Spring has arrived in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas! Well, not just in the Park, everywhere you look plants and trees are changing. From the lovely colors of tiny little wildflowers to the magnificent blossoms on trees Nature has been painting a magnificent world. When I entered the park today the beauty to the eye was matched by the fragrance in the air. So beautiful, each step drawing me toward a new discovery.
The weather was turbulent sunshine to darkness, mixed with gusts of icy cold wind. One moment the landscape was a vibrant splash of color the next covered in gray. As I was headed up the street to enter the park on the floral trail I noticed a tree at the road entrance to the park had exploded with pink blossoms. It was early and there was no traffic so I hiked up the road to take a few photos. It was dramatic to watch as the sun burst through the clouds to illuminate the pink emerging on the branches.
Heading back toward the Floral Trail I could hear but not see warblers. The heavy gusts of wind were grounding most of the birds including a frequent visitor at the entrance a Northern Mocking bird. As I hiked up further on the trail the only bird I could hear was the distant tap tap tap of a woodpecker. As I connected with the Lower Dogwood Trail I came across two woman walking a big dog. I knew this would mean I would not see any small mammals or birds on the trail for at least an hour. I decided it was a perfect time to enjoy the the lovely wildflowers and tree buds along the trail.
When I reached the Lower Dogwood the clouds were becoming heavier and I thought at one point I was going to be caught in a downpour. The wind was getting colder and stronger, pushing the cloud rapidly across the sky, it was like a flicker show hiking along the trail. The sudden dark to light must have been confusing to both the birds and small mammals. For a few minutes the sun peeked out of the clouds and illuminated a single white bud at the end of a branch. It would be wonderful over the next week to come back to see what unfolds. A hiker passed me and we both smiled, she too was enjoying the peaceful morning on North Mountain.
I reconnected with the Upper Dogwood Trail and over to the Hot springs Mountain Trail. I headed to a place where two creeks join together in hopes of seeing one of the many song birds that live in the trees and bushes along it’s banks. All I could hear as I neared the area was loud screaming and giggling. Several people were “Short Cutting” hiking off the trails and cutting through fragile areas of the forest. I wondered if they realized they could be destroying the homes of many small creatures.
With no chance of listening to any birds singing I decided to hike over to the Honeysuckle Trail and head over to the Promenade to see the lovely wildflowers I notice when I was walking with Rick yesterday. I hoped to catch them when the sun would occasionally escape the veil of the heavy clouds. The earth was covered with both Ground Ivy Henbit or Deadnettle (Thank You ArkyMark) and Birds- Eye Speedwell. It was so beautiful and the ivy filled the air with a minty aroma.
Rick and I had notice Cherry Trees Blossoming when we drove through town last night and I decide to go down the stairs and leave the Park via Spring Street so I could take some pictures of them. The blooms were gorgeous, with variations of color, deep radiating out to a pale pink. Spring was truly here in Hot Springs. I hurried along the street back home, I could not wait to see all the beautiful blossoms I had captured in my magic box.
Dreams can die without Love and can be crushed with a single word or deed from those who think it is theirs to take. I am blessed to be with my beloved fiance’ Rick London as he not only believes in my hike and photography, but supports me everyday with his Love and defends my Dreams.
Love All Nature shows you, they are rare gifts.