Little Bitty Fir Trees

I am about to struggle into my bunny-suit and felt-lined winter boots and charge into a 27° cold gray day with a biting north wind, to feed our horses and cattle.

We’re looking at a week of cold and ice and snow. I’m feeling anxious. Then, I flash back to younger years, in the early seventies, when we lived in the mountains of Colorado.

One winter a bunch of us guys got together and made a cross country ski camping trip up into the high country. We were too brave, ignorant, whatever, to know better.

We clipped into our skis and struck out into a blizzard, a “white out”.

After a long afternoon, most of which was spent “herring-boning” up pretty steep inclines (rather than gliding along like those Nordic dudes you see in the winter Olympics) we finally found what looked like a good campsite in a grove of little bitty fir trees.

It was like a dwarf forest.

We pitched our nylon bivouac tents in a circle and built a fire in the middle out of broken boughs of dead wood we had found.

After a supper of half frozen, freeze-dried camp food, we stood around the fire and told stories and even sang a few songs.

Then we crawled into our goose down mummy-bags. At dawn we awakened to a below zero sunrise. The insides of the tents were glazed with ice, from our frosty breath. We were planning to pitch into breakfast making when we discovered that our campfire had burned down to the bottom of a ten foot well in the snow!

But that’s not all.

In the summer of that next year Sallie and I hiked up to that same area. We were looking for that campsite. I wanted to show her the cute, little bitty fir trees.

On arrival we were greeted with a grove of twenty foot tall Douglas fir!

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