Photo by Sue Tidwell
Sue grew up in a small town in the rolling hills of rural Western Pennsylvania as the oldest of six kids. As the self-appointed overseer of the brood—four of whom were rambunctious brothers--much of her childhood was spent climbing trees and romping through the woods behind their house. Whether trying to save a baby squirrel fallen from its nest or searching for salamanders in the local crick, those early forays cemented her love of the outdoors, nature, wildlife, and adventure.
Sue climbing trees with her brothers in rural Pennsylvania.
Sue's catch at her Grandma's river camp
At age five, Sue’s Grandma purchased a river camp nestled along the wooded banks of the Allegheny River. The modest structure placed along the water’s edge opened the door to a whole new array of outdoor activities. Summer afternoons were spent searching for snails, fishing for catfish, engaged in innertube battles, and, her favorite, taking turn as Captain when playing “going down with the ship.” The doomed plastic boat’s last voyage was many years ago; but the camp remains, still an integral part of her and her family’s life.
After graduating high school, a twist of fate led her to pull up stakes and explore beach life in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It didn’t take long, however, to discover that surfing, boogie-boarding, and sailing did not substitute equally for the river life she left behind. Using her waitressing wages, she bought her own boat and returned to her first love--waterskiing. Instead of dealing with ocean currents and sandy crevices, she found herself scanning
Sue waterskiing on South Carolina's
for snakes and alligators before plunging into the murkiness of the state’s intercoastal waterways: a venture that, unbelievably, fueled her wanderlust and sense of adventure.
Sue hiking near Seward, Alaska
After several years of delighting in southern hospitality, drinking barrels of Southern sweet tea, and eating plenty of chicken-fried steak, her heart took her back to Pennsylvania where she remained for almost ten years before fate again steered her in another direction. Trading in her waterski for hiking boots, she pulled up stakes and moved to Alaska to explore the state's wild magnificence. Not only did she find unimaginable beauty and endless adventure, she found the man she chose to share her passion with.
Rick and Sue snowshoeing above Lake Eklutna, Alaska
Rick, an Alaskan bush pilot, grew up on a small cattle ranch in rural Idaho, thereby exposing her to a world of cattle ranching, prairie lands, rugged canyons, and mountainous wonder. Idaho, like Alaska, is filled with stunning beauty and unending adventure. After a few years, they moved to Idaho where they still reside today.
Rick and Sue overlooking Mackay Bar on the Salmon River
Sue and Rags hiking above the Selway River
Sue loved writing from an early age, starting with journals and moving on to an annual book-like Christmas letter that allowed her to share her adventures, and plenty of misadventures, with family and friends. Although she never submitted any of her work for publication, the idea of a book was always in the back of her mind. Life, however, tended to keep her otherwise engaged. A trip to Tanzania, however, lit a fire in her gut that drove her to finally put pen to paper.
Africa is a wondrous magical land. Yet it is also harsh, unforgiving, and complex. The dark continent has a way of seeping into the blood, capturing the soul, and stealing the heart of anyone who steps upon its soil. Sue was no different. She returned to the states a changed person, full of passion to preserve Africa’s wildlife and bring awareness to the struggles of rural Africans. It is with this emotion and deep sense of urgency that she wrote Cries of the Savanna. An adventure. An awakening. A journey to understanding African Wildlife conservation.
Lilian, the Tanzanian Game Scout after climbing to the top of Chui Rock.
When not at the keyboard, Sue can be found atop a paddleboard, enjoying the antics of her grandchildren, or engaged in the latest outdoor excursion with her husband.