We're here because we took the road less traveled!
For the remarkable team of experts at Southwest Odyssey Tours it has never been just a way for them to live their individual passion for exploration. Well, never say never. But much more importantly our promise and commitment is this: We will always strive to explore and share with you new yet old places, make new friends, and experience new things in a new light. We've taken many many roads less traveled, 100's of years worth of adventure. And there are many more roads to share. Come explore with us!
With a heart for adventure and a deep respect for nature, Peter Hughes began exploring the Southwest during his youth growing up on a ranch in the Mora Valley of New Mexico. He's traveled many miles on horseback and on foot in the Four Corners region, particularly the Pecos Wilderness Area and what is now called The Valles Caldera National Preserve inside the Santa Fe National Forest. Looking for new adventure and inspiration, in 1994, Hughes moved to Copan Ruinas, Honduras and in 1995 created, guided and operated the original Maya Odyssey Tour which explored over 30 Classic Maya archaeological sites, National Parks, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO World Heritage locations in four Central American countries. Today, Peter's many adventures and friendships have coalesced into what is now Southwest Odyssey Tours.
Founder of Southwest Odyssey Trails
Peter's love for the visual arts, architecture and exploration began during his youth in New Mexico. He studied architecture and environmental design at the University of Colorado, focusing on historical renovation and project documentation. An historic “old plans, all new construction” project which he’s proud to have collaborated on in the early 80’s is the Frank Lloyd Wright Pottery House in Santa Fe. Then fully committing to photography he had a studio and lived at the Hacienda Los Luceros near Alcalde, N.M..
Next, based out of the village of Copån Ruinas, Honduras, Peter became the first Gringo to be officially
licensed by The Honduran Institute of Tourism (IHT) as a Cultural and Ecological Guide for the famed
archaeological site of Copån. For over 10 years he led intrepid travelers on his original Maya Odyssey Tour and photographed many of Central America's archaeological and natural wonders. Peter’s images have been
exhibited in museums and galleries, and published by the United Nations Development Program, The Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, IHT, Conde Nast Traveler, Islands and Outside magazines, among others.
Upon returning to the USA in 2005, Peter served as the lead digital imaging specialist for collections at the
University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography and as an instructor of photography at Pima
Community College in Tucson. In 2009 he began to lead tours and photo workshops into the wilds again.
The continued desire to expand and share his understanding of the cultural and natural uniqueness of and
connections between Mesoamerica and the Southwest is quite possibly due to his large family’s DNA. There are anthropologists, architects, artists, diplomats, designers, explorers, and writers, to name a few direct relatives, who have been an ever present inspiration to him throughout his life.
When not in the field guiding and/or exploring, Peter enjoys Tucson with his beautiful wife and their two
adventurous young children. A boy and girl, they both had been on their first multi-day family expeditions
before either had turned 6 months old. So it’s not always “what’s for dinner?” but “where are we going
camping!?!?” And then… “what’s for dinner?”.
Explorer, Photographer, Collaborator, Master Guide
Krieger Conradt grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has traveled extensively throughout the Southwest USA, in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. He first experienced the beauty of the Sonoran desert
while passing through on one of many driving tours to Mexico and Central America. He discovered the joy of sharing his knowledge and skills with others while living on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where he
took adventurous travelers off the beaten path to explore remote Mayan ruins, mysterious cenotes and secluded beaches.
Krieger has driven, hiked and biked many back roads and trails throughout the desert regions in southern Arizona hunting for that perfect photo. He especially enjoys capturing images of the spectacular
lightning storms that converge over the Sonoran desert during the summer monsoon season in July and August.
“It is very exciting to be out at night shooting these fantastic lightning displays, says Krieger. In the good old days before digital replaced film we had to wait for days or longer to process the film and see if we’d
captured a good bolt, but now it is instant gratification. And we really do have the opportunity to capture more “keepers”, but as always, that’s ultimately up to Mother Nature.”
Krieger has been living in and photographing around Tucson for over 25 years now. He has written for travel guide books and his images have appeared in several publications including Outside and Time magazines.
