The HI Tribe
THE HI tribe
We have a common culture but different ancestry. our love of new mexico links us all. It is the pulse in our veins. It is our mindset. It is our inner spirit and our spirituality. It is the gift that we share with our extended families, our guests, and our kindred spirits. New Mexico is our guide and we are her storytellers. New Mexico is sacred, mothering, and feeds the soul. our tribe at Heritage Inspirations has the responsibility of sharing the enchantment of this land with our guests. We are like minded and bound in our intertwined roots with each and everyone who is open to receiving New Mexico’s gifts.
we are bound to the strength in our bodies, the clarity of our minds, the purity of our spirit and the devotion to our brothers and sisters. we are new mexico. We are one with the land and the sky. Our Heritage Inspirations tribe is one with our brothers and sisters, the heat of the sun, the drops of rain, the blowing sands, the fire in our souls and the twinkling stars above.
angelisa murray, CEO + Inspired Guide
I can remember the first adult road trip I took to Taos in my early 20’s. Even back then I felt something spiritual about the land. The dramatic skies seemed to evoke a sensation that longed to become intimate with the evident mystery in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’ve spent over two decades of my life as an active and cultural travel guide exploring and wandering all over the world, and yet no matter where I went, New Mexico called to me.
I spent a few years living in the quirky and quaint towns saturated by unforgettable characters in Pecos, Madrid, Santa Fe and now Taos. This is my home and after spending years excavating and learning from this wild place of heritage, culture and natural wonder, there is no greater inspiration to me than to share it.
Part of that may be due to this region’s connection to my heritage. Just north of Taos the surname Espinoza, my maiden name’s lineage, can be tracked from southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley and extends throughout northern New Mexico. In Taos, there is an intersection with the cross streets, Espinoza and Maestas, which are my grandparents surnames. This is a constant reminder how blessed I am to share in this culturally rich land through part of my family’s ancestry.
Working for over a decade as an active travel guide for a variety of premiere adventure companies, I guided others to experience the local beauty, culture and adventure activities of many special places. For most of those guiding years, I fortunately spent a majority of my time developing expertise here in the Land of Enchantment, through biking, hiking, rafting, fly-fishing, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing and learning about the geology, culture and history, which abounds throughout this state. The people you meet here have lines on their faces that tell many stories. They make you laugh and cry, they teach you, they sing to you, they share their colorful stories about eclectically living here, but probably one of the most inspiring truths is that there is a deep connection to our living heritage that evokes vivid stories and traditions throughout every corner of this state.
New Mexico is one of those places that is often overlooked or even mistaken as a foreign country. Many people think of this state as flat, brown and dry. It’s true, there are definitely those places that force solitude and silence amongst the sage flats, the gypsum sand dunes and the arroyos, but there is nothing dull about this vast landscape.
These tours I’ve developed are about unveiling the other truths that are often not known or seen, like the wild diversity of over 10,000-foot mountains saturated in aspens, pines and wildflowers in rich green meadows, while only 30 miles to the west the land is painted in oranges, pinks, reds and whites. Monumental rocks and earth are layered and stacked, eroded and split open, just awaiting the artist’s canvas. There is so much to share here it’s inspiring! Your New Mexico trip will change you and welcome another pace of life, even if just for a day.
My name is Angelisa Murray and I’m the CEO of Heritage Inspirations LLC. I have partnered with Heritage Hotels & Resorts, New Mexico’s most distinctive cultural hotels. Our team would love to host you on an authentic experience and creative sojourn here in New Mexico and imbue the spirit of New Mexico in you, that has so attracted us. I look forward to sharing many of the secrets of this colorfully dynamic, diverse, spiritual and multicultural place with you!
Noah Blessey, Director of Operations
Noah’s love for New Mexico was immediate the first time he visited in 1996 when his family relocated from the East Coast. His own move to The Land of Enchantment in the early 2000s further solidified his appreciation and respect for the diverse cultures and uniqueness of this incredible state. Personal and professional interests took him out of state but he returned in 2018. We’ve been honored to have Noah guide many of our tours and share his enthusiasm, knowledge, and admiration of all things New Mexico with our guests.
A world traveler, who prefers exploring the planet’s more off the beaten path places, Noah has enjoyed traversing the dusty roads of Southern Africa, winding on a road bike through Eastern Europe, and exploring the cultures and landscapes of Southeast Asia. His passion for exploring the world and its various cultures has only solidified his belief that New Mexico is one of the most unique places in the United States.
We are proud to have Noah serve as our Director of Operations.
