Hi everyone! As you may have read in yesterday’s post, we spent most of our day on Saturday chopping down a Christmas tree with our friends. Since it’s a pretty epic story, I decided to make it my last “Try New Things Tuesday” post of 2015! I need to do these more often in 2016 🙂 Anyways, here’s what happened!
Our friends were looking for a real tree, and since it was their first Christmas in Alaska they wanted to go big and get their own tree. The Chugach National Forest allows you to cut down your own tree as long as it’s a certain distance away from the road, so on Saturday morning we bundled up and started driving south on the Seward Highway! We stopped to get fresh spring water from a hole in one of the cliffs on Turnagain Arm, and I couldn’t get over how gorgeous it was in the winter!
After driving for about 45 minutes, it started to rain. We were bummed about the thought of a rainy tree chopping expedition until we started driving into the mountains and the rain quickly turned into snow! We had to turn around because the snow was coming down really hard and we knew we were going to have trouble cutting down a tree with such deep snow on the ground. But since we don’t have snow like this in Anchorage, we decided to get out and play in it for a little while!
It was snowing so hard we could barely see the base of the mountain!
Tallest snowbank ever! She’s standing up!
After driving back down the mountain a bit, we decided to pull off near what looked like an unmarked trail. We scrambled over giant piles of snow and eventually found a bridge that led off into the woods. And at that point the tree hunt was officially underway! We walked for about 10 minutes just enjoying the falling snow and the huge trees. It was absolutely silent and it felt amazing to be so far away from the rest of the world!
Scrambling through the forest
We eventually found a clearing which had some good options, but we still couldn’t find “the one”. We did take lots of selfies though!
After walking another 10 minutes deeper into the woods, we found another clearing. We walked around the border of it in knee-deep snow, and that’s when we found “the one”! The tree looked full and short enough to fit inside their apartment, so we started chopping it down. We all took turns with the hatchet, and it was actually more fun (and more work!) than I thought it would be! And we also made a few snow angels and had some snowball fights.
So deep! This is why snowshoes are a thing…
I stopped mid-snow angel to take this selfie of me playing while the boys look for a tree 🙂
Cutting down “the one”!
Once we chopped down the tree, we had to level it out and leave as little trace as possible. By this point my feet were starting to freeze, and my down jacket was getting pretty soaked. I definitely did not expect that much snow when I was getting dressed, but I knew we were in the home stretch of the trip. Our last step was carrying it back out to the car. Luckily the boys did it while us girls continued to take pictures of everything. The falling snow was so peaceful and gorgeous, and I couldn’t stop staring straight up!
After tying the tree to the top of the car, we stopped in Girdwood for some donuts and hot chocolate before heading back home for a nice hot bath and some dry clothes.
Overall, I was really glad we had this experience, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever do it for my own tree! On my Try New Things Tuesday Scale, I would give this a 3 out of 5.
What I liked:
- The weather was PERFECT! It was in the low 30s and snowing, which is just about the best weather you can ever have. I wish I could guarantee that weather every time!
- We managed to find a pre-existing trail which made walking easier, although none of us knew where we were.
- We did it in a group, and they had their gun in case we needed protection from animals and the right equipment to cut down a tree. I felt that they were super prepared, which is so important when you’re in the middle of nowhere in Alaska!
- We had a map from the state that listed all the legal places we could cut down our own tree, which was very helpful.
- It’s so cool to know exactly where your tree came from and have a good story about how you got it. What a fun memory!
What I didn’t really like:
- It was a TON of work. It took all day and I was exhausted afterwards. None of us thought to bring our snowshoes, which would have helped with the knee-deep snow! Walking around in that is definitely a workout!
- Cutting down a tree takes a really long time. And so does carrying it back to the car.
- Trees in a national forest aren’t like the trees you can buy in the city, so it takes a while to find one that isn’t crooked, huge, or has huge gaps.
- They had to let their tree dry off before brining it inside because it was covered in snow.
If they do it again next year we’ll probably go – but you better believe I’m keeping my fake pre-lit Christmas tree! I am not switching over to Team Real Tree anytime soon. It was such a fun thing to do with friends though, and just one more crazy Alaskan thing that I couldn’t do at home!
Have you ever cut down a tree in the middle of a forest? Would you do it again? And who else is on Team Fake Tree?