Sorry for a month of slow blog activity, but I’m back!  I just finished the first draft of my manuscript for my book, and will now let it rest and breathe for the next month before the job of editing and re-writing begins.  When I actually start to market it to agents, I’ll definitely write more about the book and some of the stories from it.

There’s something about spending the holidays in the mountains — it just seems like the quintessential holiday tradition.  Sitting in front of roaring fire in the wood stove, sipping hot cocoa, watching snow fall gently outside on the deck.  Holiday lights are appearing around the neighborhood, and rumor has it, that it might even snow this week, which would be a welcome change to the summer-like temperatures we have experienced in the past few days.

Speaking of holiday traditions, a very unique fun mountain outing is cutting your own Christmas tree down on U.S. Forest Service land.  But just because it’s public land, doesn’t mean you should run for the nearest parking lot in the Indian Peaks Wilderness to cut down a gorgeous Douglas-fir tree.

Only the Red Feather Lakes area and the Forest Service areas near Winter Park allow cutting of trees in designated areas, and you have to purchase your permit in advance.  But for $10 to get a sizeable Christmas tree, what more could you ask?

Bryon and I had our own crazy foray into cutting trees on Forest Service land while living in the Grand Junction area.  We purchased a permit to cut a tree on the Grand Mesa, but went right after a huge snowstorm.  Wading through snow that was 2-3 feet deep, it was difficult to even make out what type of trees we were looking at.  This was kind of important as the parameters of the permit dictated that you could only cut certain species of evergreen trees.  We finally settled on what looked like a very full fir tree, only to find out two other important facts when cutting your tree in the forest.

It’s good to brush off the snow to take a closer look, lest you end up with the double-trunked tree we did the first winter.  Dragging a 12-foot long two-trunked tree through three feet of snow is no easy feat.  We were so tired from pulling that thing to the parking lot, even though we realized our mistake as we hoisted the tree on the roof rack, we didn’t even care, and ended up tying the trunks together in true Charlie Brown-like fashion .  Secondly, trees that look remarkably small in the forest, are much bigger than you think, once you drag them into your home, and you will end up doing a lot of sawing off the top or bottom of the tree.

All good fun aside, cutting your own Christmas tree can be a really fun experience, and it definitely gets you out into the great outdoors for the day.  And if you’re really not that inspired to make a 1-2 hour drive to cut down a tree, you can still get that fresh-cut experience going to a commercial Christmas tree farm in and around Denver.  Of course, it will cost you more around $10 per foot, than $10 for the whole tree.

Happy holidays!