This year, for the first time, instead of buying a Christmas tree in a lot or at a U-Cut farm, Andy and I joined his dad, stepmom, sister, and niece in venturing out into the snowy woods to find cut a tree ourselves with a Forest Service permit. Andy's dad has done this for many years, and I've always enjoyed the spindly character of the trees he finds. They aren't quite Charlie Brown trees, but trees found in the forest have so much more personality than the uniform, bushy ones bought in a store.
When we met at the Smithbrook road turnout on a Sunday morning, it was snowing pretty heavily, as it had been all weekend. Andy and I strapped on our new snowshoes - our first time using them! - and headed off on the well packed road. We were passed by a few other groups, as well as one snowmobile, but mostly we had the trail to ourselves.
Since our adorable two-year-old niece was with us, we took our time walking up the road, stopping along the way to build a snowman, carve small snow caves for her to hide in, and to admire the views. Eventually, we reached a flat open area where Andy and I ventured off the road to find our tree. Even with snowshoes on, I was sinking to my knees in the soft, fresh snow. Without them, the rest of our group had to wait on the road - otherwise they would have been up to their armpits in snow!
After much debating, we finally chose our tree. We had to work quickly, because the rest of our group was getting cold waiting for us on the road. Once we had our tree, we hurried back to the car to tie down our tree and drive down the road for a late lunch at the 59er Diner before heading home.
If you live in Washington, information on cutting your own tree in the forest can be found on the forest service website.