Copyright  2014 Touch the Southwest Tours, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Our guides and travel consultants are the heart and soul of our company and the single biggest influence on the quality of the experience you will have.  Each has been hand picked for their educational and professional background, their outgoing personalities, and their dedication to providing you with the finest in personal service.


All of our guides hold advanced degrees in subjects ranging from geology and archaeology, to botany and cultural anthropology.  Each has decades of professional guiding experience throughout the region.  And, being excellent communicators they bring to life the wonders you will explore together.


Our travel consultants and event planners are experts in luxury travel within the southwestern and greater western United States.  Each has traveled extensively throughout the region, finding those special places that our clients seek, as well as producing the finest events and vacations imaginable.


We are proud to be associated with these exceptional individuals and to have them working with us.  Without them we would be just another tour company.

This is the only country in the world where today’s employee is tomorrow’s employer.

Marco Rubio

Our Guides & Staff

San Francisco Peaks

Appa

R.I.P.  2013


Stephen is an accomplished artist, tour guide and journalist with a life long love of the history and culture of New Mexico and the Southwest.  He was born and raised in West Texas where he divided his time between fossil hunts with his geologist father and riding fence on his grandfather’s ranch near Pecos. At the age of 14 his interest in the history of New Mexico was piqued with an article about Pope and the pueblo rebellion of 1680 published in American Heritage.


 “I discovered a rich tapestry of history and culture that somehow seemed excluded from my history classes at school.”  As a student he took the job of weekend host at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas, where he was exposed to the archeology, the culture and the art of New Mexico.  Stronger ties with the state were formed as an art student at Texas Tech University.  When he completed his studies in painting and sculpture in 1976 he moved to the mountains of New Mexico and became an avid skier and ski instructor.


Today, Stephen is a resident of Taos, New Mexico at work in his studio located just outside the old Spanish village of Arroyo Seco on the way to Taos Ski Valley.  His paintings are in collections around the world.  He is a published freelance journalist and makes frequent appearances on radio talk shows.  He has come to know indigenous cultures and history from an intimate perspective and has been in ceremony with the Lakota, the Apache and the Dine’ (Navajo) people.  From climbing mountain trails above Taos Ski Valley in search of wild edible mushrooms, exploring ancient Puebloan ruins to visiting an important American artist at work in his or her studio, the magic and the grandeur of Northern New Mexico is enhanced by the accompaniment of a passionate and articulate man the Taos News calls “most knowledgable on all things Taos”.

Erin Fair Lamberte

Research & Marketing

Erin is a graduate of Brigham Young University, from where she earned her BS in English, minoring in Creative Writing.  Along with work and classes, Erin enjoyed being secretary to the Poetry Club and Chinese Cultural Association.  She earned BYU's Academics of Excellence Award and later scholastic recognition for graduating in eight semesters.

With a love for travel, Erin has lived and worked in eight states; additionally, she has visited several other regions, including Mexico, Alaska, Canada and Costa Rica.  Having worked in Flagstaff with Bruce Sawyer previously, Erin is delighted to be back with Touch the Southwest.

Erin has had multiple articles published in her hometown's city newspaper (In Washington); written/edited a business training manual; composed copy for multiple websites; penned a screenplay; had poetry featured in a literary magazine; and she has taught English grammar to over 1,800 students and staff in Shangdong Province, China.  Presently, Erin enjoys posting health and organization articles/tips on her personal blog.

Some of Erin's favorite southwest experiences have been: Soaring above Sedona's landscape in a hot air balloon, touring Albuquerque, New Mexico's culture-rich city by trolley, and canyoneering the red rock cliffs residing in Zion, Utah.  Currently, Erin lives with her husband and their rescue dog Appa in Colorado. In her spare time, this Vegetarian devotee savors mystery series and films, volunteering at local pet adoption events, and, as all her friends and family know, she adores anything to do with frogs.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Albert Einstein

Every good painter paints what he is.

Jackson Pollock

Stephen Long

Artist, Journalist & Guide

When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.

Ramakrishna

Michael Masek


Mike Masek spent his childhood exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the Appalachian foothills of Pennsylvania during family vacations. His love of wild places eventually led him to the Southwest.


Mike attended the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University and has a Master’s degree in Education. His main focus of study is ethnobotany; the way humans have used and interacted with the plant world. He currently specializes in traditional medicinal and wild edible plants of the American Southwest. He is adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University and has taught programs at national parks, community colleges and outdoor education centers throughout the southwest.


