Thanksgiving Revisited

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Doug on the Wave at Lincoln Woods, Thanksgiving 2011

For years I’ve dreamed about attending the annual Thanksgiving party/dinner in Indian Creek, Utah but both work and family commitments, not to mention a lack of time and especially a lack of money, have kept that dream from becoming a reality. However, for nearly the last decade, as most of my friends were sleeping off their Thanksgiving morning hangovers and/or headed off to the high school football game, I woke up to meet with a few like minded friends to climb Thanksgiving morning (last year’s post and the year before)…sort of the climbers answer to the Gobble Wobble or Turkey Trot.

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Fay working a traverse at Hammond Pond, a very cold Thanksgiving 2010

This ritual always helped satiate my inner dirtbag climber. Even if it was bouldering at Hammond Pond or top roping at Quincy Quarries instead of crack climbing at the Creek, I was just happy to get out while keeping both my family and my girlfriend’s family happy as we were able to attend family dinners or, at the very least, arrive for dessert. Climbing Thanksgiving morning was always been nice as it provided an excuse from getting too rowdy the night before and, maybe more importantly, made you feel better about spending the rest of the day on the couch, eating multiple meals, and supplementing those meals with pie. Also, it was a great excuse to get together and catch up with what amounts to my extended family, as most everyone is free from work and most family commitments are not until at least noon.

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Ashley on the Damn Traverse at Lincoln Woods, a mild Thanksgiving 2012.

While the Thanksgiving climbing tradition has been mostly excellent, there were some pitfalls. For one thing, waking up early sucks…waking up early on a day that seems to celebrate lethargy really sucks. Secondly, between multiple family commitments Thanksgiving can be a fairly hectic day and adding one more activity to the schedule puts a big dent in the relaxation factor.  Third, driving between multiple houses–often in multiple states–is no joy; adding driving to climbing spot x adds some extra time to day already spent mostly in the car. Climbing in late November can be also be super cold (just look at my last post from Pawtuckaway). While we have certainly been blessed with some great weather over the last ten years, there have been some real bitter days as well. I’m sure the idea of keeping the tradition alive had more to do with attendance than the actual desire to climb.

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Doug on the Low Traverse at Hammond Pond, Thanksgiving 2010

This year, the tradition ended. With the group a little more scattered and others having greater distances to travel, we did not meet this Thanksgiving morning. I thought about going out solo or maybe roping Ashley into joining me for a quick bouldering session in the morning, but it was very cold and my heart just wasn’t in it. I also contemplated heading to Mount Wachusett to skin a few laps that morning, but the biting temperature and the siren call of the couch lured me away.

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Mickey Spades on the opening moves of the Wave, Thanksgiving 2011

Part of me is sad to see the tradition end. I’ve always enjoyed getting out Thanksgiving morning and not climbing this year made it feel a little less like Thanksgiving. Also, for the first time ever on Thanksgiving, my eyes were bigger than my stomach which ironically did not stop me from eating. By the end of the meal, I was pretty sure I was going to need my stomach pumped. Is it possible to get turkey poisoning? As I sat doubled over on the couch waiting/hoping for Thanksgiving dinner to digest, I couldn’t help but think those calories I would have burned climbing this morning would be really beneficial right now.

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Tim on the Damn Traverse at Lincoln Woods, Thanksgiving 2012

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