Going into the wild and cutting down your own Christmas tree is something most people would love to do. You see it every year on the Hallmark Channel. They make it seem fun, beautiful, and the perfect place. It usually looks like an open field of hundreds of the perfect Christmas trees or a tree standing by itself perfectly in a majestic forest.

My wife is obsessed with Christmas trees and always wants the perfect one. When we moved to Idaho, one of the first things she said to me was, " I can't wait to cut down our first Christmas tree here." We made our way to the South Hills this week and decided we would finally cut down our first tree, and we learned a few things on our adventure.

Getting a permit is essential so get one before you head into the South Hills

Before we decided to head to the South Hills, both my wife and I had been notified that getting a permit was a must. They don't cost very much, and we were told to stop by the Rock Creek General Store on our way there. Our GPS took us a different way, so we did not pass the store and ended up deep in the South Hills before we realized, we missed it. We had to backtrack about 15 to 20 miles to then get it and head back into the South Hills. Make sure you have everything before making the drive.

Credit: Jeff
Credit: Jeff
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It is not like a Hallmark or Lifetime movie

I had pictured in my head this beautiful field covered in snow with rows of the perfect Christmas trees. I was thinking of a tree farm because that field did not exist in the South Hills. You have to hike into the forest or search for a while to find the one that perfectly fits you and your family. The trees were not as full as what I am used to either. They are beautiful, but just different than what you find on a tree lot. Be prepared to not have it look like a big bushy tree.

Credit: Jeff
Credit: Jeff
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There is nobody to help you or phone service to call for help

One thing we quickly learned on our adventure was we had no idea where to go or what we were looking for. Unfortunately, there is no guide and no phone service to call someone to help you out. We tried following a car, but that ended terribly, as we caught them going to the bathroom outside. Make sure you know how to get back to the main road if you take side ones, cause it is easy to get lost. Make sure not to get stuck either, as the mud can be thick and the slopes are steep. 

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Finding the right Christmas Tree

At the end of the day, the result was what we wanted. We eventually found the right tree for us and were able to get it home. It was a search, and we had decided to give up before finding it. It was not in a field or the middle of the forest by itself, but instead on the side of a hill attached to another tree. 

Credit: Jeff
Credit: Jeff
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Be prepared and lower your expectations when going to cut down a tree in the wild. It is fun and will make for a great story. I recommend everyone do it at least once, but if you are like me and think it is like the movies, it is not. Prepare in advance, be safe, have fun, and happy Christmas tree shopping.

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