OUR GUIDES
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BEN SIMMS

Adventure Center Manager
Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: University of Georgia

Ben was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and attended the University of Georgia. After graduation, he moved to Estes Park, Co and became a mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking guide in Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding wilderness areas. There, he developed a deep desire to be in the mountains and nature and to share that appreciation with others. Later, he worked as a Landscape Architect in Boulder, where he designed parks, school grounds, and state parks. Ben's desire to live a simple, authentic life in the mountains with good people kept pulling at him, so he and his wife, Addie, decided to pack up and move to Clark. In their free time, they love to do anything to get them outside along with their dog, Chief.

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SHANNAN BALZER

Guide
Wilderness First Responder
Hometown: Placerville, CA
School: California Polytechnic State University

Shannon is constantly trying to get her hands on a new adventure. She is outside from sun up to sun down, rarely seen without her Jammy Pack (music playing fanny pack). She loves to travel! Shannon has been to over ten countries and visited every continent except Antarctica. She most recently came back from a six week trip hiking throughout England, Italy and Slovenia. Fun Fact: Shannon loves Thai food!

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NATE MARGASON

Safety Manager/Guide
CMC EMT Program
Hometown: Elgin, TX

Nate is officially our Safety Manager, but that is just the start of what he does at the ranch! When not fixing things or overseeing our fleet of 14 hot tubs, or guiding, or wrangling, he finds time to pursue his hobbies that include hiking, playing softball, dancing, and horseback riding. Nate really enjoys playing on Vista Verde’s intramural softball team during the summer and volleyball during the winter. For his first job, Nate was involved in restoring a 1939 Cadillac LaSalle. He is a volunteer with North Routt Fire Department as an EMT and Firefighter type 2. Finally, Nate married our own lovely Melissa in October 2016 in VVR's Great Room!

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LIA PLANKENHORN

Guide
First Aid/CPR
Hometown: Fort Mill, SC
School: Western Carolina University

Lia is passionate about the outdoors, being physically and mentally active, and loves practicing yoga, hiking, climbing, reading, learning, and travelling. Although she has lived in the United States most of her life, she was born in Germany and still holds German citizenship

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FAITH HAMLIN

Guide
Wilderness First Responder, CPR, AED
Hometown: Bondurant, WY
School:Colgate University

Faith is joining us from Jackson Hole, WY where her family owns and operates a cattle ranch. Faith loves to ski and was part of her high school's downhill and skate ski teams. While at Colgate University she worked in the Outdoor Education department and Studied Political Science and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. We are excited to have Faith's knowledge, experience, and passion of skiing on our team. Fun fact: Faith loves to ice climb!

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DANNAH KUENNING

Guide
First aid, CPR, AED
Hometown: Lakewood, CO
School: Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage

Dannah is a born and raised Colorado native. She's reached the summit of 8 Colorado 14ers and plans to do more. Dannah loves anything involving animals especially cats, dogs, and horses. She was always the one in her family trying to save injured birds, rabbits and any other animal or insect in need of saving. She once nursed a honey bee back to health.That is, until it stung her while she was releasing it back into the wild. Dannah loves spending time with her Australian Shepherd/Black Lab mix, Misty and her black cat, Foosa. Dannah and Misty try to go paddle boarding, hiking, and swimming together as often as they can. She also spends a great deal of time working in her garden and doing remodeling projects around her parent's house. Dannah has continued in her love for horses by receiving her Therapeutic Equine Massage Certification through the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. Fun Fact: Dannah made candles from scratch as a little girl. She was even tasked with making over 100 candle wedding favors for her sister's wedding.

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MACKENZIE MUHA

Guide
First Aid, CPR, AED
Hometown:
School:

Mackenzie is joining us for her second stint at Vista Verde after a short break working for 4UR Ranch in southern CO where she worked as a hiking guide. MAckenzie loves anything outdoors and is an avid hiker, camper, and downhill skier. Fun fact: Mackenzie loves dogs.

luxury ranch resort staff