Mckenzie Daigle


Growing up in Orange County, California, McKenzie never quite clicked with the local vibe. Her family was big on sports, so she was enrolled in swimming lessons at the age of five. Although she was not outdoorsy, organized sports taught her grit and discipline—valuable skills that later proved useful in the backcountry. She went to college in San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics, and had the chance to go backpacking for the first time as a part of her university's outdoor adventure program. She returned from that trip a different person, suddenly determined to immerse herself in the outdoors as much as possible. Over the next 1.5 years, she completed a rigorous guide training program and was rewarded with a job as a backpacking, canyoneering and climbing guide for the university. Besides learning to love the outdoors, attending university also gave her unique opportunities to travel and teach ESL. One of her most memorable experiences was completing an internship at the county jail, where she spent a couple of months teaching English to an inmate. She also taught non-credit ESL courses through the local community college. These experiences challenged her to consider her privilege and learn to communicate effectively and compassionately with people from all walks of life.

Post-college, McKenzie dabbled in guiding for a couple of professional outfitters. In 2017, marriage brought her to Alaska, where she faced a minor identity crisis after realizing her degree was not useful in her new small town. She spent one summer beekeeping, then one crewing for a commercial fishing vessel, and eventually transitioned to a full-time job as an account manager for a marketing agency. While she excelled at learning to navigate a more corporate-style landscape, the highly consumptive nature of her work never sat well with her. She quit marketing and sought something more aligned with her values, landing a role with Nat Hab’s Operations Team for Alaska Bear Camp.

Outside of work, McKenzie's love for big adventures occupies most of her brain space. Winter brings cross-country skiing and backcountry touring, while summer is filled with running, hiking, swimming and cycling. Recently, she has tried competing in more formal races, like running a marathon and tackling a half Ironman. Although she never aims for pro status, she finds that races are the kick she needs to stay active. Thankfully, her super active and sweet border collie makes a great training buddy! Beyond the outdoors, McKenzie is a foodie who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. Reading is also a daily ritual, and she is always open to book recommendations!
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