Lauren Hershiser, Taos Office Administrator + Tour Coordinator
Lauren Hershiser was born in Los Angeles, California and moved to New Mexico when she was only 6 years old. She grew up in Carson, New Mexico, a small town across the Rio Grande Gorge bridge from Taos. She grew up in nature climbing trees, riding bikes, and hiking in the old pinon forests. She loves the wilderness of New Mexico because it is so diverse, including mountains, valleys, forests, and rivers. She is also inspired by the artisan community and the density of creative and talented people who make this place home.
She loves working at HI because she is a part of a tribe of unique individuals who share a passion for New Mexico. To make it even better, we get to share this passion with guests from around the world by taking them on adventures in the Land of Enchantment. Lauren loves that there is always something new to learn in New Mexico from the geology, to plants and animals, to history, art and culture. She explains, “ I hope that by helping facilitate these tours I am helping to share that same growth of learning about something new and interesting through experience for each guest that takes part in a tour.”
Lauren is the Taos office administrator and tour coordinator. She looks forward to helping you get booked on your next tour of our great state.
our regional AMBASSADORS
Bobby Gonzales, Albuquerque + Chaco Canyon Ambassador + Inspired Guide
Having grown up in the Northern New Mexican village of Pojoaque, Bobby found himself frequently outside making playgrounds out of alfalfa fields and hiking nearby bluffs and hillsides. One of his fondest childhood pastimes was replicating mini handmade sun-dried mud bricks for Pojoaque’s adobe structures. That unique architecture, plus the abundance and variety of cultures and traditions, make up New Mexico’s foundation. As Bobby says, “New Mexico is magical because of its traditions in architecture, artwork, food and the passing down of stories from generation to generation, that are all reflective of our natural surroundings. I still love getting my hands dirty and it’s apparent that I have always loved this land.”
Now living in Albuquerque after traveling the world, he finds New Mexico has always been his home and there is still much to discover and explore here. He loves having the opportunity to share a slice of New Mexico and continually looks forward to showcasing his love for New Mexico with newfound friends. You’ll definitely experience Bobby’s passion for New Mexico and get an insider’s perspective with his tours.
Bobby has specially formulated the Mezcla de Culturas and El Bosque Chiquito tours for Heritage Inspirations and leads Chaco Canyon day trips.
Tyler Thirloway, Santa Fe Ambassador + Inspired Guide
Tyler was born and raised in Kirkland, WA, just outside of Seattle. He studied religion at the University of Puget Sound where he attained his BA. After college Tyler embarked on a journey to explore the world working as a sea kayaking guide, rafting guide, rock climbing instructor and bicycle builder in various places. He first came to New Mexico in December 2015, when he began to explore firsthand his lifelong fascination with the American West. He loves making connections between the histories and cultures of the people who have lived here and present day realities.
Tyler married a native New Mexican from Santa Fe and the couple moved to New Mexico in November 2020 to be closer to her family and explore the land. He loves all the outdoor opportunities in New Mexico including being able to explore mountains, deserts, canyons, and rivers. He also loves the art, big sky, and open spaces of the Land of Enchantment and of course the chile and warmth of the people. Some of his favorite places are Bosque del Apache, Bandelier and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Tyler explains, “I love to get out and explore, to form a connection to a place, and to share that with other people. As I guide I am inspired by seeing people learn about and come to appreciate a place on a new level, and helping people challenge their perceived limitations.”
Tyler is the Santa Fe Ambassador & Inspired Guide for Heritage Inspirations and guides a variety of tours.
our inspired GUIDES
Lewis Bailey | Taos Inspired Guide
Lewis Bailey is a native New Mexican, born in Santa Fe and raised in Taos. He moved away for college where he majored in Global studies at Long Island University Global. During college, he studied abroad for 6 semesters in Costa Rica, India, China, and Mexico. While he was abroad, he witnessed the effects of tourism on people and their environment, noting that it was either beneficial or detrimental depending on how it was managed. This experience drew him to the craft of guiding in an ethical way. Lewis explains, “Tourism is huge in my hometown of Taos. I wanted to be able to share this place with visitors so they can enjoy everything it has to offer in a profound sense while respecting the land and the people.”
Lewis’s work experience runs the gamut. He has performed every job in the restaurant industry as well as being a camp counselor and most recently teaching English in China. These experiences combined with his formal education and love for his hometown led him to working as a guide. “I think these leadership and guest experience roles are what makes me comfortable as a guide. I have a passion for connecting with people through storytelling, and a deep love for the place where I grew up. I’ve learned so much from guides on my travels, and this experience allows me to help people make a deep connection with New Mexico when they come here,” he says.
