If the thought of spending the day after Thanksgiving shopping among the frenzied, pie-fed, bargain-seeking masses makes you punchy, consider another option. Trade black for green and spend the day grabbing your Christmas tree.
A remarkably unscientific survey reveals nine out of 10 local outdoorsy types recommend heading past Sisters, parking where McKenzie Pass is closed and striking out on foot into the forest land to find perfect-for-Yule firs. We fine-tuned this information by checking in with the experts: Deschutes National Forest Service office advises that pines can be found on flatter ground at lower elevations around Bend and on south and west facing slopes around Prineville. If firs and cedars are more to your liking look to higher elevations around Bend and Sisters and on north and east facing slopes around Prineville.
Harvesting trees on Forest Service land does require purchase of a $5 permit per tree; permits must be attached to trees while in transit, and there is a five tree limit per household. Permits are available at Powder House, Bi-mart, Bend Convention and Visitor Bureau, as well as the Forest Service Office.
Want to make it an even greener experience? Hold your handsaws until Saturday, Dec. 6 and head to Deschutes Land Trust's Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt. For a $10 donation you get access to a winter wonderland and a beverage to warm you and yours as you stalk and capture a grand fir of your very own, all the while knowing you helped restore native forests. www.deschuteslandtrust.org/events/2014-tree-hunt