Town: Portland, Oregon
Quote: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
About Lisa: Ten years ago, I moved to Portland with my husband, thinking I was moving here for the city and didn’t even think about the outdoors other than I’d be close to the coast for the first time in my life.
To get to know our new home, I began collecting all kinds of touristy info, and a brochure for hiking at Silver Falls State Park in Silverton, Oregon got me interested in giving hiking a try. After doing that hike, I fell in love with spending time discovering trails. Initially, the concept of spending time in the mountains scared me. There were so many unknowns. So I did what I typically do, and I researched the heck out of the wild outdoors that now surrounded me. I bought hiking books and maps and studied them with fervor. I had never hiked until I moved here. I hadn’t even spent that much time outside. And I certainly had never been a strong person. I had always thought of myself as being weak, physically. At the age of 22, I had ovarian cancer and it took a toll on my body. That was over 30 years ago and now I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, and I have the wilderness to thank for that.
I started a blog (I Heart Pacific Northwest) to share my hikes with my friends and family back home in the Midwest, and a few years ago I decided to do a hiking book. I’ve been a graphic designer for my entire career, so the book design, map-making and self-publishing were aspects I felt that I could use to tie my passion of hiking in with my design skills. Now I have two hiking books out and am working on a third and fourth. I’m also shifting my graphic design client base to be focused on the environment so that my work can be focused on what I care about most.
Two years ago, at the age of 51, I went on my first ever backpacking trip. I’d been leading hiking trips through Meetup for a couple of years, and the women in those groups went to places that I’d never been and didn’t think I was capable of getting to. A friend took me on an easy trip and showed me the ropes, and I’ve been obsessed with backpacking ever since. In just two years, I’ve led close to 20 backpacking trips for women.
To get past the things that make me feel uneasy, I try to learn and practice new skills, including taking a wilderness first aid class, practice water crossings, and strive to improve outdoor leadership skills.
I’m currently teaming on a new book about getting started backpacking with a young woman who taught me how to get started. I want to share this experience with more women and give them the skills they need to get out there and discover how empowering the wilderness can be. I love getting stronger every day, and now I can’t imagine life without spending as much time as possible doing what I love.