A Modern Day Adventure on the Historic Oregon Trail
Each year, a National Forest provides a Christmas Tree for display on the U.S. Capitol lawn in Washington D.C. This year’s tree is travelling from the Willamette National Forest’s Sweet Home Ranger District, in the western Cascade mountain range. District Ranger Nikki Swanson is recording her notes from the journey for the Your Northwest Forests blog.
To read previous entries, visit https://yournorthwestforests.org/category/capitol-christmas-tree/.
Track the tree! Follow the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree on its Return to the Oregon Trail journey in near real-time, at www.trackthetree.com.
November 22nd, 2018
St. Louis, Mo.
Celebrating the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree at the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I am 2,054 miles from home. But I’m thankful for the technology that allows me to correspond without the need for the Pony Express.
It’s harder than I thought it would be to be away from my family during the holiday, and I don’t think I was alone in feeling that way. Emotions were near the surface for many of us this morning.
But our day was brightened by the parade!
Here we are getting ready to hand out some Smokey swag to parade goers!
And here we are, making our way to the parade route.
What an amazing thing to be a part of! The St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade is the second largest Thanksgiving Day parade in the United States. It was broadcast on live TV, and occasionally the parade would pause for a commercial break.
There were nearly 150 entries, including the amazing animal balloons that are filled with helium. I had only seen those on TV before today. They are pretty cool on TV. They are WAY COOLER in person.
Smokey Bear and firefighters from the nearby Mark Twain National Forest joined our entry. It was a toss up over who had the most fans between the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and Smokey Bear. Combined, I’m pretty sure they stole the show….. but, I’m only a little bit biased. Cries of “SMOKEY BEAR!” and “Look it’s the tree!” followed us along the entire parade route.
After the parade, we all ate together as a “tree team family.” We had a fantastic dinner.
Several people were heard to say that it was the best food they had ever eaten, from the butter, to the main course, to the desert. I, myself, have never remarked on the excellence of butter before tonight, but I was not alone in stating this particular fact out loud!
Some of us had traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, and some ventured away from the holiday menu. But all enjoyed their meal!
Following dinner, we dispersed to nap, exercise, or to call family back home.
After so many days and nights on the road, we’re all thankful to spend two nights in the same hotel and to have an opportunity to rest up a bit before the journey begins anew in the morning.
District Ranger, Sweet Home Ranger District
Willamette National Forest