Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hiking a-Fair

I’ve been to a lot of local art fairs. It seems that many localities have a version of it these days. Sometimes it’s combined with wine tasting, or food festivals, or may be connected to a holiday or some ethnic traditions. And sometimes they can all seem like clones of each other when they are strewn about on hot city streets. But there’s a special appeal when artists show their wares in a mountain air setting, and even more enjoyable if it’s literally under the trees complete with a light fog drip. The King’s Mountain Art Fair is held over Labor Day weekend, and is designed to benefit the local fire brigade, and local schools. The whole thing is put on by volunteers, and exhibitors are selected by jury, so it has an interesting sort of ambiance. This was my first visit to this particular fair, but my brother-in-law Dave had an idea for Saturday to combine a hike in Huddart County Park and Phleger Estate with a visit to the fair which made it seem more interesting. And of course hiking to it from below means not having the hassle of parking along skyline road and having to use a shuttle.

Huddart is mostly a popular place for picnicking and large outdoor type gatherings, but it does have a thickly wooded and versatile trail system. Hikes of almost any distance can originate from here, from short hikes with toddlers of no more than a mile, to longer treks reaching beyond the boundaries that connect with other properties and the Skyline Trail. We hiked up the Campground Trail to the Crystal Springs Trail. This route was mostly single track trail under thick cover, and the higher we got the more noticeable the morning fog became. Up on Skyline there was a light drip as the fog condensed in the trees, but it only seemed to add to the mountain ambiance.

When we got to the fair area around the King’s Mountain Community Center there were already cars lined up and down highway 37 with some of the vehicles parked in very irregular positions. One poor woman in a Prius had dumped one rear wheel completely off the road into a gully and was stuck. Someone else with a late model Jeep had parked at about a 60 degree angle to get off the road. Sue found lots of exhibits that peaked her interest, which was kind of funny because she was not really enthusiastic about the fair before we got there. We found a unique bell maker from Half Moon Bay, and I was amused as I watched Sue circulate around his space ringing every one of his bells like a kid. I think we spent about an hour or so before we hit the trail again. We used the Lonely Trail to take us back down into Phleger Estate, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, for a gentle return through its fragrant woods. Labor Day weekend provides this opportunity to enjoy a relaxing hike in the wooded hills above Woodside with this interesting little distraction in the middle of the day. A perfect excuse not to sit at home.

Click here to see my pictures on flickr
(Added) Click here to see Dave's photos of this hike

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