On the Saturday before Christmas Kyle and I decided that it was time to go get our Christmas tree. We had been talking about going out to get one since Thanksgiving, but life intervened and we were saddled with commitments at work for weeks. It was a bit of a foggy day, but the weather was good enough, so we ventured out. We geared up and hopped onto our newly fixed snowmachine, ready to head up the mountain to find a tree. We were barely out of town when I, riding on the back, wrapped my arms around Kyle and started holding on for dear life.
Kyle slowed the machine down, turned around, and asked me, “What’s wrong? Why do you have a death grip on me?’
“We are going sooooo fast, I feel like I’m about to fall off!” I replied.
“Um, just now we were going 20mph.” He explained.
“Really, that’s it? Wow, I must be a wuss,” I thought to myself. Out loud I said, “Ok, well let me just adjust my facemask and then we can be on our way.” After adjusting my face mask and hat, I tapped Kyle on the shoulder, our signal for “Go ahead.”
Vrooom, off we went! As we zoomed across the tundra, I was able to lean over and look at the speedometer, 30mph. “Gosh,” I thought to myself, “Why does this feel like we are going at NASCAR speeds!?” I continued to grasp the handles as my knuckles turned white from having such a tight grip.
Shortly after we left town Kyle turned right at an intersection where I had expected him to turn left. We had a short visit to the reindeer herd in town, and then continued on our way up on the mountain to get a tree.
At the first small grove of spruce trees, I tapped Kyle on the shoulder and we stopped. We tromped around, investigating the trees, but none was the right one. On we went, stopping at at least 5 different groves of trees until we finally found “the one.”
“This is it!” I exclaimed as I saw the tree.
After Kyle cut it down, we then had quite the dilemma, how were we going to get it back to town? We own a sled for the snowmachine, but it had been left in Shaktoolik in the spring and was still there. So, I hopped onto our rig and Kyle handed me the tree. I held it in my left hand, using my right hand to hold onto the snowmachine. I hope you can picture this, me all bundled up in my gear, perilously holding a tree out to the side of me as we drove down the mountain. We went for about 5 minutes like this, and all was well. After a little bit though, I had an idea of how to readjust the tree so that I could hang onto it better. I tapped Kyle, we stopped, I readjusted the tree, thinking to myself, “Oh, this will be much more secure!” Kyle asked, “OK, you got it?” “Yes!” I replied and we took off.
Not even two minutes later, I frantically tapped Kyle’s shoulder and told him, “The tree fell off!!!”
“But you said you had it?” he asked, confused.
“Well, I dunno, but it’s back there on the trail,” I replied.
After obtaining the fallen tree (no branches were broken) Kyle decided to carry it in his hand as he drove back into town. He managed to maneuver both the tree and the snowmachine and bring us safely back into town. And that, is how we got our first ever Christmas tree!