One of Lewis’s favorite places is the Rio Grande del Norte National monument, where he goes to hike and fly fish. He also loves the Jemez area, with all of the hot springs and creek canyons, red rocks, and lush flora. He thinks everywhere in New Mexico has something special to offer.
He guides all Taos tours inlcuding the Taos Artisan Walking Tour, the Taos Active Tour, and the Taos Snowshoeing tour. Lewis exclaims, “I am always excited to spend time in Taos’ beautiful scenery, sharing stories of the unique culture and history here, or just interesting anecdotes from my life! I can’t wait to meet you and make your trip fun, safe, and unforgettable!”
Elie Lerman | Taos Inspired Guide
Elie was born and raised in Taos, New Mexico and has a deep connection with land. She left to study at the University of Denver where she majored in International Studies with a minor in Anthropology. After college Elie wanted to see the world, so she traveled through Europe, the Middle East and Central America, eventually making her way back home to Taos.
Elie loves New Mexico for its cultural and historic diversity, outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, rafting, and mountain biking and the food, especially red and green chile. She worked as a camp counselor at the Field Institute of Taos and loves working outside and educating people about our surroundings and creating connections with mother nature. Elie also has experience as a rafting and mountain biking guide in Pilar. She loves meeting new people and sharing her passion for Taos, New Mexico, and the outdoors.
Elie guides the Taos Alpine Hiking Adventure, Taos Wild, Taos Glamping Adventure, Taos Half Day Active Tour, Taos Snowshoeing Day Tours, Hike and Kayak the Rio Grande, and the Taos Backcountry Rio Grande Hiking Adventure. She can’t wait to share her love and intimate knowledge of Taos and the Land of Enchantment with you.
Lesley Evelyn Morgan, Taos Inspired Guide
When Lesley visited New Mexico for the first time in September of 1997, she felt she had entered a magical new world. She was immediately hooked on the expansive blue skies, endless sunshine, and high desert environment and found herself moving to Taos the next year to pursue her love of art and the outdoors. By working in a local artist’s studio as well as in a Bent Street gallery, she was able to intimately connect with the local art scene and quickly get her finger on the pulse of Taos’ art community.
Lately, preserving Taos’ historical art colony story has been her passion because she sees the artists and their creations as the uniting foundation behind this exciting, unique and different community. Lesley effuses when discussing Taos, “The diversity of cultures combined with the mixture of backgrounds keeps Taos exciting! Everyone here is truly an artist and they’re constantly exploring the beauty of their surroundings as well as their souls. I can’t wait to share this ever-evolving Taos art story, and the characters behind it, with you!”
Join Lesley on our Taos Immersive Artisan Walking Tour or our Taos Half Day Cultural Tour.
Josh Willette | Taos Inspired Guide + Chef
Josh was born in Exeter, New Hampshire but moved to Taos, where he grew up, when he was only 1 year old. He left New Mexico after high school to pursue his dreams of being a ski bum, and traveled around Utah, Colorado, and eventually Washington state. After a few years of being a ski bum, he changed directions and began working in restaurants. Josh worked his way up in the restaurant world through several fine dining establishments in the Seattle area. This work experience served as his training in the culinary world to eventually become a Chef.
After changing careers and training in the culinary industry, Josh’s work led him all around Washington and eventually to Napa California. While in Napa Josh ran a catering company called Smoke Open Fire Catering. The premise of the company was to cook in front of the guests, using only local meats and vegetables, on an open fire and in a rustic outdoor setting. These dinners were often held at wineries and served as extravagant wine paired meals. “I got to work very closely with not only the wineries, but with the growers and farmers in the area, to create these unique experiences that combined a rustic feel with the refined quality of a fine dining experience. The experience is similar to what we create with the glamping excursions at HI” Josh explains.
In 2018, he decided it was a good time to move home to be closer to his family and the places he loves the most. His favorite things about New Mexico are the outdoors and all they have to offer: majestic mountains, rivers, lakes and deserts are all his playground. He also has a pretty severe green and red chile addiction. His passion for both the outdoors and for the local flavors of New Mexico led him back to Taos. After cooking and working as Sous Chef at Medley in Taos, he met Angelisa and found HI and knew it was a perfect fit! Josh guides our Taos Tours, Glamping Excursions, and Culinary Outdoor Adventures.
albuquerque and chaco canyon
Tam Chavez, Albuquerque + Chaco Canyon Inspired Guide
Tam Chavez was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. In 1988 she took her first trip to the desert, a ten day wilderness backpacking adventure with the Sierra Club. On the way to the Albuquerque airport, they drove through Chaco Canyon and from that moment she knew that she wanted to call New Mexico home. She explains, “I thought: is it always this sunny? I love the high elevation, it is so dry, I love the fresh air!!”
