Do you remember your first Christmas tree?
As a kid growing up in Hawaii we didn’t have many options for finding Christmas trees. The closest my family ever came to picking our own tree was purchasing one shipped over in a refrigerated container from the mainland. The selection was usually limited to either Douglas or Noble firs, they cost anywhere from $30 to $75 and up. If you wanted something that was grown on the islands, there were a couple of farms that grew “Hawaiian Christmas trees,” also known as Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla). However, I always thought they were ugly and were unable to show the true potential of Christmas spirit.
When my husband and I made the decision to move to Idaho, one of the things we talked about wanting to do was to pick our own tree when the holiday came around. I had visions of our family going to a tree farm nearby, choosing what we wanted then going home to decorate it. The weekend after Thanksgiving we did some research and discovered that there were only two tree farms in the area. Also, the one we wanted to visit had only opened for business the weekend after Thanksgiving and was already sold out. Disappointed, we decided to just buy a pre-cut tree and try again the following year.
Never Give Up!
My husband, not satisfied with waiting another year, did some research and found out that we could get a permit from the Ranger District office and cut down our own tree. He went to work the next day and spoke with one of his coworkers, Jim Lewis, and they made plans for us to fulfill one of our many dreams as a family. After the plan was set, I went to the Mountain Home Ranger District office, paid $10 and we were set!
On Saturday (December 3rd) our family met Jim and his wife Heather along with their two granddaughters. Shortly after, we left Mountain Home on Highway 20 and headed north. We turned off Highway 20, onto Forest Road 61 towards Pine, then took a right onto Forest Road 114 towards Featherville. The drive was absolutely beautiful and took us along the northeastern tip of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. We followed Jim and Heather to an old logging road off Cayuse Creek Road, parked our vehicles, bundled the kids up, and began hunting on foot in search of our trees. Our prospects were not great at first and we debated checking other locations, however, Jim felt that it would be hard to find an area that wasn’t affected by the endless fires that took place that previous Summer.
We Found Our Tree!
We continued up the road and spotted some trees on a steep hill above us, so we decided to hike towards them while Jim ran back to the truck to get the chainsaw.
Since my first experience with snow had happened only one week prior, I was completely unprepared for the uphill climb. I did not have many options as far as footwear went, so I had left home that morning wearing my cowgirl boots and hoping that there would be no hills to climb. Oops!
After slipping and sliding my way to the top, we walked around debating the merits of each tree we came across. Too sparse, too tall, too short, too crooked, finally settling on two 10 foot tall Rocky Mountain Douglas-firs and down they came. After dragging them back to the truck, we took a couple of quick pictures and then tagged them for transport back to Mountain Home. We were excited; we finally had our first, real Christmas tree!
If you’ve never done something like this before, I would recommend you try it at least once. It was a memory I will never forget and something I know we will do again. Mahalo to the Lewis’ for taking us on our first Idaho adventure in the mountains. We had a blast!