10 Essential Questions: DeeAnn Mikula

Meet DeeAnn Mikula, a 3-year member and ER Nurse from Pittsburgh who has a very PNW Mantra: "You can be warm and dry later."
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 18, 2019
10 Essential Questions: DeeAnn Mikula
Photo courtesy of DeeAnn Mikula.

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

Name: DeeAnn Mikula
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA 
Member Since: August 2015
Occupation: Emergency Department Nurse
Favorite Activities: Camp, hike, snowshoe, climb, surf, kayak, sail: I'm equally terrible at all of them, but I love to go anyway! I've been adventuring since I was a kid, and it's become a way of life since moving to PNW a few years ago.

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Some people in my EMT class forever ago (before I was a nurse) were in The Mountaineers. I hung around on the edges for a while, not joining, but enjoying the company of members until I figured I should just join. I was an ER nurse by then, and when I took my WFA I got invited to help with the class which is always a great time.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

In nursing we have a saying, "you can't pour from an empty cup" which speaks to taking care of yourself in order to have enough strength to find compassion for others. The outdoors is what really "fills my cup" so to speak. It's very important to my well-being that I get outside and connect with nature to feel grounded and whole again. Sometimes that just means going running in the Washington Park Arboretum, and sometimes it's getting beat down by surf on the Oregon coast, or sleeping under the stars in the mountains. I love The Mountaineers because of the variety of adventures and classes they offer, it takes the work out of planning my adventures myself. I'm working on my Masters of Nursing now, so I'm much less active outdoors than I want to be! Sometimes just walking the loop at Discovery Park seems like as much time as I can spare to get outside these days, but I still find so much joy in my mini-adventures.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

A snowshoe trip so long ago before I officially joined was one of my real snowshoe adventures with people who were Mountaineers. In the weeks up to the trip, I was lent gear, sent off to an avalanche course, and fully prepped by this great group of friends and friends of friends. Sitting up on a ledge at our turnaround point, I realized I could do just about anything with the right people supporting me. That's when I really understood what the organization was all about for me, helping me push my limits of what I think is possible for myself. I would have never thought I could snowshoe up a mountain but here I was!

Who/What inspires you?

I moved to Seattle from the East Coast, so I am constantly inspired by the natural beauty of this region. I definitely do not take it for granted! I grew up hiking and camping in Pennsylvania and West Virginia forests and mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and New England coasts. Those places are beautiful in their own way, but the Pacific Northwest has stolen my heart.

What does adventure mean to you?

"You can be warm and dry later" has become my Pacific Northwest adventure mantra. I came up with it on a kayaking/camping trip on one of the San Juans years ago in which it rained almost the entire time, and it has stuck with me as a reminder that adventuring is not always comfortable! Adventuring means getting out of your comfort zone, out of your routines, maybe not having hot tea at breakfast or enough pillows to sleep with. For me, the whole point is stripping down those creature comforts in order to get out to remote places of beauty that I wouldn't otherwise get to see. It's also proving that you can get by with less, and live, even temporarily, in a simplified existence. But get me that hot shower and a glass of wine when I get home!

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Game Face.
What's your 11th Essential? My tattered paperback copy of The Hobbit! I take it with me on all my backpacking trips (it's broken in half now, so if I'm counting ounces, I just take half of it!) It's the ultimate backpacking story of an unlikely adventurer just going with the flow and becoming a hero! A book at bedtime is a real treat on my trips!
Post-adventure meal of choice? The biggest cheeseburger in the world and a truckload of french fries and an ice cold coke.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Trail running!

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    Gwendolyn Schmidt
    Gwendolyn Schmidt says:
    Jan 18, 2019 12:43 PM

    Hi! I am a friend of Dee's from Pittsburgh, and I'm so glad you are featuring her! But I'd also like to mention that Pittsburgh, PA has an "h" on the end. We had to fight to get this "h" back in the early 1900's, and we're the only Pittsburg(h) with one, so we're oddly proud of it. Thank you!

    The Mountaineers
    The Mountaineers says:
    Feb 05, 2019 09:55 AM

    Thanks for your kind comment Gwendolyn. DeeAnn is certainly worthy and we're glad you enjoyed her profile for afar. Our apologies on the typo - clearly our copy/paste skills failed us on the 'h'. We've updated to the correct spelling!

    lacy cohen
    lacy cohen says:
    Jan 22, 2020 09:28 PM

    saw youre from pittsburgh. im from pittsburgh too!! do you ever visit? do you still have family residing there? what was your life like growing up in the city as a steeler fan?? are you now a seahawks fan?
    i love being from pittsburgh,having great sports teams, great trails to hike and a primanti sandwich!