Heather's Choice 2023 Solstice Retreat

Heather's Choice 2023 Solstice Retreat

Another 2023 Heather’s Choice Solstice Retreat is in the books!

This one took place at a cabin in Denali State Park. The cabin was grandiose and catered exactly to our needs. 

With 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, and one couch per person (seriously, so many couches) we were well taken care of. 

Some slept inside while others pitched tents around the cabin grounds and let the late-night rain lull them to sleep. 

We took the day off work on Friday, June 23rd with strict instructions to make it to the cabin by happy hour! Most made it in the nick of time, while others strolled in right as dinner was finished. How convenient *wink wink*.

The whole group was split into three teams for the weekend. Each team was either on cook duty, the clean-up crew, or chaperones of FUN! 

The cabin deck was equipped for some serious fun. With a cornhole set, plenty of chairs, places to set up hammocks, and a lake within walking distance, the chaperones of fun had plenty of options to keep the crew entertained. 

After Friday’s dinner of moose burgers a la Heather and Grill-Master Brad, the chaperones of fun started a fire for everyone to roast s’mores. Only for us to be overcome by bugs and forced inside for card games.

Games were played into the wee hours. Thankfully we had the midnight sun to give us a time check when it started to get dark right around 1am. 

Saturday was a choose-your-own-adventure day! One group set out for a 7-mile hike close to Ermine Trail Head. 

It was an incredible hike. The trail was well-maintained and the views were unmatched. This hike has been officially been added to my "Best Hikes In Alaska" list.

We only saw one other group for the whole 7 miles, and of course, we had to share some Packaroons with them. 

The rest of the crew spent quality R&R time at the cabin. Some recovering from the previous game night, some reading, and others venturing to the nearby lake for a quick dip. 

When the hikers returned, taco night was just about to get started. The spread was like out of a movie. There were options for chicken, halibut, ground moose, with the works for toppings!

After second (and third) helpings of tacos, the clean-up crew hopped to it while the chaperones of fun jumped into action with a plan for some serious Catch Phrase, Jenga, and a wildly competitive game of spoons.

The night owls were at it again for the last night of the Heather’s Choice Solstice Retreat. They snuck in a few hours of sleep before stumbling into the main kitchen the following morning for coffee, pancakes, and packing up the cabin. 

The Heather’s Choice Solstice Retreat is always a weekend we look forward to. Not for any reason other than it’s a chance for staff members to step out of their day-to-day roles and just chill.

It gives us an opportunity to take off our food manufacturing hats, or hair nets if you will, and get into the Heather's Choice customer role.

To remember why we do what we do and walk in the shoes of our customers when they take Heather's Choice dinners, breakfasts, and Packaroons on their backcountry adventures.

Can confirm - Packaroons taste just a little bit better when eaten on the trail!

Many of us come away from the weekend recommitted to the work of cooking, packing, shipping, and selling the best dehydrated meals and snacks for camping, backpacking, hiking, bike packing, pack rafting, or whatever you fancy. 

It’s hard to say which Solstice Retreat is the best one. Every year we go to a new location, have a few new staff members (some who have never experienced camping!), and get to create new memories to tell for a whole year until the next one. 

Rain, shine, or bugs, it’s always worth it. 

Brooke is the Heather's Choice Sales & Marketing Coordinator. She is a born and raised Arizonan. That is until 2013 when Alaska stole her heart and soul! Not only did Alaska give her the freedom, space and community to be herself - she also met her soulmates in both human and dog form.

When she is not running around the Heather’s Choice HQ, Brooke enjoys summiting Alaskan peaks, extended camping trips, and making a mess in the kitchen.

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