grew up in Anchorage, hiking and skiing throughout Alaska, including the Brooks Range. During the summer of 1990 she hiked alone in Colorado as she waited for her husband Dave to complete a construction job. Eager to find hiking companions when she returned to Anchorage, Patty hand wrote and copied a schedule of hikes. She invited her close friends, mostly moms of preschoolers, to join her. Those friends, in turn, invited other women. Patty had two preschool children, Kate and Peter, and a dog named Duke.
Hand Written Schedule
The first hike on the list was Bird Ridge. Maureen Fossum planned to carry 15 month old Erik in a backpack. Patty suggested that Maureen would enjoy the hike more if she found a babysitter for Erik. Donna Basinger, a friend of Maureen's from the Kempton Hills Babysitting Coop, agreed to babysit. Erik Fossum and Hope Basinger were playmates.
June 18, 1991 was a windy, damp day for the strenuous Bird Ridge hike and the group did not reach the peak. Maureen quickly decided that a babysitter was a good idea for the remaining the hikes!
June 25, 1991 Flattop
Donna Basinger, Therese Bowen, Suzan Kumar, Patty Hughes, Maureen Fossum
The name Happy Hikers
Donna joined the group for the second hike up Flattop. The weather was ideal and most reached the top under Patty's gentle guidance. Patty named the group the HAPPY HIKERS.
In the fall of 1991 the women enrolled their preschoolers in WONDERFUL WEDNESDAYS at First United Methodist Church in downtown Anchorage. After saying goodbye to the children, they headed to a ski trail at Kincaid Park or a trailhead in the Chugach Mountains.
Coming and Going
Therese Bowen's family moved to Washington and Patty Hughes' family moved to Texas.
In 1993 Suzan Kumar moved to Dallas, TX and the group met at Patty Hamre's home to present her with a photo album of the first 3 years of hikes, The Happy Hikers’ Chronicles - Book 1.
Gail Cellos and Sallie Ross joined the Happy Hikers in 1992. Bruce Kakel met Sallie Ross during the winter of 1993 as Sallie walked her dog Molly in the Southpark neighborhood. Sallie invited Bruce to ski with the Happy Hikers. In 1994 Sallie Ross asked Marty Richardson's daughter to babysit. Many days Sallie left early in the morning and returned late in the evening. The length of the hikes intrigued Marty so she asked Sallie for a copy of the schedule. Nothing was online and few used email.
Carol Sheridan joined the group the summer of 1995 after meeting Donna at Bible Study Fellowship. Carol is the official photographer and record keeper for Happy Hikers. She presents her photos at the annual Pot Luck/Slide Show and records the participants (human and canine) on every hike, as well as the time we start, eat lunch, and finish. Her tiny spiral note pads are legendary. Carol also collects addresses and phone numbers for a Happy Hiker Directory.
In 1997 Maureen Fossum moved to London with husband Marty, Erik, and baby Sam.
Carol asked Peter Basinger to design a logo from a slide of the 1997 O'Malley Peak hike. She used the logo on t-shirts and hats for the Happy Hikers.
Trek Alaska & Beyond
In 2003 the Ross Family moved to Houston, TX. Sallie Ross requested a trip over Chilkoot Pass as a Farewell Celebration. Unfortunately, the Rosses missed the hike over the Pass but met the group in Skagway as the Happy Hikers rode into town on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad. The Chilkoot Trail trip was the first of many Happy Hiker group trips.
Gail & Harry Cellos moved to Mississippi in 2011 after 27 years in Anchorage. A digital version of The Happy Hikers’ Chronicles (which chronicled her 20 years of happy hiking) was presented to Gail.
Click Book Cover for Video
Growth & Change
In 2012 Happy Hikers added ‘short hikes’ to the weekly schedule.
Robin and Bjarne Holm moved to Sisters, Oregon in July 2013. Bjarne, a geologist and retired High School teacher, introduced Happy Hikers to Kennicott/McCarthy and the Cascade Mountains in Oregon.
In September of 2013 Donna & Jim Basinger moved to Leesburg, Virginia. Beate Zinck and Erin Oba took over the weekly emails and Judy Caminer created the schedule.
2020 is our 30th year to hike, bike, ski & snowshoe in the mountains around Anchorage, Alaska. Few Happy Hikers have preschoolers. Most have grandchildren. No 'original' Happy Hikers hike weekly with the group. Some husbands are retired and join us. Most women are retired with busy schedules keep a day (or more) open for HAPPY HIKER hikes.
Click the CONTACT US tab to add your name to the weekly email list.
1991 Raven Glacier
Original Happy Hikers
Suzan Kumar, Therese Bowen, Donna Basinger,
Patty Hughes, Maureen Fossum, Patty Hamre
Hightop Peak, Appalachian Trail, VA
Anchorage Happy Hikers joined Virginia Happy Hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Cathy Sheridan Watkins and children arrived from Palmer, AK in an RV to hike with us.
Original Happy Hikers, Maureen Fossum and Donna Basinger.