Featured Bozemanite: Paul Lachapelle

Liz Krause Williams

In the middle of his three hundred mile walk through the French Alps, Paul Lachapelle pauses to rest on a rock. Pristine air nips with an early morning coolness that suggests summer never fully develops at elevation. The blanket of wildflowers counters with an argument that summer is, in fact, there.

Within a few feet, Bearded Bellfower, Alpine Snowball, and Columbine disguise the trail leading to a high alpine lake that is clear enough to see both the perfect reflection of the sky and the rocks lining the belly of the water—depending on sunlight. Lachapelle breathes in and sighs out, admiring where the meadow meets dense forest, and behind the trees where sharp granite spears skyward from the earth.

 He was winding down an eight month tour of Europe. The first six months were spent on the saddle of a bike, pedaling over 2,000 miles in England, Ireland, and France. With his bike shipped home, he was now on foot. Somewhere between Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean Sea, somewhere during the two months of solo hiking, Lachapelle decided what his next step would be. It was time to go to school.

Lachapelle was born in Syracuse, New York to loving parents Peg and Rene Lachapelle. By the time he was eight, the family settled in Shelburne, Vermont where he spent his childhood. The youngest of three brothers, life was a blend of tight-knit family gatherings, adventures in the Vermont wild, music and song, and education.

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