Daniel Blair Gibson
Author, Editor, Angler, Skier, Master Guide
Daniel Gibson was born in 1954 and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At age 16, he embarked on a year
and a half trans-Pacific sailing voyage in the production of a major 35-mm documentary film, Cutting Loose
(Cinema Center Films, producer/director James Lipscomb), and book by the same name (Little, Brown).
After the 15-month voyage, he studied journalism and photography at the University of New Mexico,
graduating with a BA in 1979. He worked for several years as arts editor and a general reporter for the
Albuquerque News, then served for almost four years as a Public Information Officer III for the New Mexico
Office of Indian Affairs in Santa Fe.
He has since worked as a writer and editor for numerous local, regional, and national publications, including
freelance work for the NY Times, the LA Times, American Way, The World & I, Outside, Sierra, ARTnews,
Animals, Ski, Powder and Diversion. From February, 2001 to September 2013 he served as editor of Native
Peoples magazine--the world’s leading journal of contemporary Indian arts, culture and life.
Gibson has written four major guidebooks, Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitor’s Guide (Dec. 2001, Rio
Nuevo Publishing, winner of the 2002 ForeWord magazine Gold Award for small/university presses for best
travel book), American Southwest (May 1999, John Muir/Avalon, eds. 2 & 3), New Mexico (May 1998, John
Muir Publications/Avalon), and Audubon Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges: Southwest (May 2000, St.
Martin’s). He also authored the biography Kevin Red Star: Crow Indian Artist (2014, Gibbs Smith).
For four years he served as an environmental and natural history columnist for the Santa Fe Reporter. A skier since age six, he writes a syndicated snow sports and winter travel column, “Snow Trax,” for various
newspapers. He currently serves as editor for four annual magazines published by the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Dan has two grown children and has called Santa Fe home for 35 years.
Pro Photographer, Master Guide
George Howard is an award-winning photographer with over three decades of experience photographing in the United States and across three continents. As a second generation Arizonan with a strong interest in the history of his home state, he has a deep knowledge of the Southwest, in particular the areas in and around Tucson.
His areas of historical expertise span topics from Mexican American folklore to the famous U.S. Army Buffalo Soldiers who were among the very first National Park Service rangers, in general, and backcountry rangers, in particular, patrolling parts of the West.
When exploring with George you can depend on highly professional and personalized treatment. In his own words: "I believe in providing the utmost quality and care on every tour. I want people to be more than happy, I want to help create an experience they won’t ever forget. After all our tour guests are by far the most important aspect of our company."
Backroads Expert, Master Guide
Bill Gosé is a true desert rat, who's spent most of his life exploring the Southwest on foot, on two wheels and four wheels (more or less), with a particular emphasis on the Sonoran Desert and its surroundings. His love of travel and adventure has included getting married in Indonesia, and extensive travels in Europe, Central America, Asia and Australia.
Bill holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and a masters degree from Arizona State University. He's has been in behavioral health and the holistic healing arts since the late 70's.
Bill has explored seemingly every Native American footpath and cow-trail in the Southwest. He has always had a keen love of the environment, and a desire to preserve the special ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert. In their commitment to the environment, Bill and his wife also built an off the grid, solar powered, rain-harvesting home near the United States very first designated wilderness, the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, outside of Silver City, NM.
As 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the 90th Anniversary of the Gila National Forest, Bill invites you to come explore the real Southwest in these historic times.
Native Artist, Master Guide
Artist, Master Guide and Angler Mark Swazo-Hinds also grew up in Northern New Mexico and when not in his studio Mark spends his life outdoors guiding, hunting and fishing.
His Pueblo Indian heritage, broad spectrum depth of knowledge and personal contacts in the Southwest translate to very special opportunities and experiences for all Southwest Odyssey Tours guests.
As a noted sculptor and painter, Mark combines various natural materials in his work. He uses limestone, marble, and alabaster, often decorating his pieces with parrot and turkey feathers.
He continues to shape and mold figures that bring well-deserved acclaim. His pieces have featured in shows around the country that celebrate Native American art, reflecting an artistry of solid strength and vision. Mark's work can be seen on permanent display at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.
Geo-Tourism Specialist, Master Guide
Jorg Mauelshagen left his native Germany in the 90's to explore Central America. This lead him to a seven year collaboration with a pioneering Eco Tourism company in Honduras. Serving as a tour guide and developing sustainable routes to facilitate natural and cultural encounters for international travelers he thrived in introducing international explorers to the nuances of various ecosystems and the traditions and cultural expression of indigenous people.
