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for people who care about the West

The season of celebrating begins, and a holiday party

The staff enjoy a long holiday with feasts and adventure.


The holiday season is upon us, bringing festive meals, visits from family, twinkling lights and outdoor adventures in (at least slightly) crisper temperatures. Over Thanksgiving, all of us at High Country News headquarters in Paonia, Colorado, had much to be grateful for — including delicious, locally sourced food, purple-pink sunsets over the West Elk Mountains and quality time with friends old and new.

Development Director Laurie Milford welcomed Thanksgiving “stragglers,” including editorial fellows Emily Benson and Rebecca Worby and their partners, into her family’s beautiful new home outside Hotchkiss, Colorado, where they enjoyed a potluck feast and sweeping mountain vistas. Two more stragglers, Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert and Assistant Editor Anna V. Smith, relished views of Mount Lamborn and Landsend Peak, along with eating, drinking and archery, while celebrating a “Friendsgiving” at the mesa-top home of former HCN intern Adam Petry.

Meanwhile, Brooke Warren, our associate photo editor, spent Thanksgiving weekend in the desert, enjoying four unplugged days in western Colorado’s Dominguez-Escalante Canyon. Brooke also celebrated her birthday and gave HCN correspondent Sarah Tory some lessons in crack climbing. Those same sandstone formations, Brooke notes, are also found in Indian Creek, a world-class climbing destination across the Utah border in the controversial Bears Ears National Monument.

HCN correspondent Sarah Tory watches other climbers during Thanksgiving weekend.
Brooke Warren/High Country News

In this season of giving thanks, we are especially grateful for our readers — who have the sharpest eyes and most encyclopedic brains around. One recently pointed out that we’d mixed up our rabbit breeds in our “Books & Authors” special issue. In the caption for a photo accompanying the Q&A “Rewriting the West,” we incorrectly stated that Emily Ruskovich held her Flemish giant rabbit while a lionhead rabbit sniffed her hat. In fact, the hat-sniffer was the Flemish giant, while the other one was the lionhead. Sorry we fluffed that one up; there’s apparently more than a hare’s breadth of difference between bunnies.

Finally, it’s time for a bittersweet goodbye from me, Becca, editorial fellow and trusty Dear Friends contributor. I’ve loved writing for and to you over the past year. I can’t believe my time here is almost through, but I’m extremely grateful to have had this opportunity. My colleague, Emily, will continue her fellowship into the spring, so look out for more from her. I’m heading back to New York City for now, but I’m sure I’ll be dreaming of — and writing about — the West.