His travels and studies have also taken him across North America, including Alaska and Canada. He spent 8 years in Asia, investigating the flora of China, India, and the Tibetan Plateau, including a year trekking in the Nepali Himalayas.


For the past several years, Mike has been guiding in Sedona, the Grand Canyon and southern Utah. Whether by foot, horseback, raft, van or helicopter, Mike enjoys sharing the beauty and magic of the natural world with visitors. His friendly personality and hands on approach to the outdoors make his trips memorable to all ages.

Michael Masek

Ethnobotanist, Educator, Guide

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.

It sings because it has a song.

Chinese Proverb

Rob Noonan


A native of Chicago, Rob is one of our most popular trip leaders.   His light and easy personality, boundless energy, encyclopedic regional knowledge, and his love of nature come together to make him a world-class guide.


Rob’s love of nature came to him early and has taken him far and wide.  Having explored the wilds throughout the Americas and Europe, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego to the Alps, Rob splits his time between guiding in North and South America, and Europe.  Spring, summer, and fall finds him leading rafting trips on the Colorado River, camping in Grand Canyon, hiking in Zion, and horseback riding through Bryce Canyon.  Winter takes him south where he’ll sea kayak in Baja, raft in Chili, and trek through Patagonia.  Having earned a degree in Environmental Sciences from Prescott College, this avid birder is particularly interested in environmental economics and the potential for integrating concepts such as sustainability into mainstream business culture.


Rob has worked with us for over fourteen years and we look forward to him working with us for many more.

Thanks Rob.

Rob Noonan

International Guide

Jerry Snow, Ph.D.


Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Jerry grew up exploring the great northwestern rain forests.  This is where he developed his interest in the outdoors and all it held.  During his academic career Jerry attended and graduated from;  Portland Union Academy,  Walla Walla College,  Loma Linda University,  and Oregon State University.  Jerry holds the following degrees;  BA in Zoology,  MA in Biology, a Masters in Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology.  For over 25 years Jerry taught Biology, Ecology and Environmental Health at Loma Linda University, Andrews University, and Chapman College.  Jerry and his wife Juana moved to Flagstaff, Arizona over a dozen years ago.  Since being here he has worked for the US Forest Service and Rocky Mountain Research Laboratory in the area of Entomology.


Since 1994 Jerry has been a docent at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) specializing in Navajo Indian history and culture, Hopi Indian history and culture, and archaeology.  He has curated and assisted with several exhibits at the Museum, including “Dwellers of the Four Worlds” (Hopi and Zuni kachina dolls), “Tolchaco” (Navajo, Hopi and Anglo life in the Arizona Territory), and “Stories on Stone” (Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau).  He periodically conducts tours to the Hopi Reservation for the MNA, and has been a guide to abandoned trading posts on the Navajo Reservation for the MNA, the Pecos Conference, the Navajo Studies Conference, and the Arizona Site Steward Conferences.  For years he has lectured across the Southwest on the Navajo Code Talkers of WW II.  He is also an instructor and guide to the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, Zuni Pueblo, and northwestern New Mexico for the Northern Arizona University Exploritas Program. 


As a hobbyist, Jerry is an Archaeoastronomer of the Southwest who, in 2004, presented at the 7th Oxford International Archaeoastronomy Conference.  He also presented at the American Rock Art Research Association Annual Conference in 2006 and at the 2009 Southwest Archaeoastronomy Conference.  His other hobbies include southwest history and model railroading.

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Plato

Jerry Snow, Ph.D.

Archaeo-Astronomer

Gary Tso


Gary was raised on both the Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations.  With a Hopi mother and Navajo father, he grew up learning both of his families languages, cultures and histories.  His youth was spent wandering the mesas, canyons, and plazas of the villages he called home.  These days you’ll find this father of four living on Second Mesa carving traditional Katcina dolls and guiding visitors to the many varied pre and post Columbian sites of his ancient race.


This graduate from Northern Arizona University is also a decorated Marine sergeant.  And, several years ago the Hopi Tribal Government presented Gary with the first “All Hopi Sites” permit ever issued.  The immensity of this honor is unprecedented and we are proud to work with him.

Retreat, hell.  We just got here.

Capt Lloyd Willliams, USMC

Gary Tso

Hopi Native, Guide, Katsina Carver