The National Christmas Tree – the one they decorate and put up on the west lawn of the US Capitol – is coming from the Willamette National Forest. The tree was cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District and is 70 feet tall with a 24 inch diameter trunk, weighs 8,300 pounds and is 35-years-old. For the first time, a noble fir (Abies procera) has been selected. The last time the Capitol Tree was selected from Oregon was in 2002. This was a Douglas Fir from the Umpqua National Forest.
The tree is following the Oregon Trail in reverse on its way to D.C. We caught up with the Tree and its considerable entourage when they visited the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.
(click the photos in each mosaic to view them larger)
We arrived at just about 4:00, so it was still daylight. Hubby and I had a great time talking to the forest rangers and truck drivers hauling the tree. The full length of the set-up including the truck and trailer is about 105 feet! The trailer was custom made, and the new Kenworth tractor was wrapped with a really cool design. There is a team of drivers from Central Oregon Trucking here in Oregon driving the rig.
The sides of the trailer are covered in a canvas that everyone was invited to sign with well wishes for the tree and crew. Of course I took my turn signing – twice!
As 5:00 approached the crowds began to grow, and some friends of mine came by. We had a great time visiting, talking to the drivers and the park rangers. I even visited with the official photographer!
The trailer has a window in the rear so we can see the decorated top of the tree. The lights are on as they go down the road. We were told they get quite a bit of attention running down the highway!
By the time we left the moon was beginning to set over the roofline of the wagons at the museum. What a unique and memorable way to begin the holiday season!
From here the tree will travel along the trail to St. Louis where they will be part of the Thanksgiving Day parade. I sure wish we could be there. We leave on Saturday heading east and then south to Texas with a load of Christmas Trees ourselves. They won’t all be celebrities though. Hubby thinks we may see the truck again before we head south. I know I will be keeping an eye out.
The lighting ceremony at the capitol is set to happen on Wednesday, December 5 at 5 pm. To read more about the tree, some history about the program, and the journey ahead visit https://www.capitolchristmastree.org/tree.html or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/USCapitolChristmasTree/ and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/uscapitolchristmastree/