The Hunt for a Christmas Tree


This weekend, Peter, Piper, and I woke up early, put some hot coffee in our insulated coffee mugs, and hopped into the car, bound for the mountains.

The goal: acquire this years Christmas Tree!

Fir the Forests! 

Here in Colorado, you're allowed to chop down your own Christmas tree! The permit is usually about $10 (ya, it's super cheap!) and you get to have a day outside hiking, enjoying some fresh winter air, in search of your tree!

This is far and away my favorite way to get a tree. They're small and practical, very inexpensive, 100% organic, and you get to go into the mountains instead of some random parking lot where someone's going to try and get $100 out of you.

Some may wonder: isn't it good to not cut down trees in our national forest?

The answer is yes, but you have to remember that federal forests and parks are heavily managed. Forestry work is constantly being done to mitigate fire risk, and Christmas tree chopping actually aids this work! You can only take trees  6 inches or less in diameter, so you're not taking any oldies, and selectively cutting the smaller trees can help limit the amount of forestry work that needs to be done in a location.


The Hike

We found ourselves in Winter Park, CO, buying our permit and heading into a few of the approved chopping areas in the  Arapaho National Forest.

This area is well maintained for Christmas tree cutting. The forest service roads are plowed and there are designated parking lots. Even though the roads were plowed, they were still quite an adventure to travel! When we reached the spot we wanted to head into, there were a few other families around. I realized that lots of people have been doing this for many years. They bring stoves and roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate.

We put on our jackets and started off into the woods. Our dog, Piper, absolutely adores the snow and was having an amazing time romping around in the forest! We ended up finding a tree that was growing under a large stretch of power lines. This is an area that is going to be cleared one way or another by the power company to maintain the lines properly. We hope our tree would prefer to be a Christmas tree than just chopped down to protect the lines.

Our tree fit perfectly into our small, one bedroom apartment! It's about 8 feet tall, but thinner than traditional Doug Firs and Nobles. It's some sort of pine, though I haven't ID'd it to species. It's about 8 feet tall and probably 3 across at breast height. We're incredibly happy with it, and now our apartment smells amazing!