Explore nature's secret places with the Nissens

Their business―and romance―started in the summer of1993. David Nissen was working the microphone on motor-coach toursof the Canadian Rockies. Aleta Wolin was covering the sameterritory for another tour company. Each dreamed of starting anecotourism company someday. They met, they clicked, they moved toBend, Oregon, that fall, and the following May they were leadingtheir first trips for what had become a joint venture: WanderlustTours.

Eleven years later, the Nissens (they married in 1995) are stillleading. Not tours (their guides do most of that now), but thedirection of sustainable adventure tourism in Oregon. Rather thantaking huge groups down the same stretch of whitewater day afterday, their groups of 10 or so blaze trails over lava flows, intocaves, up snowy hillsides, and around mountain lakes―on foot,on snowshoes, and in canoes. New this year: formal catered dinnerson a mountain lakeshore followed by an evening canoe trip under thestars ($105; Jul 16 and Aug 13, or by appointment).

More than 4,000 clients joined them on tours last year. That’s afraction of the number of tourists herded down the Deschutes Riverin rafts last summer―which suits the Nissens just fine.

“We both enjoy rafting. But when you’re blasting down the river,you miss a lot,” David says. “We want to do something at a littleslower pace, under our own power, in small groups, so we can take abetter look at what this phenomenal bit of Mother Nature is allabout.”

Go play

Wanderlust Tours (from $40 for a half-day tour; www.wanderlusttours.com or 800/962-2862)

Keep Reading: