La Sal Mt. Christmas Tree

It's officially December -- time to find a Christmas tree!  The temperatures are still hovering in the 50s down in the desert, so we drove up to the LaSal Moutains to have our first semi-snowy excursion of the winter.

50-degree red rock desert doesn't look like a promising start, but ...

During the week, we stopped by the US Forest Service office in Moab to grab a permit, which only costs $10.  They're open weekdays from 8:00am - 4:30pm.  For that price, you can cut down a tree up to 8 feet tall.  Pretty sweet deal.

On Sunday, we started the drive up into the mountains.  The LaSals aren't really that snowy yet, which was a little disconcerting.  It was 56 degrees down in the desert and there wasn't a speck of snow on the red rocks, so it was hard to feel super-Christmasy.  But as we started driving up the mountain, things got better.  We saw patches of snow and were surrounded by juniper, pinyon, and ponderosa.  There are a couple spots that the USFS recommends for Christmas trees, so we took the northernmost road that heads towards Gateway, CO.  The roads were still in pretty good shape-- we ran into a couple icy spots and had to toss rocks in the back of the 2WD Ranger, but it wasn't too much of a problem.  We passed the dinosaur tracks and pulled out on a tree-covered peninsular.  Jackpot!

We found what looked like a cute little pinyon and loaded it up in the back of the truck.  But here's a thing I learned about Christmas trees:  they look way smaller out in the woods than they do in a living room.  Our tree looks huge in our house, which was kind of awesome until it toppled over!  Jordan was a pro and decorated if for a second (and hopefully last!) time.

Decorated Tree II -- following the monstrous faceplant of Decorated Tree I.