Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Bekah Schuring

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Bekah Schuring.
Lori Heath Lori Heath
Foothills Communications Volunteer
June 09, 2023
Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Bekah Schuring

Meet Bekah Schuring, a Foothills Backpacking leader and an instructor with the Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course. Bekah has been recognized for her leadership and contributions to the Foothills Branch with a Super Volunteer badge and a Key Instructor badge in 2022.


I am not native to the PNW, but my mom spent her growing-up years in Forks and Colville, WA. I still have family out here and we would visit every once in a while. I cried every time we had to leave because I loved everything about the wild beauty of the PNW - hiking in the mountains, swimming in the clear, fresh rivers, the smell of the “pine” trees, and the beauty of the ice-cold ocean. In early 2014, I was out here visiting my uncle and his family and told him I’d love to just stay in Washington for a while. He said, “Why don’t you?” I told him I’d think about it, and then realized I had nothing to lose, so I packed up my belongings in Missouri and moved out here in September 2014. I was only going to stay three months but fell in love with this beautiful state and never left.


I always loved camping and hiking. As I started venturing out on more and more hikes on my own, I started going further and further and realized the deeper into the backcountry you go the more beauty and solitude there was. I started thinking about backpacking but had no experience. I was talking about it with my coworker, and because she knows me and my adventurous spirit, she told me I should really look into backpacking training through The Mountaineers. I’d never heard of them, so I looked them up online and right away was intrigued. The training was endless, and they stood for everything I stand for. I joined a free in-person introduction session, pre-COVID, and wanted to join but couldn’t afford the membership fee. So, I kept putting it off for years. Finally, in 2021, before my 35th birthday, I was hit with the realization that I kept putting my life on hold, and I had had enough of that. I joined The Mountaineers in January 2021, signed up for B3, and it changed my life! I joined and hit the ground running. It was my opportunity to get training for so many goals and dreams. I joined not looking for friends but walked away with some of my now trail family and dearest friends, and I continue to grow my friendship circle within this amazing community. So many dreams are coming true just for finally pursuing my passions. There is so much that I was naïve about the outdoors. I grew up in Brazil, but I was not taught how to be respectful of nature. The Mountaineers changed my mindset on that. And thanks to The Mountaineers, I am now more informed and aware of the need for advocacy for the beautiful land that we have the honor of getting to spend time in.


B3 is my highlight! It transformed my idea of backpacking! It has helped build my leadership skills, lower my impact on the environment, and make me a responsible backpacker in the backcountry. I have made so many friends through this course through conversations with students. I learn so much from them, but also love meeting so many people from different backgrounds, lifestyles, beliefs, and all coming together to learn and enjoy nature together. The teamwork as we face the challenges together, and the laughter as we relive the funny moments, makes every bit of it worth it! Some of my favorite memories are paddleboarding or swimming in alpine lakes and rivers, deep conversations on the trail, and laughter around the kitchen. Helping with B3 is a way for me to give back. I want to be able to pass on what I learned, so that we can continue to have more responsible users of the backcountry and more advocates for our beautiful PNW!


My number one passion is backpacking. My trail name is “mountain mermaid,” so as you can imagine, I can’t stay out of the water. When I’m not backpacking, I’m hiking or paddleboarding, and have recently discovered my love for snow camping. I have fallen in love with Mount Baker and the North Cascades region. My favorite non-alpine lake is Lake Crescent and I love to go there and swim and paddleboard any time I have a chance to!