She spent the next decade coming to the Four Corners every chance that she could. Finally in 1993, she made the leap and moved across the country to Albuquerque. Tam’s second language is American Sign Language, so she got a job with the Albuquerque Public Schools, working with the hearing impaired. This position left her summers free to go camping in Chaco Canyon. She was such a regular in Chaco, that they asked her to move into the staff housing and become a volunteer ranger. She spent the next three summers as a volunteer ranger in Chaco giving tours of the dwellings and patrolling the backcountry.
Tam has been a professional tour guide off and on since 1995 and she considers the Four Corners her backyard. Tam loves to guide guests through these enchanted places and her passion shines through. Tam leads tours in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and of course Chaco Canyon.
Rorik Rivenburgh, Albuquerque Inspired Guide
Rorik was born and raised in Chicago. He loves the windy City and is a huge fan of the Chicago sports teams. Growing up, every summer his family took a two week road trip and when he was eight years old, that road trip was to explore New Mexico. When Rorik graduated high school his parents moved to New Mexico. At first he resisted, thinking that he was a City boy at heart, but one year later he followed his parents and enrolled at UNM. He fell in love with New Mexico and made it his permanent home. Rorik loves to hike and bike in the Bosque and explore the Sandia Mountains. He has also become an avid fan of all of the local sports teams.
Rorick had a full career at UPS and was able to retire young. After exploring the US by RV with his wife for three years he returned to his roots in Albuquerque. He is a member of Toastmasters, which is where he discovered his love for public speaking. He studied guest relations and interpretive tours at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which developed his natural affinity towards being a guide.
Rorik is inspired to share his love for New Mexico with guests and loves it when guests ask questions and take interest in the tours. He is guiding three tours in Albuquerque; The Duke City E- Bike Tour, El Bosque Chiquito E-bike Tour and Mezcla de Culturas Albuquerque Walking Tour.
Daniel Gibson, Santa Fe Inspired Guide
Daniel is a native New Mexican, raised in the North Valley of Albuquerque. He developed his connection with nature and the Land of Enchantment as a young boy when his family went on outings to their cabin on a remote creek and skiing in the winter. Daniel’s love for the great outdoors was further developed when he attended the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Wind River Range of Wyoming at age 15, and developed even further when he spent 16 months crossing the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat at the age of 17.
Daniel’s love of nature and fascination with culture led him to study journalism and photography at the University of New Mexico. Following his studies he began a career as a reporter, magazine writer, editor, columnist and book author. Among his many accomplishments, Daniel has authored several guidebooks about New Mexico including the popular and award-winning Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitor’s Guide (2001, Rio Nuevo Publishing), the Audubon Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges: Southwest (2000, St. Martin’s), and the recently released Skiing New Mexico: Guide to Snow Sports in the Land of Enchantment (UNM Press).
In 2011 Daniel translated his storytelling skills from writing to become a professional guide, focusing on Southwestern cultural, historic and scenic tours, plus customized outdoor adventures. Daniel leads tours out of Santa Fe, specifically our Santa Fe Architectural & Interiors Walking Tour and Hiking Tour in Bandelier National Monument.
Travis Gibson | Santa Fe Inspired EBike Guide + Wellness Walking Guide
An avid hiker, biker and skier, Travis Gibson was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduating from high school, he went on to study Political Economy and Environmental Policy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. He then returned to the southwest, working on various projects related to local food production and security in and around Santa Fe. Travis has explored many places both on and off the beaten paths of New Mexico. As a tour guide he is able to combine his interests in the outdoors and history and share his love of Santa Fe and New Mexico with visitors and residents alike.
Travis loves exploring New Mexico from the mountains to the desert canyons and finds nothing better than camping under a starry night. He is also passionate about the history of New Mexico and has a wealth of knowledge to share. From skiing in Taos to backpacking in the Gila Wilderness and Sangre de Cristos, New Mexico continually amazes Travis with its beauty and culture. Exploring Santa Fe on ebikes with our guests allows Travis to combine his love of the outdoors, history and education to create an unforgettable experience.
Mickey Fong | Santa Fe Inspired Guide
Mickey is Dine (Navajo) born and raised in New Mexico. Her ancestral Navajo lineage has deep roots in New Mexico which makes her feel very connected to the land. She has lived in New Mexico her entire life moving between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. She never wanted to leave as the Land of Enchantment has everything that she needs: skiing, fly fishing, hiking, cycling, trail running, camping, kayaking, beautiful vistas and most importantly – green chile!
