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Tree hunting


We’ve had success! Saturday we spent the morning hunting wild and elusive Christmas Trees. In past years, we have come to expect this endeavor to be quite the adventurous task. So we tried to prepare- snacks, lunch, extra gear. Mostly, we set a date to go really, really early in the season- the weekend after Thanksgiving. And I think that made all the difference.


The Forest Service sells you this $10 tree permit and hands you a poorly photocopied map of the fire roads on which you can drive up to go cut a tree. Additionally, they highlight where they think you should go. Now, since this is apparently the most popular weekend to do this, there were like Fifty Million people buying permits at the Ranger Station at the same time we were, walking out with the exact same route delineated in yellow. Our first instinct would have been to avoid this area. But, it was the same area in which we unsuccessfully tried to get to last year and unsuccessfully attempted to drive up with 3 feet of fresh snow on the road the year before (Matt lost a shoe, never to be found again, pushing the car up a steep slope). So we figured, what the heck, the woods is a big enough place. Plus, the label ’9-12 foot nobles’ at the top of the road was alluring.


So we started driving, up and up. Until we found an open space, once likely a quarry to support the construction as the fire road was built, now used as a weekend redneck backwoods party site, and we parked amongst the littered shotgun cartridges, beer bottles, blasted computer monitors and bullet shells. Then we took off hiking up the secondary fire roads, slowly getting saturated by the misting drizzle. Little did we know this was not how it was done this time of year. No, we were passed by many others in large trucks and SUV’s, stopping along the road, hopping out and hacking down a tree right next to the road. There were tons of stumps we came across within 20′ of either side, many of which were topped trees, which you are really not supposed to do. So we dove off deeper, up a steep hillside to really get into the adventure of it. Off in the distance (maybe 100 yards away) someone revved a chainsaw. Ahhh, the peace of bonding with nature. 


Ironically, we couldn’t find any decent trees on our jaunts off the road, then came across a nice little (yet full one) right along the road. So took that one. Matt’s parent’s and the friends who came with us were successful as well (Matt’s parent’s stuffed theirs through the trunk of their sedan and drove home with the top of the tree bobbing between the headrests of the front seats). Each year we have done this we have an additional child and this year we were outnumbered. Despite being a bit wet, we faired pretty well with the kids, especially because we didn’t spend all day trying to find a tree.


And they were rewarded with doughnuts when we got back to the car, which they happily chowed down on as we tied the tree to the top of the car.


Now our little tree stands in our living room, decorated with lights and ornaments. I am so glad it is petite, far smaller than the giants we have brought in out of the forrest previous years. And we purposefully got one that is flat on one side so it rests nicely against a wall rather than sticking out into the room. Since we got the tree so early, there is plenty of time to enjoy it at work at keeping the kids (and cat) from constantly touching the ornaments and turning on and off the lights, which has been the biggest struggle so far.

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