Jorg moved to Tucson, Arizona after falling in love with the Sonoran Desert during a camping vacation in 2002. He has collaborated with a Tucson tour company specializing in nature trips and socially/culturally relevant itineraries in southern Arizona and Sonora, Mex. Over the last decade he has experienced many natural and cultural attractions throughout the southwest in the National Parks and Monuments from Bryce, Grand or Chaco Canyons to Saguaro and Organ Pipe in the Sonoran Region. On countless trips he also found many beautiful locations off the beaten path in the National Forests from the Coronado to the Coconino.
Jorg has never stopped exploring the Sonoran surroundings and the Southwest on foot, by 4x4 or on Motorcycle and is always excited to share his enthusiasm for nature and ancient cultures. We welcome Jorg to our team of experienced and dedicated Geo-Tourism professionals!
Backcountry Safari Expert, Designer, Photographer, Guide
Dan Shaffer knows about the great outdoors and then some, having experienced the safari life first hand growing up near the Serengeti and Great Rift Valley in Tanzania and Kenya, where his brother still operates a safari tour company. So his innate guiding skills are definitely genetic!
When he migrated to New Mexico after college in 1972, he knew he had found his new home in the USA and has lived here since.
Dan’s professional background includes business development positions in printing and telecommunications and ten years of self employment in graphic design and advertising. When he travels, his camera is always within reach to capture the bold light, shadows and patterns of the southwest environment. His photography has been shown in many juried, group and solo shows. Dan has a love for this land of blue skies and wide open spaces, and its multicultural history that he is always eager to share with visitors. Dan is married, has two grown children and lives in Albuquerque.
Expedition leader, business coach, primitive skills specialist
Logan is a lifelong resident and student of the dramatic American Southwest. His young ambition drives his scientific, historical, and exploratory fascination with this one of a kind landscape. His drive has taken him to nearly every niche in the outdoor field. As a corporate leadership coach and graduate of Adventure Education and Environmental Studies, Logan works with a confident foundation and unique perspective. He has lived across the Southwest working as an environmental educator, tour guide, and technical expedition leader involving whitewater rafting, canyoneering, backpacking, sea kayaking, rock climbing and more. He has also spent time rehabilitating troubled youth as a wilderness therapy lead instructor.
Logan does more than show you the “oohs and aahs.” He believes it is important to view any landscape within a historical, scientific, and cross-cultural context. His experience leading service trips to Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni communities helped him develop this credo. Logan can tie together the mysterious, controversial, ironic, and multi-faceted stories that showcase the true modern American West.
Born in Tucson Arizona, Logan attended Prescott College, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder, a High Angle Search and Rescue Operator, an Avalanche Level II Analyzer, and holds a Whitewater Captain’s license.
An invitation from Logan: “Accompanied with myth and knowledge, every landscape inhibits or allows perspective, and that creates the culture. The views you get out here make their own people. Come and see who we are.”
European Marketing Consultant
Diana was born and raised in the Midwest just outside Chicago. She studied Advertising and Spanish at the University of Illinois. Her study abroad experience in Mexico awakened her travel bug and love of other cultures. After graduating, she moved to Honduras to teach at a bilingual school for 2 years. The director of her school happened to be Becca Hughes, Peter's wife. The 3 soon became good friends.
After moving back to the US, Diana started her career in advertising and worked in an ad agency that specialized in the Spanish speaking market. She continued to travel for work whether filming commercials in Mexico or doing ethnographic research in Texas. Diana's love for the southwest grew as she travelled repeatedly to Arizona to work, visit family, explore the region and to see Peter and Becca in their Tucson home.
In 2010, Diana relocated to Zurich, Switzerland where she lives with her husband who is originally from Germany. Diana most recently worked on a global account team at Publicis Zurich where she specialized in branding and corporate identity. Her latest international assignment sent her to Malaysia on a rebranding project. She is currently working on marketing and developing partnerships for Southwest Odyssey Tours in Europe. When she's not planning her next trip, you'll find Diana practicing German, skiing, hiking or taking pictures of her new home's beautiful landscape.