When I was little, going to get our Christmas tree was a magical event. We went to the same place every year – when I was really young it was to our church parking lot, when we moved across town it was to Arnie’s, a ice cream shop in the summer, tree seller in the winter. When Mike and I moved to Idaho in 2007 we moved on to a completed different tradition : cutting our own wild tree.
Cutting our tree always starts with a stop at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters just outside of Ketchum. The headquarters has taxidermied animals, educational displays, free hot chocolate and Christmas tree permits. Handing over 5 smackeroos gets you a permit for any tree up to 8 feet tall, and a brochure that includes a map of where you can cut, and what trees are legit (certain rare trees are off limits for cutting).
After acquiring our permit we headed north to an area called Anderson Creek. This drainage is one of our favorite spots for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, so we thought we’d give it a go.
It was a cloudy morning, but beautiful flakes were falling from the sky during our whole excursion. Festive – yes. We snowshoed in about a mile, stopping here and there to investigate the merits/demerits of a couple trees.
Just when we thought we had gone out too far we decided to “check out that little patch yonder.” And there she was.
Mike named her Glenhilda on the spot. Then he started to dig, because her bottom branches were buried under a few feet of snow.
Then he sawed her trunk right close to the ground, like the responsible tree cutter he is.
Glenhilda’s old patch of home.
Now that Glenhilda was out and about, we rigged her up a strap to pull her back to our car. It was at this point that Mike and I wondered why we chose a tree a mile from the car. Because dragging a tree through multiple feet of snow is, umm, not easy.
We took turns.
After strapping Glenhilda to our roof we decided to do some skate skiing at Galena. Because, apparently, dragging a tree a mile through the woods isn’t enough exercise.
And now Glenhilda’s home! She’s currently drying off in the garage, we hope to bring her inside after work today. Going out into the wild to pick out, cut down, and haul in our own Christmas tree makes me downright giddy. She might not be as pretty or full as her farm raised counterparts, but to us that makes her all the more special.
Welcome home Glenhilda!