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The Christmas Tree ..... a tradition

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanksgiving Christmas Tree Tradition is one of our families "don't miss" events.

For well over a decade now we have always traveled out to the resource area to select, cut and bring home a nice fresh Christmas Tree. This takes a little getting used to since these are natural trees that are not pruned into
the traditional Charlie Brown Christmas shaped tree. So after all the fancy cooking is done on Thursday for Thanksgiving, after everyone has recovered from "Turkey Coma" Friday morning we start out toward the mountains north of our house to find and harvest a tree. Should be a nice time as for the first time in a few years we are experiencing a snow storm during the Friday following Thanksgiving. So the trek starts out passing by many geological formations on our way to the divide road. Climbing up towards the Cow Camp, but we will stop far short of Cow Camp as the resource area is not as far
up as cow camp.

We leave the paved road and pass the signs warning of no winter maintenance, we are the first tracks on the divide road since the storm hit. Breaking trail is fun even if it is the trail of a gravel road! As we climb in altitude it becomes apparent this is going to be a snowy tree hunt. No worries, chain box is in the truck, shovels, winch, everything needed to get out of trouble if we get into to trouble with the weather. This is a pretty good storm. But it is the first of the winter season, so we should not have any trouble navigating.

Finally as we reach the top of the switchbacks we get a chance to look out over the canyon. The storm is still fairly gathered and we are actually in the snow fall the entire climb.

We come to our turn off and as luck would have it we are still breaking trail toward our tree hunting area. Snow is still falling at a pretty good clip, this is a good tree hunting year.

We drive down the two track a few miles and find a spot to pull off the road and bail out to go tree hunting. We bail out of the truck and start trying to find a great tree! These trees are natural so the wear the scars of nature, meaning you have to look and check a few to find the correct tree.

Selecting the perfect tree requires a few stops and a little bit of looking. I mean looking off the road, not right at roadside. The roadside trees have been picked over long ago. We like to walk into the little ravines about 150 yards off the road. Makes the tree finding easier as many people just won't get off the road that far to find a tree. First stop finds all of us out looking at different trees and calling when we think we found one that will work. But the trees, they are a fickle bunch. Some have double trunks, cut them and the trunk splits, and you have half a tree. Some have big hollow spots where some young bull or buck rubbed them and removed a lot of the branches that are required to fill it out. So we continue to look over the trees searching for one that will work.

No luck at our first stop, not to worry plenty of wild acres left to look through. And we are not in a hurry, we have done this every year for well over a decade. Quick find and get is not the idea. The hunt is the fun of it. Searching and discussing. Looking from the road to decide
if a ravine is worth going into on foot. All while we have the Christmas music blaring out of the radio. With extra acoustics due to sticks and hay that have worked their way on top of the speakers over the years we have owned the one ton pickup truck. The kids found there way back to the truck.

We must move on a little further down the two track to find another spot. There were some good ones, but not the perfect one in this location. So a couple hundred yards down the path we will see if the perfect one appears.

More trail busting and more scoping and stopping and moving along toward another area to search on foot.

There are plenty of ravines to hike to in search of a perfect tree. And we have a good time during the search. It is nice to be up and out on the Friday after Thanksgiving looking for the tree. A real pleasure to think
you are in the middle of no where and only 35 miles away a whole bunch of cranky people are wrestling for the latest "tickle me Elmo" at some store with a door buster special! If they knew this existed, they would never bust another door! They would tree hunt. The Cougar and I like taking the kids out for this. Even though they are in College we have made this such a tradition over the years they absolutely have to go with to get the tree. Talk of leaving them behind is met with flared tempers! It is great to get them going!

The children still hang on their mother, even in there early adult years. Once the tree is located someone must go back to the truck and retrieve the harvesting tools. In the early days I laid down under the thing with a bow saw and sweated while I sawed the thing off. All that changed with the battery operated SawsAll they have these days. The Ryobi takes a bow saw blade and makes short work on the harvest. Here comes the college chick with the harvesting tools now.

Tree found, harvesting complete, mom and dad can head back to the truck for some spice cider while the College kids haul the thing to the truck for transport.

Watching and listening to two children working on getting a tree out is a very good laugh. If only these pictures could talk. There is talk of bringing the horses next year to drag it out. Talk of who is not carrying their share of the tree. Laughter as they fall in the snow. All in all a pretty good time is being had, and certainly better than "THE MALL CRAWL" that is going on in town.

College chick can not load the tree so dad is called into duty again. But she and her brother got the hard part done in short order so I don't mind loading it up and tagging it. They forget I carried the tree myself for years in the beginning when they were being pulled in a toboggan to and from the tree by their mother.

Now you have to obtain a tag to cut a tree, but for $8.00 can you really go wrong? I think not. And the tag says it all!

Once the tree is loaded and we are on our way we scan the area for wildlife. Not one year have one come searching for a tree that we have not come across wild animals of some sort. Elk, deer, one year we came across the wild sheep on our way back. Another year the deer were in the road and we had to stop. It is always something. If you look center bottom of this picture you will see two mule deer. Three were there but only two are in the shot.

Not the greatest photo of deer in the world, but just one more experience that makes the trip to the mountain to gather a tree a real good time. In the end we know the kids love to go do this. They have a good time going to get the tree.

And so with the tree collect and the tag fixed to it we start our return to the valley with the Christmas tree in tow. Past the familiar land marks toward the town once again.

Losing altitude moving toward the ranch at the bottom of the Divide road as we wind the switchbacks down the side of the mountain.

At home we put it on the porch in a five gallon bucket of water. We will put it up in a week or so when the kids return from college for the Christmas holiday break. They love to decorate the tree....... but that is a different blog!

'til we speak again, start a few Holiday traditions, you will be surprised at how the children count on those things happening! To them it is part of their world of balance.

Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
post #2 of 11
Beautiful pics. It makes me pulling the menorah out of the closet seem so uneventful, if not leading to boring pics. How long has that snow been there?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Was still falling as we were driving. So Thanksgiving night it started, and continued until about 2 PM Friday.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
post #4 of 11
Thank you for sharing your tradition with us. You live in a beautiful part of the country!
post #5 of 11
Wow...You live in a beautiful area! I love snow even tho I rarely get to interact with it. California born and raised!

Thanks for sharing the experience. Hope you have fun making that tree as festive as can be. Do you fill it with ornaments?
post #6 of 11
well this would be a nice addition to the board,

"What are your holiday traditions?" Please share...
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
post #7 of 11
What a great tradition!!!! Makes me miss doing the same thing as a kid in Vermont!!
post #8 of 11
It's always around christmas time that makes me wish I didn't live in So cal. Great story!
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
post #9 of 11
What a great tradition! I have never cut my own tree but that makes me want to try it. hmmm...well it makes me want to sip hot cocoa while some strong boys carry it for me :D
post #10 of 11
We have always gotten a fresh tree, never artificial. We practice the tradition of waiting for everyone to be at my moms to decorate the tree and fill it in ornaments. :roll:
post #11 of 11
Your soo lucky you can go out and do somthign like that and have such a view. The adventure of getting a tree for me takes me to the forest of the barn hehe. I wish it would snow here its cold enough it jsut needs to stay cold so the snow stays. Thanks for the pics/ thread.
Paint the white canvas with your natural artwork
Paint the white canvas with your natural artwork
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