Her initial career was as a draughtsperson for a Native owned civil & structural engineering firm in Santa Fe. She recently changed career paths to focus on the outdoor opportunities in New Mexico by bicycle. Mickey led skills clinics, group rides, and organized cycling events. Through these experiences, she naturally came into a career as a guide. First as a mountain bike guide sharing the local lore of the places that the groups cycled through. From there she became a tour guide for cultural places such as Bandelier National Monument, Ghost Ranch, Chimayo, and Taos. “Sharing my knowledge, experiences, and stories of living here in the southwest is what I love to do!” she explains.
Mickey leads the City Different E-Bike Tour, the Historic Architecture and Interiors Walking & Wine Tasting Tour in Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch Hiking Tour and the Bandelier National Monument Hiking Tour.
Sandy Katz | Santa Fe Inspired Walking Tour Guide
Sandy Katz was born and raised in Southern Minnesota. She visited New Mexico for the first time in 1997 and immediately fell in love with the Land of Enchantment. She explains, “When I got here, it all made sense. The skies, the clarity of colors, and the amazingly clean air. I knew that I wanted to make this my home” After a few more visits and some planning, Sandy moved to Santa Fe in 2005. Through her love of history and New Mexico, she joined the Santa Fe 400th Anniversary Committee, where she helped organize a series of events to commemorate this historic moment for the oldest capital in the United States.
Sandy has a BA in English, with a Minor in Humanities and an M.Ed in Education from the University of Minnesota. She spent the first years of her professional life as an educator in the nonprofit sector. As the person in charge of programming and community outreach for the Santa Fe 400th Committee, Sandy was embraced by the community and met with open arms. She took the opportunity to be a true student of Santa Fe’s history and learned firsthand about the perspectives shared by Santa Fe’s communities. This experience gives Sandy an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the rich history that Santa Fe holds. She’s excited to share her knowledge with you as she leads the Santa Fe Architectural and Interiors Walking Tours. Sandy explains, “Guiding tours gives me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and share the beauty and unique history of Santa Fe.”
Hilary Kilpatric | Santa Fe Inspired Guide + Content Writer
Hilary Kilpatric was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduating high school, she wanted to explore the world and she moved to California where she earned a BA in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara. After working for a few years as a CPA in San Francisco, Hilary decided she wanted a career with more meaning so she joined the Peace Corps. Hilary’s assignment in the Peace Corps was in Guatemala building community tourism as a means of economic development. She learned about the area and began guiding tours with the help of local guides.
After the Peace Corps Hilary returned to Santa Fe and worked at the International Folk Art Market, helping artisans build and scale their businesses. In 2017, ready for another adventure, Hilary moved to Luang Prabang, Laos to work with one of these groups first hand. She worked in tourism, guiding tours of the weaving center and collaborating with the local tourism coalition to ban single use plastics in the hospitality industry. In 2019 Hilary returned home to New Mexico. She explains, “I am lucky to be from such a beautiful place. I feel at home in the wide open spaces of the Land of Enchantment. I also love the culture and as a native have a true understanding of how it works. I am passionate about sharing my home state with you.”
Merrill Swim | Santa Fe Inspired EBike Guide
Merrill was born in Connecticut and moved to Vermont at age 11 to spend more time ski racing. She studied Studio Arts at Johnson State College in Northern Vermont. After college Merrill felt a strong desire to go out west following in the footsteps of her brothers. She had heard that the sunshine, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking in mountains of New Mexico and the arts and culture are unparalleled. When she landed in Santa Fe, she knew that she had found her new home. “Everyone is an artist here and it shows in all the details that surround us in daily life. Taos Ski Valley might be my favorite place here, but I do love that there are so many hiking and biking trails and such a variety of landscapes in Northern New Mexico. And so many delicious enchiladas,” Merrill explains.
After working in the restaurant industry for 20 years, Merrill wanted to apply her skills of creating unforgettable guest experiences to her passions of art, adventures, and the outdoors. She thrives in the outdoors and believes that spending time outside is the key to a happy life. She is inspired to lead guests on adventures where they stand on the very places that define Santa Fe, so that they can truly experience the City Different. She is fascinated by the stories, people and history of the area and inspired by the finer details of how New Mexico culture was shaped, connecting this information to the present day community.
Merrill guides the Santa Fe City Different Ebike tour. She explains, “These ebikes are so fun! It can be a challenge to travel from sea level up to our high altitude capital city and walk around to all the attractions in Santa Fe. I’m excited to show the history and natural beauty of the area, while getting into some of our adorable neighborhoods and the further reaches of Santa Fe’s gallery scene. It’s a chance to cruise the paths the locals frequent and see the city from the comfort of a pedal-assisted bike.”