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A Backcountry Christmas Tradition



All of my life, my favorite holiday has always been Christmas. My family isn’t religious but we always had our Christmas traditions and we always came together to celebrate. Every Christmas we went to our cabin in southern Utah. For the first thirty years of my life the dirt road that led to our valley wasn’t plowed in the winter. Meaning that all the residents had to park out at the highway and snowmobile, walk or ski in to their properties. Although we had a sled for all of our luggage, it didn’t hold much and we had to do several trips out to the car, as well as bring the dogs in on snowmobile.


After starting the fire, turning on the heat and warming things up, my dad would have to go turn the water on and we would hope and pray that no pipes were frozen or going to burst. The next day was the best. My four sisters, our four dogs, my parents and I would take a walk to the nearby forest, pick our Christmas tree (often a difficult decision for the seven of us to agree upon) and my father would cut it down. Then we would drag it back by snowmobile.


Up until I was in high school we didn’t have a phone in the cabin and we had to communicate by CB radio. My four sisters and I would spend the days cross country skiing, snowmobiling, building snowmen, sledding and drinking hot cocoa in the cabin. We would also sing the song we made up about the valley where our cabin is …

Strawberry Valley has that lovely fresh air

Mountains and horses everywhere

Snowmobiles and sleds, skis and poles,

Winter is real fun up here, even though the highway is closed

For me Christmas will always conjure up memories of snow and our freshly cut Christmas tree, a cabin filled with laughter and craziness.



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