Being a native Calgarian, Marcy’s had the privilege of experiencing the Canadian Rockies from a very young age. Growing up as an Alpine ski racer and cyclist, she played in the mountains on a weekly basis. It was a natural progression to attend the University of Calgary and major in Outdoor Pursuits. Marcy received her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. Along with coaching and interpretive certifications, she’s inspired to educate Austin-Lehman’s guests on the regional and natural ecosystems they explore. Her huge love for guiding and working in the outdoors has fostered 14 years of guiding Austin-Lehman trips which have taken her from Canada all the way down through the Western United States to Mexico and Belize. Traveling is a huge passion of Marcy’s. She has visited Asia 4 times as well as Europe and Central America.
For the past 7 years, Marcy has been guiding with her husband, Carl. Marcy and Carl have recently entered a new stage in life – starting a family. They are now alternating trips. Currently, they spend their winters in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico and their summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are blessed to have a two year old son, Otis. He is keen on adventuring with Marcy and Carl and doesn’t mind his car seat during the epic drive from Canada to southern Mexico every year.Trips Guided by Marcy Lee-McLellan:
Marcy's Guide Survey:
What’s your favorite vacation destination?
SE Asia if I’m traveling by plane and Mexico if I’m driving and have lots of time.
What’s your favorite hike?
Cerro Ometepe in Nicaragua. It’s an active volcano and at the time there was no designated trail, so we had a lot of bush wacking. At the top there was crazy vegetation - large leafed plants which I had never seen before, and on the way down howler monkeys greeted us. Not to mention it was an epic day starting at 4am and finishing by 8pm.
What’s your favorite bike ride?
I still get a kick out of the Canadian Rockies family bike ride on day 1, the Evan Thomas bike trail. One could easily come to the conclusion that fairies and gnomes do exist in the forest. Plus, there are always edible flowers along the way and both kids and adults love the ride.
What’s your favorite trip to guide?
Anywhere in the Canadian Rockies.
I love sharing the backyard where I grew up. It’s a privilege to see the majestic Canadian Rockies through my guest’s eyes, and it also gives me a greater appreciation for home.
What do you do that makes a guest’s vacation special?
From the moment I meet my guests, I’m constantly observing and listening to how I can facilitate an awesome adventure. I like to go the extra mile, taking care of the subtle details, ensuring the activities are safe and fun, while educating our guests about the area that we are discovering. One of my goals is to send our guests back home feeling more confident in mountain terrain; this gets them stoked for more ALA trips.
Favorite Movie: Amilee for feel good and Ong Bak for martial arts action.
Favorite Book: There are so many but these are a few that have had significant impact on me: To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
Favorite Song: I love any kind of music that gets me up and dancing.
Describe the most amazing experience you’ve had while guiding a trip:
This is a hard question to answer because every ALA trip is memorable. An amazing ALA experience is a combination of meeting new friends, living and breathing the natural splendors, whether it be viewing wild life or walking through meadows of wild flowers. Not to mention dining on healthy, gourmet meals and staying at quaint accommodations. One trip that does stand out for me was guiding a custom group called “Cycle for Sight.” This particular tour was a group of cyclists riding to raise money to build eye clinics in Costa Rica. By the end of the week, my abs were so sore from laughing 24/7, and I thought it was cool knowing that every time our legs were spinning, funds were being raised to help the well being of others. Custom trips are unique; sometimes you have families of three generations traveling together.
When did you first catch the travel bug?
At a young age I enjoyed camping trips with my family. For overseas travel, it was after my Grandma took me to China to visit the village where my Great Grandfather was born. From that adventure, I had a curiosity for Asia which brought me back 4 times. Now my focus is on Mexico where my husband, son, and I are relocating to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.
What are your hobbies?
Traveling/road trips, learning Spanish, climbing, surfing, snowboarding, cooking, yoga and playing with my favorite two guys: Carl, my husband and Otis, my son.