November 29th is the day that we go Christmas tree hunting! Usually an extended-family event, this year it was just us! The kids were a bit disappointed, but they soon found out that we are a fun bunch!
We saw plenty of mule deer and I had to keep reminding the hunters in our family that we were tree hunting, not deer hunting.
We drove out a little farther than we usually do. We passed Vernon reservoir which was beautiful.
Just a mile past the reservoir we realized that we had driven out of the trees, so we turned around and headed back, but spotted several deer bedded down in the trees. Can you see them?
After awhile we made it back into the trees! The bumpy road plus some very full bladders helped us pick our spot to get out and start looking.
It was so warm outside! A light jacket is all we needed.
And so we set off...keeping in mind that our tree from last year fell over THREE times (fully-decorated) due to a very bare backside. We were in search of a symmetrical, well-balanced tree.
The older boys brought their air-soft guns and shot random things along the way. We also enjoyed crunching through the snow in the shade.
Our oldest found this tree and was quite proud of himself (note the manly flexing) until we realized that the backside was a little bare. We considered it for awhile, but decided to keep looking for a little bit longer.
During our search the kids found a few interesting sights: orange lichen on a rock,
and a pile of cow poo with mushrooms growing out of it.
We finally found a perfect symmetrical tree! There was only one problem: it was 20 feet tall. That problem didn't last long as we soon discovered that if we took the top 2/3, it would still be a great Christmas tree.
Yay!! No falling tree this year!
We had walked about 1/2 a mile in search of our tree. Fortunately, we found it on the top of the hill, so most of the trek back to the truck was downhill.
But we soon realized that we didn't know where the truck was and we wanted to cover as little ground as possible while carrying the tree. So we sent a couple kids down to the truck so we could get pointed in the right direction.
A half mile is a long ways to shout "Have you found the truck yet?"
It took all of us listening very closely to hear them yell back...we should have brought our radios!
Finally we got our bearings and headed down to the truck.
It has been 8 years since we started this tradition...it sure is nice to have kids old enough to really help.
When we got back to the truck it was 2 hours past lunch time and we were starving! We pulled out our camp chef and cooked up some hot dogs and warmed up some hot chocolate, although after carrying the tree we were hot and sweaty. (We thought it would be cold)
We had a tasty lunch on the tailgate of the truck.
After lunch we got the tree secured on the trailer and headed out.
On our way out to the highway we stopped at the infamous tree. Last year our group had a slight mishap with a 4-wheeler. As we drove by, we noticed that there was still evidence of the collision. (We are still feeling so grateful that no one was seriously hurt!)