A Nontraditional Thanksgiving

By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor

I thoroughly enjoy the Thanksgiving season. I mean sure, it’s not Christmas, but it’s the pre-game feast that gets you even more hyped for the most wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving is great because you get to sit around and eat for a whole day and no one can say crap because they’re doing the same thing. And while I do enjoy stuffing my face until I’m a walking marshmallow, this past Thanksgiving was a bit different for my family and I.

Normally, we would spend the holiday with a few of my cousins and their families at their time share in Canyon Lake, TX. It’s a great place for us because it’s like being away from home but not really, considering it’s only a 35-45 minute drive. It’s a nice pseudo-get-away with things like pools and hot tubs, a mini putt putt course and an arcade, which are all lovely. But this year, my parents decided to take a road trip to Arizona.

file_004Now I’ll admit, I was initially pretty bummed considering I wouldn’t get to just sit around and chill, but overall, the trip went pretty well. We left on Tuesday right after classes and we headed straight for AZ. Our first stop was Carlsbad, New Mexico, where we trekked into the famous Carlsbad Caverns. It’s quite the walk but it was really neat to see all of the natural cave formations. It was hard to take photos just because of how dark it was but overall it was a pretty cool stop.

Up next we headed to our base of operations, Flagstaff, AZ. From there, we went to Sedona, AZ, where we hiked a 3.6 mile trail to Devil’s Bridge, a natural rock formation that was essentially a huge bridge where if looked down, you’d fall to your death or you’d get seriously injured. Even if you were a cat that always landed on your legs, you’d lose at least two of your nine lives. The rest of the day consisted of driving through the beautiful city of Sedona which was a nice experience on its own. We ended our day with our Thanksgiving feast at Denny’s. A great part of my soul died eating that Philly cheesesteak omelette. I chewed on the plastic omelette while scrolling through my Instagram and Snapchat story feeds where people posted pictures and videos of their mash potato mountains and respective gravy rivers. That I night I cried myself to sleep (just kidding…maybe).

"Hanging out" at Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. Photo by Brent Ramirez.
“Hanging out” at Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. Photo by Brent Ramirez.

The next day we headed to Page, AZ where we saw Horseshoe Bend and the Upper Antelope Canyon. Horseshoe Bend was beautiful. It was extremely high, but definitely beautiful. Think of it like this: If falling off Devil’s Bridge meant losing two of your nine lives, falling into Horseshoe Bend meant losing ten of your nine lives. That fall would essentially be instant death, but that did not stop a great amount of people from taking some pretty risky pictures, including yours truly. I thought I was pretty crazy, but some of these “aesthetic” seekers may have also just wanted to die that day.

Up next was Antelope Canyon. The tour consisted of a 10 to 12 minute off-road ride to the canyon and then a quick in and out of the canyon itself. It was a very unique sight to see as the natural formation of the canyon resulted in multiple picture-worthy views. A few Chinese foreign exchange students in our tour group took advantage of the scenery and took a whole bunch of selfies, and these ladies were selfie pros. It was actually pretty impressive. They made my selfies look like self portraits I drew with broken crayons back in the second grade.

On our last day we met up for breakfast with some family friends that I haven’t seen since I was seven or eight years old. We met at a fancy little cottage-like restaurant named Josephine’s American Bistro. The place was so fancy, they served their ketchup in small dish plates. And so we ended our trip with some great company and no shortage of family photos.

In the end, it was a pretty enjoyable trip. It was a nice change of pace from what we typically do as a family and it’s something I encourage everyone to try out with their own families. While I did miss pigging out at home, hiking and sightseeing Earth’s natural features was really great. I also found out that all national parks offer free admission the Friday after Thanksgiving, dubbed “Green Friday” in an effort to get people to ditch the shopping and go out with Mother Nature for a day. So next time you’re having trouble with Thanksgiving plans or you’re looking to try something new, give the good ole’ road trip a try. Just try to stay away from a Denny’s Thanksgiving dinner (sorry, not sorry to Denny’s fans).

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