A bit about us: The evolution Ryan, Sherrill, and Griffin. Then along came Brian!
I (Ryan, aka Mr. Whiskers) was born in Colorado, moved to Missoula Montana to attend the University of Montana where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. In the spring of our senior year, my buddy and I traveled to Ak. for the ski trip of a lifetime. We flew into Anchorage at night and woke up in Girdwood to blue skies, the snow-coated Chugach mountains and a swollen Turnagain Arm. The landscape was a fusion I had not experienced before. It was there that the dream became a reality and knew I needed to stay. Fortunately, the friend we stayed with in Girdwood turned me on to the possibility of becoming a sea kayak guide for a local company based out of Whittier. A week after returning to Missoula I purchased my plane ticket, packed 2 duffle bags and Husky-Akita pup Naga, and moved to Whittier for my summer job.
From here the story is the same as many people who have “visited” Alaska; they come to visit and never leave. For more about myself and my vision for Paddlers’ Realm click here
In a wild series of interconnectedness I met a woman on a kayak trip (of course), who would later become my wife.
Sherrill was born and raised in Anchorage Alaska. She attended Smith College where she received a B.A. in Biology. Sherrill had planned on moving to Japan to teach English, but our intersection derailed these plans and we began our life together.
We both guided for Alaska Sea Kayakers for a few years, then Sherrill moved on to receive a certificate in Massage Therapy from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She and two friends opened a massage therapy clinic in Anchorage. After 5 successful years her passion for knowledge and desire to make a positive contribution to society spurred her to attend Bastyr University to get a Masters degree in Nutrition and is currently a Registered Dietitian in Anchorage.
Sherrill is an amazing asset to Paddlers’ Realm as she provides insight and guidance for dietary concerns and handles logistics. Sherrill is really the backbone that makes it all happen as she takes care of our son and manages our household.
12 years after our union, the mythical creature named Griffin was born! Despite being only a toddler, he too is a major asset: helping sort gear, accompanying us on trainings and being part of the support team.
In the summer my time is split between Whittier (and the Kenai Penninsula), and the Matanuska Valley (“The Valley”). In the winter we retreat back to our home at the base of the Hatcher Pass and regroup after the often hectic, but wonderful paddling season.
Then along came Brian!
Thankfully, demand has made it possible to bring Brian McGorry on as a full-time employee and fellow paddling junkie!
Brian and I met while taking the ACA’s Adaptive Paddling Instructor Course in Seward. We met in the course, shared a campsite for a few days, and talked about paddling constantly. Our views on safety, education and passion for the profession, laid the foundation for Brian to become an increasingly integral member of the Paddlers’ Realm Team!
Not only is Brian a talented paddler and instructor, but he is also a year-round outdoor trainer and educator, husband, father, patroller, avalanche dog owner/trainer…….
Brian spends a majority of the year on the water in either liquid or solid state. His outdoor experience began in degree programs in Outdoor Education and Eco-tourism. This led to his pursuit of coastal kayaking opportunities that now include: Open Water Instructor Certification with the American Canoe Association, multiple seasons as a US Forest Service Backcountry Kayak Ranger in Prince William Sound, and a paddling resume highlighting over 18 years experience as a guide, outdoor educator, program manager, and university faculty member. Brian has been a professional ski patroller since 2002, and calls Alyeska Resort in Girdwood Alaska home. He is now hooked on the sport of SUP, and balances guiding and teaching with just getting out and exploring Alaska with the wife and kids.