10 Essential Questions: Rayda Mirzaa

Meet Rayda Mirzaa, a four year member whose love for the beauty of the Pacific Northwest has inspired her to get outside and conserve our wild spaces. 
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 17, 2021

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

Name: Rayda Mirzaa
Hometown: Born in Lexington, KY. Grew up in Jordan in the Middle East. 
Member Since: March 2017
Occupation: Pediatrician
Favorite Activities: Hiking, Backpacking and very recently, Climbing and Mountaineering (thanks to the great Basic Alpine Climbing Course which I thoroughly enjoyed)

10 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I found The Mountaineers initially online as I was looking about good resources to learn about mountaineering. 

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET OUTSIDE WITH US?

The total love and adoration of the beauty of the PNW, and, in a way, the hope to advocate for conserving our outside spaces and our wildlife within. 

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOUNTAINEERS MEMORY?

One of my favorite memories is my first snow camping trip with The Mountaineers. Spending the day on St. Helens, the summit treats at the top and then glissading all the way down with an awesome group of Mountaineers, as well as meeting friends along the way. It was awesome.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Among the people I've actually met through The Mountaineers: Cebe Wallace :) Attending his climbing clinics was great. It was really inspiring listening to him talk about the art of climbing and the intricacies of the techniques (the art and talent of foot placement and learning to “read the rock”). It was so rewarding seeing how my technique was improving after learning from him.

Overall, I’m inspired by groups and individuals who work really hard to conserve our wild spaces and protect wildlife (Jane Goodall is one of my favorites).

AS A DONOR AND VOLUNTEER-SUPPORTED ORGANIZATION, THE MOUNTAINEERS IS BASED ON COMMUNITY SUPPORT. HOW HAVE YOU PAID IT FORWARD, OR HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM SOMEONE ELSE PAYING IT FORWARD?

Just the fact that I'm able to be outside and enjoy our gorgeous nature, I am grateful to be benefiting from generations of people who have worked really hard to preserve our nature. I try my best to donate to organizations that support this cause like The Mountaineers, NRDC, WWF, and strive to make meaningful change to the best of my ability.

WHAT DOES ADVENTURE MEAN TO YOU?

Anytime I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone - whether it's exploring a new area, learning a new skill, or expanding my horizons. My first adventure was going a on rim-to-rim backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon, and even though I jumped in the deep end there :), I just fell in love. As a Muslim woman of American and Middle Eastern (Syrian) roots, I had to overcome an initial fear of "not belonging" in the outdoors, but the community has been absolutely amazing and it's been an adventure since.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? A dose of caffeine :)
What’s your happy place?  Having been separated by oceans for a while, anywhere my family is.
Post-adventure meal of choice? A burrito
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? I'd love to be a rockin' rock climber :) Until then, I'd settle for a solid one.


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