with YMCA Camp Menogyn, in the BWCAW. She was hooked and spent the next three summers going on progressively longer expeditions in Canada, concluding with a 40-day trip on the Back River. These expeditions built Alyce’s confidence and inspired her to continue exploring all over the world. She spent a college semester in Patagonia with the National Outdoor Leadership School, mountaineering, sea-kayaking, and hiking. After graduating from Beloit College with a degree in Education and Youth Studies, Alyce became an instructor with the Voyageur Outward Bound School, in Ely, MN. In the fall of 2014 she canoed the Mississippi River, source-to-sea, paddling over 2,300 miles in three months, deeply exploring the idea of her source of confidence: long-distance expeditions. Alyce currently lives in St. Paul, MN, where she is a Teaching Artist, with Upstream Arts.