Fresh snow has capped the high hills here in the Salish lands, which is often enough my signal that the annual Christmas tree hunt has descended upon us.
If you don’t know a thing about getting a tree from the woods, but want to learn, I wrote a bit a few years back aptly called: Christmas Trees which attempts to entertain and educate on the matter, otherwise read on;
First things being first, we made a trip to the friendly North Bend Ranger Station to get our harvest permit. In addition to the permit, the Ranger also gave us a handy xeroxed harvest boundary map. Not a bad way to blow ten bucks!
Permit in hand, we made a bee line for the exit 47 to look for the elusive “Noble fir” but found only an ugly traffic jam on a snow covered forest service road.
Didn’t get any pics, ’cause we got the heck out of there fast!
PEACE ON EARTH
The last thing we were looking for was a traffic jam. Trust me, we get enough of that back in town…
Fortunately the population in Pugetopolis is still low enough that it’s possible to find solitude with relative ease, even just off the interstate.
Going back west down the ’90 a few exits, we started up roads of freshly fallen snow and far fewer tire tracks.
When just the right little pull out presented itself, we parked and set out on foot behind a set of earlier prints.
One human, one dog. Likely an adult male human due to the size of the boot print.
The footprints made quiet companions on the trip uphill. I tried to envision the pair trotting around amongst the trees, but due to the lack of a parked vehicle, I wasn’t expecting to see anyone.
We left the footprints to wander off on their own and headed southeast up a decades long abandoned, wide grade. Probably an old logging road. Despite the wash of white across the duff, shadows ruled below the trees.
Not even a Charlie Brown treelet grew beneath this dense canopy, but up ahead I saw some holiday hope in the form of a clearing.
Along the peripherals of this starkly white plot, I thought perhaps might grow a suitable árbol de Navidad.
The ‘road’ was disintegrating into forest anyway, so I broke off, noticing a few snow dusted 55 gallon drums discarded among the tree trunks…
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
A bit closer to the clearing, which was now recognizable as snowy talus, I saw an old bed frame leaning against a rock retaining wall.
A few other mysterious walls and an assortment of metallic castaways presented themselves as I scoured the area.
Some decaying lumber suggested the past existence of a building, and as I stood there, I sunk ankle deep into a midden of even more discarded rust covered tidbits.
Someone had spent quite some time on this hill.
OH TANNENBAUM, NO TANNENBAUM
After my curiosities about the site had been temporarily satiated I continued out onto the talus slope. A trail width was evident across, but any semblance of that trail rapidly devolved in the woods beyond.
No little Tannenbaums were to be found as I’d hoped, but the long view from the talus toward the arctic visage of Dirty Harry’s Balcony made up for it.
Heading down the hill without a tree but with much lower expectations, we happened to spot the perfect little arbolito standing out amongst the shrubbery.
On the way back to the car, Arbolito (as he was now known) and I stumbled across yet another unusual find…
Joey Ramone’s sultry vocals crooned between my brain lobes:
♫♪I don’t wanna be buried, in a pet cemetery, I don’t wanna live my life again…♫♪
Ugh, at least I hope it was a pet’s grave.
Arbolito and I observed a moment of silence for “Niko” both out of respect and in the hopes that if Niko was now undead and roaming these woods, we might be spared it’s hunger.
It was getting dark and time to split, especially in light of “Niko”. A handful of stragglers drove by as Arbolito and I discussed seating arrangements for the trip home:
“Hey Arbolito, are you ready to play…
‘Romney Family Christmas’…!?!”
Don’t know how? Don’t worry, it’s easy! Just get your piney ol’ stump up on that there roof and I’ll do the rest!”
HAPPY TRAILS AND MERRY WHATEVER!
…and truly thank you so much for reading!