Alpinehikers Holiday Traditions

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Thanksgiving is a holiday of numerous meanings and traditions. At Alpinehikers we spent some time thinking about our own traditions and what makes the holidays special to us. The following stories are from our office staff who each celebrate in their own way and sometimes differently from year to year. Despite the location or yearly menu changes the one theme that holds steady is overwhelming gratitude. Gratitude for the people and places that we hold dear.

Abby and her husband Zach (who also works in the Alpinehikers office and out on the trail) spend much of their time out on the water and love to sail.

This year our family is heading to the mountains for the holidays. We’ve done plenty of celebrations in big cities and we’re all ready for the quiet and calm that comes with being close to wooded trails. There’s nothing like bundling up at this time of year to get outside, into the fresh air, on walks or hikes to stretch out the legs and lungs. Holidays tend to be all about consuming: gifts, food, time. Sometimes simplifying, lowering expectations and heading out on a spontaneous walk is all the heart needs to feel full.

–  Abby Strauss-Malcolm 
Sales Manager and Guide

Mike’s wife extraordinaire, Layla, celebrating the colors of Fall on a recent camping trip to Flagstaff.

We don’t really have a set Thanksgiving tradition. This year my sister Stephanie is coming down from Flagstaff and we are going to have an early Thanksgiving brunch (my wife Layla – nurse extraordinaire – will be working the night shift on Thursday night). I think we’re going to do a turkey this year, maybe even brine it. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, greens and brussel sprouts, sweet potato casserole and a couple desserts, like pumpkin pie and a chocolate cake that my wife is planning to make. My sister is bringing her dog Millie Hambone and she’s going to get some face time with our GoldenDoofus puppy Charlie Verde Cullen and our two cats (Wayne Rooney & Sonja). They’ve met once before and we’re hoping this meeting goes a little smoother. Millie Hambone is a senior-citizen and doesn’t always have energy for young Charlie.  After that we’ll lounge about, call our relatives, and enjoy the day.

– Mike Cullen
Tour Materials Manager

Deb’s son Leo is always up for an adventure!

My family loves to cook together. Thanksgiving is always about making a big variety of food with the produce from our farmer’s market – and then working off the feast hiking through golden autumn meadows with the dogs.  Our farmer’s market here in Prescott is really abundant and we make a bunch of little dishes that feature the local foods. This year we are going to take things outside to our newly finished clubhouse and covered porch. We’ll sit around a fire and celebrate our thanks together with friends.

– Deborah Charlap
Administrative Manager & Marketing

Troy taking in the beauty and expanse of the Dolomites from the trail.

Normally we try to get together with family. I have three sisters and my wife, JJ, has two sisters, plus our parents.  Everyone is spread out from Oregon to California to Texas so often this means traveling somewhere on holidays. But this year we’re staying in Prescott and having Thanksgiving with a close friends here in town. We’ll be getting together with some of our kids’ best friends and their families and will be doing the all-American thing – eating Turkey and pumpkin pie.  We’re going to have a pool party for the kids (the forecast is 75 and sunny) and an outdoor fire.  It will be a small gathering with friends and probably an early afternoon dinner and then lots of time for hanging around, chatting and celebration.

-Troy Haines
Owner & Founder

Matt with his Dad along the Tour du Mont Blanc this past summer.

Now that I’ve transitioned into the office from being out in the field 250+ days a year, when I get multiple days off in a row I try and go outside as much as possible.  Any time off in nature seems to be time well spent and being able to hike and explore is always a great reminder of how the simple things like being healthy and able to surround myself with loved ones is more important than ever.  This year I’ve broken things up with a fantastic all day Friendsgiving the weekend before Turkey day and am looking forward to lots of chilly hikes with my pup Mila and some time paddling with my Dad who is coming down to visit from Colorado.  We spent lots of time together this summer along the TMB, so getting time on the water will be a special treat.

– Matt Hart
Tour Architect & Guide

Overall it’s not often the turkey or the pecan pie or even the full-belly-daze on the couch that we remember. Thanksgiving is more about the people and the place. It’s the round of sharing things that we’re grateful for before diving into a table of delicious food, or your Granny who shakes her false teeth at everyone just to enlist a chuckle (no, I’m not joking) or even the before or after family stroll into the woods to aid digestion.  We wish everyone a fun outdoor adventure filled Thanksgiving Holiday. Enjoy your time with family and friends and know that we are grateful for those around our table and also for each of you. Thank you for prioritizing the outdoors in your travels and entrusting us with your well deserved holiday vacations.

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