Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Moss, Lichen, Fungus and a Carolina Wren

Hot Springs National Park Facts: In May 1862, Arkansas Governor Henry Massie Rector moved the state government to his hotel and bathhouse located on Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park. That July, the government seat was moved further south to Old Washington for the remainder of the Civil War.

As I went up the incline of the main entrance I passed remains of the tree that blocked the path for two days. Sadly the tree that broke in two at the entrance was one that has berries which provide food for many birds. Although there are many such trees in the park this one was near the hot spring cascade so was a refuge to eat with a bit of warmth in the icy winter months. It’s life supported so many others in it’s large branches and soft green leaves. The Amazing part, one branch on the broken trunk survived.

Up on the promenade the Robins were singing and having their breakfast feast. On the Tufa Terrace I could here bird call but they were moving to fast to photograph. As a gesture of goodwill a Robin landed in a tree next to me. I was focusing the shot when he flew away and was replaced by a wonderful Red Bellied Woodpecker. A spectacular way to begin my hike.

As I hiked toward the mountain top I notice new bits of green beginning to emerge. Where once dry yellow grass stood little spouts of green appeared. Even the coniferous trees seemed to be a richer green. The ice storm had taken lives, but it has also created new life. The green was exploding everywhere.

Up top a male cardinal allowed me one photo, while his female counterpart sat in a bush nearby. The view from the pagoda still held the after effects of the storm and the sun did not pierce the cloud cover. I headed out on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and began to notice Nature’s after storm artistry. A leaf and some needles trapped in the bark of a short leaf pine. Rocks, trees, stumps and logs were painted with Moss and Lichen. Baby ferns poked their tiny fronds out from under dries leaves.

Further down the trail I met a fellow hiker John from Texas. His wife was busy at the convention center and he was enjoying the many Hot Springs National Park Trails. He had a wonderful smile and my favorite kind of handshake, firm. After a lovely conversation we both headed down the trail in opposite directions.

Coming down the Peak Trail a flock of tiny brown birds arrived, they were so fast. Each smal move I made to get closer sent them farther away. I had all but given up on taking a photo when one landed on a rock in front of me. I pecked at the a large piece of fungus, then flew away.  Later at home I identified my first Carolina Wren, so beautiful.

As I headed out of the the park a lovely Robin sang a song to be me farewell.

Find time to get in touch with Nature, it will lift your soul.
Much Love,

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