Hailing from a tiny island on the Gulf of Mexico, Shoestring Warrior Jessie learned to pass the time by taking photos. Her love for photography eventually brought her out West to Northern California where she attended art school. When she’s not taking photos of landscapes, she’s listening to music (check out her shout out to Lady Gaga below) and hiking.
Jessie is new to backpacking but had an unforgettable time on the Shoestring Adventures Havasupai Backpacking Adventure. She persevered in spite of a challenging climb down Mooney Falls and claims the views were well worth the trek.
Check out our interview below to learn more about Jessie including her tips for backpacking newbies like herself!
Follow her journey on her website and Instagram.
Shoestring Warrior: Jessie Hoye
Cedar Key, FL
What are your passions outside of work?
Hiking, camping, exploring, listening to music, cheering for the San Francisco Giants and anything true crime.
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
I would say intermediate, I am very comfortable camping and have been doing it my whole life. It is really the only thing I want to do in my free time. Mostly car camping though. I hope to get more experienced with backpack style camping.
Shoestring Adventures Trip Completed:
Havasupai Backpacking Adventure
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up on a tiny island in Florida on the gulf of Mexico called Cedar Key. Not much happens there so I found myself exploring and taking pictures to pass the time. It’s a beautiful place to grow up, unfortunately not a lot of opportunities though.
Photography was my outlet and it soon became the reason I moved to California and pursued an art degree.
Last year I graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Since then I have been discovering who I am as an artist, connecting with the people around me and exploring as much as I can.
When did you first discover your love for photography? What do you like to photograph?
I was in high school when I took my first photography class and learned how to develop film on my own. I remember the feeling I got from being able to create a tangible image with my hands. It was like nothing I had ever done before.
It felt so amazing to watch the image appear in front of me, and knowing everything about it was mine.
I knew right then and there I wanted to have photography in my life forever. I mostly photograph landscapes. Something about being alone, waiting for the right light and immersing myself in the space around me. It is where I feel most comfortable and at peace.
Which photographers or artists inspire you the most?
My biggest photography inspiration is Jerry Uelsmann and Sally Mann. Anytime I need an inspiration boost I look at their work. Sally Mann’s documentary “What Remains” has to be one of my biggest inspirations. It is very honest about what it is like being an artist, how hard it is and how to come to terms with what you are good at photographing, and what you are not.
Also, Lady Gaga is a big inspiration to me. I love how she advocates self love and being who you are regardless of what people think. She also is very open about mental health and works hard to demolish the huge stigma that surrounds it.
What is your favorite memory from your Shoestring Adventure in Havasupai?
My favorite memory has to be climbing down to Mooney Falls. I was pretty scared, and trying hard to hide it. I have never done anything like that before. It was slippery, super steep and once you start there is no turning back. When I got to the bottom I felt so accomplished and excited. Mooney Falls was so beautiful it took my breath away. Totally worth it.
What advice do you have for others folks who are planning to cross Havasupai off their bucket list this year?
Get your backpack sized. This was my first time backpacking and I did not get my pack sized so it was very uncomfortable the whole hike. Also, you will be tested mentally and physically so practice a few long hikes before hand. Oh, and of course don’t let the crazy climb down to Mooney Falls scare you, just do it. I promise you will not regret it.
What is your favorite piece of camera gear to bring on the trail?
I always have my tripod. I love taking photos that involve slow shutter speeds, so a tripod is a must have anywhere I go.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment?
Last year I had my first solo gallery show. It literally was a dream come true and something I have been working towards my whole life. I am very thankful for the opportunity, it really helped me grow as an artist.
Words to live by?
“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”― George McFly
Where to next?
Cabo, then Florida to see family. And a lot of exploring California in between.
The perfect s’more? (If you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
I am not a big fan of s’mores. But, you can count on me to bring some Haribo Gummy Bears. Always a must have for sitting around the fire.