December 10, 2016 – Tree Chop Adventure

We started getting our Christmas tree up in the mountains with Chris, Jeanne, Paige and Ivan Allen about three years ago. We have such a great time and it’s always an adventure. It’s sort of the perfect team because some are cautious, some are brave, all are adventurous and all are intelligent. They have one kid and one dog, and we have one kid and one dog. Everyone gets along well and we communicate well and openly with each other. 

This year we had A LOT of snow to contend with.  First Jason and I got stuck and not much later Chris and Jeanne got stuck.  After driving through snow laden trees that barely left enough room to pass through, we finally found a really cool turn around area where we pulled around and parked.  Chris, Jeanne and Jason headed off to find a tree while Isaac, Paige and I worked on building a secret fort.  The dogs scampered through the snow that was ridiculously deeper than they are tall and bounded between the tree hunters and the fort builders.  

Chris and Jeanne had brought a little propane fire pit to have lunch around.  We fired that up and got warm by it but the snow was falling so heavily and it was so windy, we decided we probably shouldn’t stay too long.  So while Jason and Chris loaded up the trees, Jeanne and I tried to cool the fire pit enough to get it safely down the mountain.  

Once we were out of the wind and heavy snow on the way back down, we stopped to do some sledding. Everyone participated and we had a great time swapping sleds and laughing with each other. The pictures are good but some of the videos I shot are great. 

After sledding we walked over to a creek and threw snow balls into the slushy creek. I say snowballs but some were more like snow boulders.  The guys were having a fantastic time! Finally we called it a day. The sun was getting low, the temperatures were dropping, Ivan and Pip were cold, and we needed to get home for dinner.

It was a wonderful adventure to be remembered for all time. 
  Chris and I went in to get our tree permits and talk to the rangers about where was safe and good to go this year. 
  The Toyotas ready for anything. Well almost.  We could have used front and rear chains on this trip, and an automatic transmission in the truck would have been a blessing. 
  Into the snowy woods we go. 
  I totally forgot why we are stoped right here. Could have been one of the times we got stuck or… ?
  Isaac catching snow out the window. 
  Consulting the map.  Which route should we take?
  Isaac and Pip exploring the area. Come to find out this entire area was full of downed trees with huge pockets of empty space. You couldn’t see that AT ALL because the snow was so deep, but then my foot went through the snow. The kids were light enough they weren’t going through the snow, but I didn’t want to take the risk.  Once we realized that we were on a tree fall, we moved away to a safer spot. 
  Paige being goofy. 
  The tree hunters return. Empty handed.  Back out to the woods!
  Snack time by the fire
  Paige shared her popcorn with Isaac. He loves popcorn!
  My favorite person
  He just looks like he belongs in rugged country. 
  Jeanne is finally allowed into the secret fort. 
  Jeanne in one “room” and the kids in the other “room”
  Guest of honor. 
  Jeanne took this one. These kids. 🙂
  This may be the only photo I’m in. Thanks Jeanne! 
  Loaded up and heading out!
  Jeanne took this one of us driving out.  This is the “open” part of the road. 
  This is the less than open part of the road. 
  It was really cool.  Glad I bought my truck to use it and not baby it. I’m pretty sure we acquired some new Love marks on it this trip. 
  Finally open road again. 
  Time for sledding! Isaac was waiting for no one.
  We stopped at this intersection to sled on the road. There wasn’t anyone else out there so it was extremely safe. Also I took this photo to show where we went which was up towards Ashland Lakes. 
  Unload the groups and put the slightly damp snow gear back on. 
  We used the center for walking up and the two tire tracks for sledding down.  It was super slick and very fast. Here comes Chris!
  Jason tried all the sleds. I’m not sure how this big man makes himself fit on some of the smallest things but he pulls it off. 
  Jeanne was holding Ivan. He was cold. I kept Pip in the car. She had stayed out longer at the top and was cold. I want to get her a warmer jacket for next time. 
  Here he comes again!
  I think Isaac was the fastest person for the day when he laid back on his orange bomber.  
  Paige and Chris. Chris had some issues keeping the little penguin sled goin forward and spent this ride spinning down the hill. 
  Two generations of speed demons 
  Paige following the “rules” while Isaac breaks them and Jason slides into the finish. 
  Leaning over the bridge hoping the snow wall didn’t give way. 
  The creek
  The actor
  The tree

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