Christmas Tree Hunting in Colorado

The day after Thanksgiving each year, we drive into the Colorado mountains in search of THE perfect Christmas tree.

But before we go into that, I’d like to tell you about my new obsession: Dazbog Coffee. They have a Karmel Kone Latte that I wish I were sipping right this very minute.

Their locations are primarily in Colorado, but a few years ago they had one practically around the corner from me in Burbank. Sadly that location has since gone out of business, so I’d like to start a one-woman campaign to bring Dazbog back to Southern California. Who’s with me?

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Once we are appropriately caffeinated, we pile into the car to drive about 90 minutes into the mountains southwest of Denver. Our destination is Buffalo Creek.

I will never tire of looking at the Colorado landscape: the greenery, the winding rivers, the wild cattle.

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We caravan with about four other cars, our trunks full of goodies for a picnic to fuel the tree hunting adventure.

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Into the woods! (Which also happens to be one of my favorite Broadway musicals. Expect more references like this.)

It’s picnic time…

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The highlights of our meal include chili made with last night’s Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and topped with sour cream, cheese, and Fritos, plus lots of cornbread and baked goods for dessert.

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I spy Jayne’s hand reaching for a glass of red wine.

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And then we put on our tree scouting hats. This proves to be the easiest year yet, as we immediately stumble across a grove of perfect evergreen trees. That never happens! I think it’s because we drove further into the mountains this year.

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Usually we spend a good hour tracking down the perfect tree, not including the time it takes to cut it down, haul it back to the car, and tie it up on the roof. This year we do all of that in less than an hour. And we have six or seven permits, so that’s a fair number of “perfect” trees to scope out.

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A special shout out to these two kids (and their sweet parents, grandma, and aunt). They are quite fun and well-behaved, and it is a joy to see how much they’ve grown every Thanksgiving.

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We found our tree!

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This dog is named Inca. I love travel-inspired pet names.

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Christmas tree bounty!

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Here’s my sister Bethany, our Uncle David, and me:

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We arrive back in Denver just in time to catch the most bold sunset. Check out those colors.

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It’s become a mini-tradition that the night after Thanksgiving my uncle hosts a small gathering back at his place. He makes his famous crab cakes with remoulade sauce, served alongside yummy Turkey Day left-overs. He even woke up early that morning to make a second Bourbon Pecan Pie, since the first one was such a hit the night before. I contributed homemade coleslaw that was so tasty (just don’t ask how many CUPS of mayo and sugar are in the recipe).

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This is my uncle’s incredibly gorgeous living room. Doesn’t it make you want to curl up in that armchair with a good book?

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And here’s the view from the guest bedroom: the Denver skyline.

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And then tragedy strikes. My sister had been battling a cold for several weeks and was put on antibiotics, which it turns out she’s allergic to. She came down with a drug rash overnight and after two trips to the ER (and a 104 degree fever the second time), she was admitted to the hospital overnight. This was about two hours before we were supposed to fly back home. I called Delta in a panic from the ER parking lot, and they could not have been nicer to deal with — they rescheduled us to fly back to LA the following night (on the busiest travel weekend of the year, no less) at no additional cost. Usually any communication with an airline leaves me frustrated, but I am so pleased with Delta’s customer service.

Here’s a shot the following morning of my sister in her hospital bed. She was such a trooper.

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And this was a funny coincidence: we had the TV on in the background and and episode of The Cosby Show was playing. And I recognized this face: Kristoff St. John, one of the actors on my soap opera! He’s won two Daytime Emmys for playing Neil Winters. He shot this episode in 1984 (the year I was born). I asked him about it at work the following week during our lunchtime blocking and he told us stories about shooting that Cosby episode.

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And then it was time to go to the airport. If you’ve flown into Denver before, you’ll recognize those iconic Rocky Mountain-inspired peaks on the terminal roof. It’s a beautiful work of art.

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And that wraps up our 2012 Thanksgiving adventure. Despite an unexpected trip to the hospital, it was a superb weekend and the memories are flooding back as I review these photos with a big smile on my face.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Tree Hunting in Colorado

  1. Hi Erica. I am a very, very distant cousin of yours. I met your mom and dad when I was dealing with my cousin Guy Beach’s estate and we’ve become fast friends. I’ve been hearing a lot about you the last couple of years since. Your mom provided me with the link to your blog and I keep finding “connections.” I grew up in Oakville, CT. I live in Colorado, just northeast of Denver. I was in the Galapagos in October. I am off to southeast Asia next week. Cape Cod is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve always had wanderlust and now fear I might not make it to all the places I want to go before I get too old. I’m so happy you’re having grand adventures while you’re young. Don’t stop!!! Wishing you all the best, Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! I have heard so much about you and look forward to the day we get to meet! My mom shared photos of your trip to Costa Rica and it looks like such a fun visit. Which parts of SE Asia will you be visiting? I haven’t had a chance to write much about it on my blog yet, but I LOVED my time in that part of the world and suspect you will have a marvelous time there. Thank you for the well wishes and bon voyage!!

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