Hi! My name is Yvonne Meares and I live in beautiful Northern Nevada. This is my 3rd year participating in the 365 Mile Challenge and I am excited to see where my feet take me this year. I am honored to be chosen as a 365 Mile Challenge Ambassador and hope that I can inspire others to get outside and that I can give back the level of support and inspiration I have received from others.
I love hiking, kayaking, fishing, and exploring new places. When I am not out exploring new places, I love home projects, reading, gardening and cooking – especially with ingredients from my garden!
Make every mile a fun adventure of discovery!
Tracy Bellisine Fitzwater
I’m Tracy Fitzwater, and I’ve been part of the 365 Mile Challenge for four years, and I’ve been an ambassador for one year. I am a retired teacher-librarian, and I taught in the same rural, K-12 school district for 37 years, but I’m really a librarian. I’ve been married for over 40 years to a retired forester, and our mid-30s son also works in the natural resources area.
I never thought of myself as athletic, but when I look back over the things I’ve done, I finally came to realize I’ve been doing athletic things for years. Growing up, my family never went camping, but when I moved to the Olympic Peninsula, I backpacked, climbed a mountain, ridden three Seattle-to-Portland events, plus a few organized rides, and walked. Prior to retiring, I began a yoga practice, and became interested in meditation. Through yoga, I began training for a half marathon with one of my yoga friends, and we did two together. My friend also talked me into fitness kickboxing, and after an injury sidelined me there, I started working with personal trainers, and I’ve been working out at my current gym for over a year. It’s taken me a long time to realize that I really am an athlete.
The 365 Mile Challenge has been the best thing for me. My first year, I barely made it to 365 miles, and each year I’ve added more miles. In 2020, I walked and rode 1095 miles – a triple. My goals for 2021 include, at the very least, another triple, although my son is encouraging a sextuple (6 x 365) – we’ll see about that! The half marathon we were supposed to do in 2020 got deferred to 2021, so there’s that. I’ll be riding my bike more. And there are lots of trails in Olympic National Park to still explore – did I mention it’s in my backyard? I’m still going to be writing book reviews, sewing, knitting, doing embroidery, and practicing yoga and meditating.
Tracy’s blog: https://selfpropelledtracyf.blogspot.com
Hello! I am Lisa Silva. I am a wife, a mother, a friend, and a hiker! I live in California’s Central Valley with my husband and our four kids (three teens and a toddler!). I discovered my love of the outdoors in my 30s and didn’t consider myself an avid hiker until the first year I joined this challenge (2018). You will almost always find me on the trail with a child or my hubby. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are my playgrounds. I like to hike up there several times a month. I love exploring off the beaten path and I am always looking for new trails. I am really trying to teach my kids to embrace an active, healthy lifestyle and get them outdoors as much as I can. When we aren’t hiking, you can find us on our bikes, playing badminton or volleyball in the backyard, out for a run with our pups, or building sandcastles on the beach. We also love family movie nights, board games and jigsaw puzzles.
I am honored to be chosen as an ambassador for this wonderful group. This challenge has helped me make my health a priority, given me the confidence to hike solo, lead group hikes, get my kids more active, and keep my body moving. I am here to offer you inspiration and support.
Hi, my name is Jennifer Smith, and I live in the north metro Atlanta, Georgia area. This is my 4th year doing the 365 Mile Challenge and I’m so excited to be an Ambassador this year. I’m a Stay At Home Mom with 3 very active boys (8, 7, and 2 years old) who are generally on the adventure with me, but if I get a chance for an adult only or a solo adventure, you will definitely hear about it. We love to hike, bike, kayak, geocache and work on junior ranger badges. We love to discover new places, and sometimes it’s just as much fun introducing my boys to a place I’ve been to before. Seeing it through their eyes makes it new to me as well.
