Saturday, December 04, 2010

The hunt for a christmas tree...

Today I headed out to Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center to harvest a balsam for the Wildknits household. Having slept in and skipped my morning run I was ready for a bit of a hike so loaded up the red pack with a Sven Saw, my pruning shears, water, a snack and my camera. My plan was to find a tree that would not only fit in our small house (~800 sq ft) but also inside my car ('07 Honda Fit).

The 18 mile drive out to Boulder from town was beautiful! Trees were still coated with a thick layer of snow. I arrived to find cars parked all up and down the access road and had a bit of a hike in to the staging area.

Christmas Tree Cut Staging Area

The Boulder ELC staff and volunteers had hot chocolate, cookies and chili available in addition to several fires and were very helpful in directing me down a quieter section of trail. I love skiing out here, and spent years skijoring here with my dog Porter and various friends and family.

Pam and Porter - Winter 2006(?) heading back to the warming shack

Today I left the skis at home as there was only about 5 inches of snow and no tracks were set. Besides, my plan was to head off trail and into the woods to find the perfect tree and skis would be a hindrance in the sometimes thick undergrowth and plentiful downed trees.

I walked down the ski trail for awhile, enjoying the scenery and quiet. Eventually I came to an ungroomed trail and used that to access another section of the trail system. From there I headed off into the woods in search of "my" tree.

After ducking under and climbing over a few trees I came into this clearing

and began to look around for a nice little balsam to thin. Many of the smaller trees were bent over from the weight of the snow and I continued to wander around, checking out the various tracks under the trees as I walked. Saw lots of evidence of snowshoe hare, deer and possibly a canid or two.

I wonder who was hanging out under this log?

The frost on this branch is a pretty good clue something has hunkered down in this deadfall lately.

Close by I found the perfect tree! I had given up on the smaller trees and started checking out the taller ones. I was most interested in a nice shaped top and a decent sized trunk (the tree stand won't adjust for the itty bitty trunks of a truly 5 foot tall tree).
The tree was part of a thick stand of balsams all over 10 feet tall. I liked it's shape and that the top wasn't all tall and spindly.

After assembling the Sven Saw I set about clearing the lower branches with my pruning shears and made the first cut. Once the tree was down (dropping a lot of snow on me as it fell) it was time to trim some more low branches and make the final cut on the trunk. I wanted the tree to be around 5 - 5.5' tall as that is a nice height for our house (and would easily fit in my car for the trip home).

"My" tree after final trimming of branches and before final cut on the trunk

Once out of the woods, I headed back to the staging area where I paid for the tree and then walked back to the car.
I needed to reconfigure the seats a bit - the back seats fold flat and the front passenger seat also reclines fully giving me 7 feet of cargo space - to fit the tree inside the car.

Once loaded up it was time to head for home. Found Mr. Wildknits working on some sourdough when I arrived.

Mmmm - fresh baked bread!

1 comment:

Wayne said...

mmmmmm, bread. :)