DiDi is a very active member of our 365 Mile Challenge, so instead of just swooning over her gorgeous photos – yet again, I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the woman behind the camera.
Q: We know that you’re an avid hiker. When did you discover your love for hiking?
A: I have always loved being outside since I was a child. I wouldn’t say what I did when I was younger was hiking, although it was walking in the woods. I really got serious about hiking when I started getting serious about my photography as an adult. About fifteen years ago I did my first trip to Sedona Arizona and the beauty of the landscape got me wanting to go further and further down the trail. Hiking was also my main reason for quitting smoking. When I started not being able to get where I wanted to go, I had to quit the smoking because I wasn’t going to allow that to go on.
Q: What’s your favorite outdoor memory?
A: My absolute favorite outdoor memory was one time when my brother and I woke up before the sunrise. We jumped on our bikes and rode ten miles to a local pond to watch the sun rise. It was amazing to listen to the birds and feel like we were the only two people in the whole world awake at that time. We have talked about it often in the years since and we both cherish that memory.
Q: Do you have a “disaster” story?
A: The worst time I got worried about getting lost going to Little Wildhorse Canyon in Utah. We were following the GPS navigation and for hours things were going well. Then the roads turned to dirt. Then they started getting narrower. Then the road was gone. It had been washed out. We backed up and followed what seemed like was the new road. We followed it for a while and hoped that the GPS was leading us to the canyon. We drove for about another half hour and the GPS told us we were “there”. We were not. This was also when we no longer had signal so we kept driving. We stopped at the top of a hill and got signal for just long enough to get rerouted to where we wanted to go. We eventually did get to the canyon but it was a bit scary to be out in the middle of nowhere hoping we were going in the right direction.
Q: What have you always wanted to try?
A: I would love to learn how to do canyoneering. I rappelled when I was in the military and I think I could do it again.
Q: You’re a very talented photographer. How did you get started?
A: Photography is something I have always loved to do. My parents gave me a Kodak camera for my 10th birthday. I got more serious about my photography after my kids were grown and I could afford the expensive gear. I love to see my progression over the years with my pictures. A lot of the hiking I do is to get to places where I want to take pictures.
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: I am looking forward to planning my next trip back to the southwest. It is my absolute favorite place to hike.
Q: Are you enjoying the 365 Mile Challenge?
A: I absolutely love the 365 challenge. It is keeping me motivated during all of the COVID-19 business. I wasn’t sure if I would stay motivated when we started having to hike solo. I’ve found there is a lot of solitude hiking alone. I still enjoy hiking with others but I’ve found an appreciation for solo hiking as well. I am on track to quad the challenge still even with the accident I had in February.
Q: You are a big source of inspiration for the group. What inspires you?
A: I am inspired by the beauty in the world. My goal is to see as many beautiful places as I can before I cannot hike any more. I figure the longer I keep picking them up and putting them down and hauling my big girl camera with me, the more I will be able to do.
Q: Is there anything that you want us to know about you?
A: I am a fourth generation veteran and I am immensely proud of my daughter who is now in the military. I never realized how much my service meant until I saw my daughter graduating from basic training. It is an experience I am so thankful I got to travel to see.
Q: Anything that you’d like to add?
A: Never let anything stop you. If you fail once, get up and try again. There is no shame in failure if you are willing to try again.
Thank you, DiDi!! Words to live by!