Lisa “Deepdive” Holmes
I’m a graphic designer and guidebook author based in Portland, Oregon. When I’m not designing websites and marketing materials for clients, I’m diving deep into the details of planning backpacking trips all over the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Combining my photography, map and book design skills with a desire to share my journey with others has led me to a new career of creating books about the landscapes that I love. I’ve self-published two hiking books so far, with more on the way.
How I Got Started Hiking
In 2007, I moved from Kansas City to Portland with my husband, thinking I was moving here for the city. I 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. Obviously it had an impact, since after doing that hike, all I wanted to do was hike more. And more.
Initially, the concept of spending time in the wilderness 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.
Becoming a Blogger and Guidebook Author
I started this blog in 2007 to share my hikes with my friends and family back home in the Midwest, posting a trip report for every hike that I do. Over time, I’ve added info about hiking and backpacking basics, including gear and recipes for backpacking meals.
After finishing a six-year term on the board of a graphic design association in Portland, I decided to pursue a “passion project” and decided to design my own 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.
I wanted to see if I could design a new style of hiking book that was more visual, with color photos and detailed maps not seen in most other guide books. Now I have two hiking books and am working on a third and fourth.
Beginning my Obsession with Backpacking
In 2015, I went on my first ever backpacking trip. I’d been leading hikes for women through Meetup for a couple of years, and I met people who went to places that I’d never been and didn’t think I was capable of getting to. As little as two years before my first backpack, I swore that I would never do it. I didn’t think I could handle carrying the weight, and I wasn’t sure about staying overnight in the wilderness. But the photos and stories that my friends shared convinced me to give it a try, and I’ve been obsessed with backpacking ever since.
Over the next four years, I led over 35 women-only backpacking trips to locations throughout Oregon and Washington. Every winter, I research destinations and then jam-pack my calendar for the next year with adventures. Now I can’t imagine life without spending as much time as possible in the outdoors, preferably with a pack on my back.
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.