I am recovering from a pretty significant injury and will be extremely slow getting my miles in this year as my rehab is going to take up a significant part of the year. Some days when the adventure is just “ok”, my favorite way to sum it up is “but I was OUTSIDE”. I have a feeling that this will be my mantra this year. I’m praying that as I share my struggle of getting active again, that I’ll be an inspiration to you, that yes, you can do it too!
Hello! I’m DiDi McPhillips and I always loved being outdoors. As a kid growing up in a small coastal town in Maine, we were always outside all year round. The woods have been my sanctuary ever since. The smell of pine needles in the summer sun will always take me back to those days of playing in the woods and exploring. I served in the Army for ten years and that got me out of New England. I spent a year in Korea, was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state (now called JBLM) and spent the rest of my Army years in southern Arizona. After I left the Army, I became a defense contractor and my moving around continued. I’ve lived in Arizona (twice!), Utah, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and now in Pennsylvania. If you have never hiked on the Colorado plateau, I cannot tell you how indescribably beautiful it is there. I hope to retire in the northern Arizona or southern Utah area. My biggest outdoor activities are hiking and photography. I hike to get to places I want to photograph. Every time I go somewhere new in this country, I am struck by how fortunate we are to have such a diverse and environmentally rich place to live. I am often struck with awe by nature.
I feel so lucky to be asked to be an ambassador for the 365 Challenge. This was my first year on the challenge and I set an ambitious goal for myself. I wanted to “quad” the miles for my first year. I met my goal but it was definitely with the help of this whole group. Seeing everyone’s pictures and hearing everyone’s stories kept me going when I didn’t feel like getting up and moving. I love being part of this organization and hope my stories and pictures inspire others to get up and get moving.
I’m Becky Drinnen and I’m a wife, mom, and grandma living in West Central Ohio. As a kid, I loved being outdoors. While my siblings were out playing ball with their friends, I was the kid sitting in the shade reading a book. My favorite place to ride my bike was to the library. My love of exploring nature on foot blossomed when I was an adult, during regular camping trips to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the trails in the Smokies, I learned that moving my body in nature is so much more than exercise. It feeds me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I love travel, and I am always thrilled when I have an opportunity to explore a new place, especially our State and National Parks. As memorable as exploring new, scenic places may be, the miles I hold most dear are hometown walks with my husband or grandkids. Exploring our everyday world while walking and talking is a beautiful experience! I’ve learned so much about what is important to my grandkids when we spend time together walking. I’m honored to be an ambassador for the 365 Mile Challenge. The challenge is motivational and inspirational with a dose of accountability. My goal is to move my body every single day. In 2020, my first year as a 365er, I walked my 365th mile in Mesa Verde National Park in September. I had hoped to double in 2021, but my body had different plans. The miles have come more slowly than I had wanted this year. My goal is to offer inspiration on this journey we are all on to move our bodies and explore the world around us, each in our individual ways.
I’m 44 years old and full of love for the Great Outdoors. I currently live in Southern California and hiking is an important part of my life for several reasons. First of all, it is the only thing that quiets all the noise in my head. I’m constantly thinking and my brain is always going and it gets so tiring. When I’m outdoors I find myself at peace and everything quiets down and I can just be still. Also, having a stressful and crazy job where I often see the bad in this world, I enjoy being reminded of all the beauty there is. Meeting other good and kind outdoor adventurers is also a benefit. It reaffirms my faith in humanity. Most importantly, it’s been a great source of healing for me. I started hiking in 2014 as a way to cope with stress after my brother Robert had a relapse of leukemia, and it continued to help me heal after his heartbreaking death. I can feel Robert’s presence with me when I’m out in nature, and with every adventure I take and every mile I walk, I feel like I’m honoring his memory. I carry his picture with me on all my hikes. As well as my bighorn sheep buddy, Stanley. He’s almost always found peeking out of my backpack. I love exploring new places, especially when my awesome husband Fred is able to join me. I hope to continue hiking and exploring for many more years and want to help encourage other woman to get out there and find their passion.