And so, on Saturday morning, while Otto was napping, the husband went to get a permit ($10! Thus making getting our own tree not only a fabulous family tradition but also the most economical option) at the Forest Service office. Uh oh-Closed. But! A sign informed that the visitor's center up the mountain was open and selling permits from 9am-4pm*... No worries!
After Little O woke up, we had lunch (mmm...Reuben sammiches), got bundled up, loaded the sled, hand saw, rope and thermos of hot chocolate into the back of the car and away we went! 45 min. later, we were up in the Snowy Range looking at flocked pine trees and gorgeous mountain vistas. Beautiful! Breathtaking! Perfect Xmas tree procuring weather!
We pulled into the visitor's center parking lot, nearly breathless with anticipation, our saliva glands in overdrive at the thought of the PERFECT TREE that surely awaited us...and then we saw it:
For a brief moment, we considered just getting a tree anyway. What are the odds of getting caught? Well, considering my luck, pretty good actually. And no tree is worth the kind of fine they lay on Xmas tree poachers. And so, not to completely waste the trip (and the hot chocolate) we got out anyway, went for a short hike and enjoyed some amazing views of frozen wilderness.
Then it was back in the car and back to town. We drove all the way in to the nursery and picked out a tree from the tree lot. In our gators and snow boots. For $30. Sigh. So it took 3.5 hours to get a tree that was, after all, about 8 minutes from our house.
And while the tree is cute, it is perfect...too perfect. But its there, in our basement- strewn with lights and ornaments.
And we got a good story, anyway. But next year, not to point fingers, but I'm buying the tree permit.
*Yeah...he thought the sign said 4pm, but when we went back to look, it really said 2pm...