Meet The Staff

Meet the expert, friendly, passionate adventure guides of High Mountain Expeditions. We are committed to providing the best possible trips for our guests, and love what we do. Our guides get extensive training (nearly 150 hours) and are qualified in CPR, First Aid, Swift Water Rescue, food handling education, and Leave No Trace. In addition, many have earned credentials as Emergency Medical Technicians and Wilderness First Responders.

Carrie Leonard

I am Carrie Leonard. I have worked for High Mountain my whole life, but technically only for 5 years. I am what you would call, the master of the Watauga River!
I love the beautiful scenery that surrounds us while we float down crystal blue water. But my favorite thing about the Watauga River is the challenge of Anaconda. You have to make sure that people get wet and smile for the camera at the same time. I live in NYC and work for Bogner in the winter and come and help the family in the summer. I am a true southern girl because I love NASCAR, and Dale Jr, as well as sunbathing, shopping, sweet tea, quail hunting, YMCA, and the Mighty Watauga River.

Erica Canada

I am Erica Canada. High Mountain Expeditions has been my home for 5 years now. My job for High Mountain has been their photographer.

Yet I also work as a guide in Worley’s Cave and out on the Watauga River, and love spending time out on the Nolichucky River. I went to Lees McRae College and got a degree in Communication Arts. I have a love for photography and have been in the business for 7 years. I also enjoy videography and making documentaries. I love to capture the expressions of people. I shoot weddings and parties and lived in Alaska as a whitewater rafting photographer last summer. I have a true passion for the outdoors and love to hike, backpack, climb, ski, knit, canoe, read, cave, climb trees, cook, love, laugh, and play.

Mark Russ

My name is Mark Russ. I have been with High Mountain for 8 years now. You can call me “the man” cause I do a little of everything around here…

shop manager, on hand mechanic, bus driver, Watauga River guide, and the list keeps going. I have a beautiful wife and three crazy, but great, kids. My enjoyments in life are hiking with my boys, skiing, alligator wrestling, and going to the opera.

Mike Myers

They call me Mr. Mom, but my name is Mike Myers. I have a wife, Casey, my son, Ben, and our dog, Buster. I have been working on rivers full time since 1992.

I started out on the Ocoee and have worked on the Chattooga, Cheoah, Gauley, New, and Nolichucky Rivers as a whitewater rafting guide. I have been here with High Mountain for 3 years now. I have my Wilderness EMT, and am a level II Swift Water Rescue Tech. So you can always feel safe with me around! In the winter, I am on the Ski Patrol at Sugar Mountain and also enjoy fishing.

Chris Leonard

Hi! My name is Chris Leonard. I have been with High Mountain for 5 years working but have been hanging around the family business for longer.

I work the Watauga River, which is our family float trip. I am what you call the “gear manager” on the Watauga and the “fleet supervisor” for all the vehicles. I leave the shop early with 2 or 3 other guides and we get everything set up at the river before the trip gets there. This past year, I also got my CDL. So now I can drive the customers safely to and from the river. I am a Senior at Appalachian State University studying construction management. In my free time, I love to build, weld, fix rafts, clean the buses, and hang out with my twin brother Matt.

Matt Leonard

Hello! My name is Matt Leonard. I have been with High Mountain Expeditions for 5 years now. Well since I was old enough to work. I work on the Watauga River.

I like to think of myself as the Watauga River manager. My brother and I this past year got our CDL and I am also trained in first aid and CPR. I am attending Montana State University studying business management. I am from Boone so I come home every summer to work with my family. There is nothing like having family around. I love to ski in the winter and that is one reason I went out to Montana. I am the president of the Alpine Ski Club at MSU. My other hobbies include fishing, biking, whitewater rafting, sunsets, NASCAR, and grilling.

Bradley Hauser

My name is Bradley Hauser. I was born in Lynchburg, VA and raised in Troutman, NC on Lake Norman. This is where I got my love for water.

I am an Appalachian State senior as a marketing major. While attending App State, I found High Mountain Expeditions and have been with them for 3 years now. I am a Nolichucky whitewater rafting guide with my CDL but you can also find me out on the Watauga River and in Worley’s Cave. In my downtime, I enjoy snowboarding, kayaking, musk rat hunting, moon shining, and surfing.

Dayne Anderson

My name is Dayne Anderson. I have been with High Mountain for 13 years, since I was 15 years old. I have been here in Banner Elk long enough to be called a local.

I have worked on the Pigeon River, Russle Fork River, Wilson’s Creek, Watauga River, and the Nolichucky River. Now for High Mountain, I run the oar rig down the river ahead of the trip and take pictures. I am also affectionately called the “lunch lady” because I carry lunch down and have it set up for the customers when its time to eat. In the winter, I am a ski rep. Skiing is one of my favorite past times. I also enjoy working on my house and hanging out with my beautiful fiancee Kat.

Kyle Sargent

My name is Kyle Sargent. I am originally from Ohio but moved here to the high country after I got out of the Marine Corps. High Mountain was the first job…

I got out of the Marines and I have been with them for 5 years now. I am one of their CDL bus drivers and have all the medical experience I need from the Marines. I like to get outside whenever possible to play, hike, softball, and take my wife and new baby out. Her name is Asher Kylnn Sargent and is the love of my life, besides my wife, who I have married twice! Also just to throw this out there, pink is not the new orange, regardless of what Mark Russ says.