It was a glorious mixed day, cold and sunny with a perfect blue sky. Small birds poked their beaks out in-between fly overs by the sky surfers. I visited new trails and the haunted forest too.
On the promenade I was greeted by a lovely female Cardinal; she had wonderful poses in the early morning light. Our photo shoot ended quickly as a Hawk flew past. Silence fell over the Park so I made my morning dash to the top of Hot Springs Mountain.
The view from the Pagoda was wonderful and as always brought peace to my soul. I met several nice people up top, but sadly no one would agree to be in my blog “sniff sniff”. If by chance they read this, “it was really lovely to meet you”.
My hike on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail was uneventful as a large group on a tour had passed through earlier. The high volume of Trail traffic meant nothing was nearby so I hiked to the trail head and up to the North Mountain Overlook. I watched a pair of Turkey Vultures dancing in the distance, then hiked down to the Upper Dogwood Trail.
Every time I hike the Upper Dogwood it blows a gale and I feel a little battered by the time I reach the end. There never appears to be any wildlife, or the wind roaring drowns out all other noises. I had never been to the Lower Dogwood or Arlington Trails so I decided to be adventurous and pay them a visit. Part way along the Upper Dogwood an unmarked trail appeared, so I had to see where it went. Remember in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy goes to get the broom from the Wicked Witch of the West. The Yellow Brick Road begins to get rough looking, fallen trees and the path gets more difficult to discern. I halted my journey down the path when something moved under the leaves at my feet.
When I was back on the Upper Dogwood I decided to hike over to the Lower Dogwood Loop and the Arlington Trail. It was very peaceful and the bird song was beginning to return. I reached a Trail marker for the Arlington, it was one of those great signs; Arlington with arrows pointing to both trails. I kept to the right and found a lovely little Trail that lead me to the elegant Arlington Hotel sundeck and swimming pools. It looked inviting in the bright sunshine and I imagined it would be wonderful to sit and relax year round. It was difficult to leave it behind and continue on my journey.
The next section of the Trail was filled with song birds and I was able to photograph a Robin and a female Black-Throated Green Warbler. I continued until it connected up with the second part of the Lower Dogwood Loop. Even though a Hawk was circling overhead I was able to photograph a Hairy Woodpecker both on a tree and taking flight.
I connected with the Upper Dogwood to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail, onto the Honeysuckle, then the Fountain Trail and on Home. As always it was a wonderful day in the park.
Much Love to All, Lee