Ginormous Pine Cones on the Horizon

Head up into the mountains for this homespun fall hullabaloo.

TO SAY WE RUN FOR THE HILLS... when the weather cools down is to ignore the fact that summer afternoons spent on a lake and springtime wildflower hikes also regularly catch our fancies. We love the higher elevation places throughout the calendar, but there's something extra special that happens when autumn arrives at a closer-to-the-sky spot. True, some of the leaves are turning colors, at least among the deciduous trees, and, also true, we can almost feel the tang of that first coming snowfall in the air, though not quite. But that extra-special-a-tude also arises from the super-nostalgic fairs that set up show near the last third of the year, and whether they're all about holiday gifts, or something a bit more Oktoberfest-y or fall-like, really depends upon the community and festival. And up at...

RIM NORDIC, not too far from Running Springs and Big Bear, there's an October bash that's built around one of the most common sights in the area. It's a sight seen in the branches of fir trees and, yes, down on the ground, around the forest floor. We speak of, yes, the pine cone, a woodsy wonder that's about to get its celebratory due on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Pine Cone Festival. Will the search be on for the World's Largest Pine Cone? You bet. Will there be crafts to browse, "Fun Fair Food" to nosh upon, and the Pine Cone Olympics? That's all on the schedule, as is a cameo from Cheekers, the festival's furry mascot. 

ADMISSION IS FREE, and free parking is available at Snow Valley Mountain Resort (and, yep, the shuttle to get to the festival, from there, is also nicely gratis). If you're into homespun mountain merriment, and tree beauty, and heading up, up, up in the fall, ponder this pine cone party, one of the area's most old-school gatherings.

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