From an outdoor bootcamp to the Six-Pack of Peaks this outdoor enthusiast is an ambassador of the outdoors in all senses of the word! Meet Shoestring Ambassador, teacher, and this week’s Shoestring Warrior, Shana Morda. When the outdoor bootcamp she was doing ended, her interest in hiking was piqued and she went in search of an adventure community to continue hiking with!
When the bootcamp ended, I continued hiking and joined many Meetup groups trying to gain experience hiking. From there, I joined a backpacking group that went on weekend trips which expanded my knowledge of backpacking.
Shana is a wonderful addition to the Shoestring Family and we are excited to have her as an Ambassador in the Santa Clarita area. In addition to being a Shoestring Adventures Ambassador, she’s a Six-Pack of Peaks Ambassador! Keep reading to learn how this two-time finisher of the Six-Pack of Peaks has gained knowledge about hiking and backpacking and now motivates others to get outside and hike. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
What are your passions outside of work?
Hiking, backpacking, cooking, and running.
Tell us about yourself!
By day, I am a normal elementary school teacher working hard. After work, I’m either at the gym or running or hiking with my group around Santa Clarita.
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
Intermediate – I started hiking 6 years ago because it was a part of the outdoor bootcamp I was going to. When the bootcamp ended, I continued hiking and joined many Meetup groups trying to gain experience hiking. From there, I joined a backpacking group that went on weekend trips which expanded my knowledge of backpacking.
Since then, I have backpacked many famous trails such as High Sierra Trail, North Rim to South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and the Trans-Catalina Trail.
I organize backpacking trips every year with my friends. I am always continuing to take classes with REI to help improve my navigation, cooking, and safety skills in the wilderness.
Which Shoestring Adventures trips have you completed?
How did your weight loss journey lead you to becoming an outdoor enthusiast?
I originally was part of a bootcamp that hiked on the weekends together. After the bootcamp ended, I continued to hike and found other hiking groups to continue my passion for hiking.
What advice do you have for people on finding their adventure community?
There are lots of people who want to get out and hike, so invite other people to come with you or connect with them online.
Funniest outdoor experience/mishap?
We were doing the TCT (Trans-Catalina Trail) and the bison were at the campground all night. One person was in a hammock and the bison came over during the night and gave her a lick.
What is your most memorable hike from the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge?
My most memorable was the first time I did San Gorgonio because I fell and fractured my arm 4 miles before the end of the hike, but I hiked out, drove home, and was thankful to just be in a sling for 6 weeks.
What does it mean to be a Six-Pack of Peaks Ambassador?
As a Six-Pack of Peaks Ambassador, I help motivate people to sign up for the challenge, help them reach their goal by sharing the knowledge I gained from hiking the peaks, or I hike the peaks with them.
As a two-time finisher of the Six-Pack of Peaks, I am truly honored to be an ambassador because this year, we are also raising money for the Big City Mountaineers, a charity that helps kids get outside by taking them on backpacking trips.
Also, I am excited to join the SoCal Hiker Team for the Climb for Heroes on Mt. Baldy to help raise money for the Heroes Project that helps injured veterans. It also has been a fantastic experience to network with other ambassadors and to exchange hiking stories in-person and online.
What are your favorite outdoor/adventure/survival podcasts, movies, or books?
I love the following books:
- Brave Enough By Cheryl Strayed, a collection of quotes from all her books
- Walking Home by Sonia Choquette, the author’s journey on the Camino De Santiago
- Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks, the author’s trip around the world with his brother
- Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, the author’s tale of his hike on the Appalachian Trail
Where’s your next adventure?
This summer, I am doing the Bishop Pass to the Kearsarge Pass section of the John Muir Trail.
The perfect s’more? (if you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
I like regular s’mores (chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows), but not burnt marshmallows. I eat them separately and sometimes together.
Photos © 2018 Shana Morda