10 Essential Questions: Shendorah Fisher

Meet Shendorah Fisher, the hiker and backpacker who fondly remembers meeting her "Hike Tribe" in our Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
November 19, 2021
10 Essential Questions: Shendorah Fisher

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: Shendorah Fisher (also known as DocShen, she has a PhD)
Hometown: Olalla, WA
Member Since: January 2021
Occupation: Director, Business Programs
Favorite Activities: Backpacking and Hiking


How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Many People of Color within disparate communities do not have the access or resources to explore outdoor activities. Additionally, the historic context associated with images of slavery and wilderness, lack of representation, and lived experiences create challenges and barriers of belonging in the outdoor community. Instead of staying the course and carrying the unknowns and fears, I decided to change the narrative by signing up for the B3 Course. Getting the knowledge, exposure, and community I needed is helping to change the landscape and bring the diversity required to move us forward collectively.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

I had never been backpacking until 2021. Initially, the motivation was to overcome the fears of being out in the wilderness. After completing several backpacking and hiking trips, the fears faded to the back and my confidence started to take shape. Exploring and learning were key to overcoming these fears, but The Mountaineers community is what keeps me motivated to return. The Mountaineers push me to grow in new areas of my life. That growth fuels my desire to increase the engagement of underrepresented communities and to pay it forward through volunteerism in outdoor activities.

What’s your favorite Mountaineers memory?

During a backpacking trip to Chilean Memorial, we decided to camp on the beach. Listening to the water at night was calming and waking up to the beautiful sunrise was remarkable. I could not believe I had missed so much peace and beauty my entire life. Connecting with others during the trip was amazing, too. I met my “Hike Tribe” during that trip, and I am forever grateful.

Who/What inspires you?

I have been blessed to have several amazing people in my life who inspire me daily. My parents and my grandparents are my heroes. They all come with superpowers and capes to prove it. They are pillars of knowledge and support who inspire me to greatness. My community of family, friends, and Sorors are magical protagonists who decide each day to jog along-side me with words of encouragement and often run ahead to clear the path for me to succeed. They inspire me to give more of myself unconditionally. My Mountaineers community, they push me to grow in areas that are hidden within me. They inspire me, to inspire others.

As a donor and volunteer-supported organization, The Mountaineers is based on community support. How have you paid to forward, or how have you benefited from someone else paying it forward?

To say I have benefited from The Mountaineers is an understatement. The experiences have disrupted my perspective on who and what being out in the wilderness means. "Explore," "learn," and "conserve" have taken new shape and new meaning because of amazing volunteers such as Cheryl Talbert, Royce Potter, and Amae Kurre who personally cared for the new kid with excitement and empathy. Service does not stop with me, I will pay it forward by working to engage underserved and underrepresented communities in outdoor activities. Each one teach one.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure is not a destination; it is a decision. Prior to Covid-19, my description of adventure would have been vastly different. An elaborate trip to a new destination or doing something that had an element of the unknown. Today, adventure simply means finding your “happy” in a way that continues to excite you. Exploration, learning, and cultivating new relationships are adventurous for me. These are all elements found in the journey to growth mindset. Now, if we are doing something super cool in the meantime, that’s a bonus and I will certainly take it.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunset views with the Cascades and Mount Rainier in the backdrop in the summer are breathtaking. Pairs nicely with a delicious meal and great company.
Smile or game face? Game. Face. Always.
What's your 11th Essential? Garmin tracking device. If my tribe does not know where I am at all times during my backpacking trips, I can't go. My parents made this requirement noticeably clear, and I follow protocol every trip.
What’s your happy place? Happiness comes from within and does not require permission or a destination to ignite. I tap into happiness at any time, any place, and however I choose. No happy place limits for me.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Homemade seafood gumbo.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Deep sea diving. Experiencing that ecosystem up close and personal would be amazing. Think I just found my next growth opportunity.

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