Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Colin Chapman

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Colin Chapman.
Lori Heath Lori Heath
Foothills Communications Volunteer
October 08, 2022
Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Colin Chapman

Meet Colin Chapman, a backpack, hike, and snowshoe leader, as well as a 2021 Super Volunteer. Colin joined The Mountaineers to participate in the Foothills Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) course and now he’s a leader for the course!

What brought you to the Pacific Northwest and when did you come?

I was born and raised in Seattle and spent much of my childhood car camping with my family and backpacking with my Boy Scout troop. I lived in San Francisco, Boston, and Detroit after graduating from the UW, and while I enjoyed all of those cities, I always dreamed of returning to the PNW. So in 1996, after 5 years away, I quit my job, rented a U-Haul, and made my way back home.

What attracted you to The Mountaineers?

Initially, it was the education. I wanted a refresher on backpacking best practices, and the Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) course seemed like the perfect fit for me. B3 was *immensely* educational, but it also introduced me to a fantastic group of backpackers. So now what attracts me to The Mountaineers is the community. Whether I'm with first-time backpackers on a quick overnight or with seasoned pros on a multi-week international trip, the people I've met through The Mountaineers have been passionate, inspirational, and happy to share their wisdom.

What have been your favorite volunteer memories with The Mountaineers?

I'll never forget a backpacking trip I led to Baker Lake as part of the B3 course. At least half of the group had never been on a backpacking trip; it was so incredibly rewarding to watch folks set up their tents, cook their first backcountry meals, and report that they were warm, dry, and (somewhat!) rested the next morning. They were beaming with pride and excitement, and it was awesome to witness.

What are your favorite activities and places in the PNW?

I have a borderline obsessive passion for backpacking and winter camping. Seven Lakes Basin, the Hoh River trail (particularly Elk Lake -> Glacier Meadows -> Blue Glacier), and the Wonderland Trail are three of my favorite backpacking destinations. I recently led a 4-day backpacking trip in the Enchantments; it was a treat to have multiple days to explore the core, instead of having to race through the area as a day hike. In the winter, I love to snowshoe up to Mazama Ridge, dig out a communal kitchen, work together to melt snow, treat water, and cook meals, and spend the night in the shadow of Mt Rainier.

Lightening Round

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Smile (and bad dad jokes!)
What's your 11th Essential? Blondies (chocolate chip cookie meets brownie)
What's your happy place? Listening to my Pocket Rocket as I heat water for my morning coffee in the backcountry
Post-adventure meal of choice? I'm flexible, as long as it's sweet and full of carbs: penuche cake, cinnamon rolls, or pancakes.
Shortest backpacking trip? Second Beach (4 miles RT)
Longest backpacking trip? John Muir Trail (300+ miles with side trips)