The park is turmoil as they try to prepare for the fourth of July weekend and I am having a crazy busy week. An honest disclosure this is a combination of two days of hiking. The National Park Service is trying to groom the park for the Fourth Of July Holiday and they are out in full force with mowers and chainsaws. Trying to find a quiet place in the park has been nearly impossible.
I find one Eastern Cottontail this morning on the Tufa Terrace Trail. Still no sign of the second one with the little nick in it’s ear. There is a sadness in not seeing them together for nearly a week. Further along on the Peak Trail I can see a juvenile male Cardinal in a Tree singing his song. It is a delight to see his beautiful transition to red.
Suddenly the park goes silent and shadow drifts over the Carriage Road. I Look up to see a Hawk flying overhead between Hot Springs and West Mountains. Further along I see a spectacular Brown Moth in the grass. It’s wing pattern includes orange, white and blue on brown.
I hike up the Dead Chief Trail and am greeting by a bright red Male Cardinal. He sings a glorious song in the green of the Forest. I continue my hike on the Short Cut Trail up to the top of the mountain and to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. From the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I connect with the Gulpha Gorge Trail. On my descent I see a tiny Prairie Lizard, it pauses only briefly before darting under the leaves.
I decide to take the Goat Rock Trail up to the top of North Mountain. As I near Goat Rock I hear a trademark whistling wing sound. I look up and see a Mourning Dove on the branch above me. At the top of the trail a lovely moth stares at me from a rock to my side.
I hike up to Hot Springs Mountain Road and head over to the Hot Spring Mountain Trail. Looking at my watch I realize I have been out for many hours and need to get home quickly. I get back on the Hot Springs Mountain Road to get home, part way down I find a sad sight. Someone has recently run over a Copperhead Snake, I wanted so much to see it alive.
When I reach Fountain Street a sweet Squirrel is there to greet me as I near home. Please leave Nature as you find it, drive with care through the parks that you visit.
PS: Rick and I took a lovely evening walk on the Promenade, we saw many lovely creatures. A tiny Chipmunk popping in and out of the Ivy, a Northern Mockingbird (our friend Charlie) and some lovely baby Mourning Doves. Near the end of our journey we met Harley the Wonder Puppy a gorgeous brindle Labrador.