Ambassador Spotlight: Shana Morda

In honor of Women's History Month, we are shining our spotlight on a couple of the women ambassadors. First up: Shana Morda, who has been involved with the challenge since 2015.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not hiking? 

By day, I teach elementary school and after school, I'm outside: traveling, hiking, backpacking, running, walking, going to the gym. When I have to be inside, I like to read, cook, watch movies/TV, and sleep. I love reading about history and travel so the last thing I read that I liked was, “Clanlands,” which is about the history of and travel through Scotland. I love to bake and can make fancy cakes and desserts. I don't use recipes for cooking and just put together ingredients. 

What has the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge meant to you? 

I'm honored to be a part of the Six-Pack of Peaks Ambassadors. I don't look like a normal person who hikes so being able to be a part of this shows myself and others I belong in the hiking community. Yes, you don't need to have a six pack of abs to hike a peak, but as a plus size, mixed race woman, I don't normally see myself represented in the outdoor industry products or advertisements. I have been judged by others on the trail by my size, my speed, and my gender, even though I have more hiking/backpacking experience than those passing judgement on me. So there is a generalization or a stereotype of a hiker that I don't fit into. Hikers are as diverse as the trails we hike on, the peaks we climb, and should be represented as such in the products we buy, the books we read, and the pictures we see.

Shana Morda

What is your favorite hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks and why? 

San Bernardino. It is long but gradual. The scenery is beautiful! 

Share one of your most memorable adventures. What makes it so special? 

My favorite adventure was hiking the High Sierra Trail because it was beautiful and I climbed Mt. Whitney!

What’s one piece of gear that you never hike without?

My Garmin inReach so I can call for help when needed and it tracks my hikes. 

Share a quote, song, or another inspirational item that helps get you through the toughest hikes/life moments.

I love all types of music so each hike has its own theme song. My favorite quote from a song is from Luke Bryan, “Huntin', Fishin', Lovin' Everyday,”: “If I could make a living walking in the woods, you could bet I'd be sitting pretty good, high on a hill lookin' at a field downwind.”

Shana at Fremont Saddle

What upcoming adventures are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

To travel and complete the Arizona Winter Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

Share a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know.

I collect Christmas ornaments from everywhere I travel to.

You can connect with Shana here on SocialHiker as @shdaisy16.

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  1. Thanks for the spotlight! Your message about body types especially rings true. I know so many people that are active and eat all the right stuff and are still fluffy. You just can’t outrun genetics. It is so sad that this culture judges so strongly on appearances and would rather see an emaciated person than anything else.

  2. Your comment on body-type really resonated with me. You GO GIRL! I am proud to have you as one of my ambassadors!

  3. Loved reading your spotlight! Such a great reminder that we can do it even if we don’t look like fitness models. I definitely relate to that. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. I love how you talked about being a bit bigger and being a really active hiker, reminds me how little we really know about strangers we pass even if we think we can guess just by looking at them. Good luck with the Arizona Winter hikes. Brrr. 🙂

  5. Inspiring! I am impressed you can cook without a recipe. Thanks for being an ambassador for hiking. I finished the SoCal peaks a couple years ago and know you must be strong to hike. Good luck with your Arizona six-pack.

  6. I really love your message about representation. Just what I needed to hear today, as I take my first challenge tomorrow morning–Mount Diablo. I don’t fit in either to the body stereotype of a hiker, but I love to hike. It brings me joy and peace like nothing else. Keep on rockin’ those peaks!

  7. I too have a theme song for every hike, or at least a theme genre. I find rock and roll is good for tough climbs and country music is perfect for afternoon ambles! Hiking is a great lifestyle and one of the best ways to stay healthy! Hike on!!

  8. I’ve also been using music a lot on my training. I was inspired to listen to a new album for each of my workouts — so far (with an Amazon Music subscription) I’ve listened to 175 (!!) different albums. Favorite so far … Clash ‘London Calling’ and The Who ‘Quadrophenia’. Keep it up!!

  9. Being ‘normal’ is boring. Being an original is so much better, and that’s what you are! Hiking offers diversity that can’t be found anywhere else, and the adventures you have on each path you take highlights your individual story. Thank you for being a beacon in the wonderful world of hiking. Stay awesome Shana! ????

  10. Your message is inspiring to many people. Thank you for sharing. I started hiking six years ago, and I did not look like a hiker, either! Keep on hiking, and maybe we will meet on the trail someday.

  11. Your quote, “Hikers are as diverse as the trails we hike on, the peaks we climb, and should be represented as such in the products we buy, the books we read, and the pictures we see.” is spot on and should go viral. You are an inspiration, thank you for sharing!

  12. Shana is very knowledgeable and is always happy to share that. She welcomes all skill types which is much appreciated.

  13. The High Sierra Trail is also on my bucket list! I love your story and mention of the song that embodies you. I can relate. 🙂

  14. There’s a lot of world out there to explore and I’m glad you are out there in it! Keep inspiring our hiking community and your students!

  15. Awesome spotlight post. Thank you for sharing about you and your adventures with us. Very inspirational! Stay Safe and Happy Trails to You!

  16. Shana Thank you for sharing your experiences! Hopefully our paths will cross on the trails sometime this year!

  17. Thanks for sharing your story! The High Sierra trail and Ben Lomond mountain in Scotland are two of my bucket list hikes!

  18. Thank you for adding valuable diversity to the community. And I love that you did Mt Whitney! That’s one of my life goals. :]

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