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 landscape 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. After doing that hike, I fell in love with spending time discovering trails.
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 to share my hikes with my friends and family back home in the Midwest, and a few years ago I decided to self publish 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 and am working on a third and fourth. I’m also shifting my graphic design client base to be focused on outdoor recreation and the environment so that my work can be focused on what I care about most.
Beginning my Obsession with Backpacking
In 2015, 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 the first four years, I’ve done over 35 backpacking trips.
To get past the things that make me feel uneasy, I try to learn and practice new skills, including getting certified in wilderness first aid, practicing water crossings, and striving 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.