50 for 50 #46 – Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree

Bill getting our tree back to the parking lot – 2012

Today we did one of my favorite Christmas traditions. We drove up into the mountains past Kamas, past Frances and past Woodland, to cut down our own Christmas tree. We have been doing this for something like 20 years so it makes a perfect way to celebrate my 50th year this week.We get up really early in the morning the first weekend in November to get a tree permit and then after Thanksgiving we gather with my sister and her family to get our trees. Some times we have had other family members join us but the two of us have always gone.

I remember the first year we got a permit to cut down our own tree, it was so cold and the wind was blowing and we hiked up a really steep hill through deep snow. When I remember that year, it amazes me that we ever did it again. It has never been that cold since. Plus a few year later they built a parking area that makes it easier.

Bill buried in snow – 2000

Some years we have no snow. Some years we have several feet of snow. A few years are extra memorable. One year Bill fell into a pocket in the snow over a ravine and was buried up to his head. Another year someone made a huge snowball and we took family photos on and around it.The Christmas we spent in Brooklyn, New York it worked out for us to come back and get a Christmas tree to take back with us. It was nice to have a bit of Utah with us in New York.

Bill, Shadow, Ginger, Danny, Kim, Jacob, Noreen & Eric – 2003

This year there was almost no snow at the parking lot but as we got up into the trees there was still several inches from the big storm we had a couple of weeks ago. It was extra warm today so we only needed sweat shirts or light jackets. After getting our trees we gather in the parking lot for backed potatoes and with hot chocolate and treats. We all enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the mountains that for me signals the real start of the Christmas season.

Christmas Tree Permit

My family has the tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree each year. The hardest part of doing this is getting up early, early in the morning on the first Friday or Saturday in November to get a tree permit. The forest service sells 1,000 permit each day and they go on sale at 8:00 a.m. but you have to get to Soldier Hollow early if you want to be sure you are going to get a permit. I don’t know how early people get there but we usually get there around 7:00 a.m. and we are far from the first. They hand out arm bands so then we can wait in the car for a while and stay warm. At 8:00 a.m. the line starts to move slowly then finally our turn comes and we pay $10 for our precious permit. Casey had fun in line socializing with a little toddler.