Now that we made it through stuffing ourselves full of turkey on Thursday, what better to do with the rest of our long weekend then to go deep into the forest to cut down the perfect Christmas tree? We invited our friends, Dan and Jill, to join us because they had only gotten their tree from the grocery store parking lot and never actually cut down their own tree before, so this was going to be fun showing the ‘newbies’ the ropes!

We woke up early on a Saturday morning and got dressed in our warm, winter clothes since we knew it would be cold where we were headed, even though frankly in Salem it wasn’t really that cold. But hey, we were going to be seeing our first snow of the season so we wanted to be dressed for it! After making sure we had the car packed with extra dry clothes, saws, camp stove, hot cocoa and assorted flavors (some adult flavors too!) to go in the hot cocoa, whipped cream, snacks, blankets to keep warm in the car, tarps for transporting the trees back home, bungee cords music cd’s for the drive (no radio reception where we were going), game boys (for the kids) and the obligatory dog, we filled up our gas tanks and headed to the Detroit forest.

The drive took about an hour and was one of those great fall drives where the leaves were all changing so it was beautiful along Highway 22. Just the drive itself was worth getting up early! But knowing we were about to have a forest adventure made it all that much more fun!

We bought two licenses to cut down trees for just $5 each and we went over the rules of what we could and couldn’t cut down. No trees over 12 feet tall, no trees close to the road and other rules like that (see editor’s note below). Then we headed on into the forest. We passed beautiful rivers and waterfalls and about 10 minutes in we hit snow! We were on forest service roads that were pretty rocky and some of them were pretty steep, so we decided to have everyone in the other car (a Jetta) pile in my SUV since some of the terrain we were passing over was a little tough for a regular car. We didn’t want that Jetta getting stuck out there in the middle of the forest where there was no cell phone service.

The guys found our first tree at the top of a steep hill. Between us yelling and pointing out trees we liked from down below (why didn’t we bring our walkie talkies? Next year for sure we’ll remember!) and the guys working on a steep hill it took them a while to get this tree down the hill to us. We hung out below eating snow, making a snow ‘dog’ and having snowball fights.

By the time the tree was cut down and dragged down the hill, we were all pretty cold so Greg fired up the campstove and made us all hot cocoa. Mine had tuaca in it (yum!) and others had schnapps in it…but all had the peppermint whipped cream on top that I found on a trip to Bend a few weeks ago. Of course the kids were stuck with plain ol’ hot cocoa despite the whining that they wanted ‘flavors’ like we had!

Our second tree took a bit longer to find. I think the first one was so easy and was so perfect that it was hard to top that. We drove around quite a bit looking for another perfect tree and finally found it up a much shorter hill than the first one, thank goodness. We drove past a beautiful scenic viewpoint there in the forest where we stopped and looked out upon a beautiful valley and other mountain ranges. How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful state where we get amazing views like this and have to drive just an hour to find snow and the perfect Christmas Tree!

~Happy Holidays from Oregon!
Carole G.

Editor’s Note: If you’d rather venture out to one of Oregon’s many Christmas tree farms, here are some resources –

1) for a listing of Oregon’s Christmas tree farms.

2) to meet Ev’rett the Friendly Evergreen and play holiday games, visit where Christmas trees are grown, plus tips for your tree’s care and earth friendly recycling. What’s more, enter a decorated tree photo contest to win a vacation package to Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.

We strongly urge you to check weather conditions and adequately prepare for inclement weather before you head out into the forest. In addition, please follow all Forest Service regulations before cutting down trees (Download this U.S. Forest Service guidelines PDF document).

Also, if you’re venturing far from home, AAA recommends the following list of ‘must-haves’ in case of emergencies. They include: a fully charged mobile phone; blankets or sleeping bags; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; drinking water; high-calorie non-perishable food; extra clothing; waterproof matches; sack of sand, cat litter, or traction mats; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; tool kit; tow rope; booster cables; compass and road maps; and emergency flares or reflectors.

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  1. Robbie Tsuboi says…

    Great Outing. Now you need to show the part where they try to get the really tall tree into their house and how it looks after it is all decorated!

    Written on December 6th, 2006 / Flag this Comment
  2. guy says…

    Sounds fun. We may try this next year. Thanks for the info and reminders.

    Written on December 16th, 2006 / Flag this Comment
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