A 60-foot blue spruce was cut down Wednesday during a ceremony in a forested canyon in northern New Mexico, starting a 2½-week journey that will eventually take it through Knoxville, Tennessee to the U.S. Capitol to be this year's Christmas tree.
A sawyer used a chain saw to sever the trunk, which one of two cranes then jerked several feet up in the air. Then both cranes swung the tree over to a flatbed trailer at the Carson National Forest site.
The tree will tour New Mexico before leaving on a trip scheduled to conclude Nov. 24 at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.
According to the project website, stops are scheduled in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.
Knoxville is on the list of stops for Friday, Nov. 22. The Capitol Christmas tree will stop at Chilhowee Park at 3301 East Magnolia Avenue for an hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Well-wishers and Christmas lovers will have a chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck carrying the tree to its D.C. destination as well as learn more about New Mexico and Carson National Forest.
Each year a national forest is selected to share a tree with the nation. In 1972, Cherokee National Forest had its chance and presented a 50-foot Balsam Fir.