Today my hike began with a sad surprise, a lovely Squirrel I photograph regularly has been injured. This sweetie harms no one, looks after her babies and eats the little fungi that grow in her territory. Today my photos reveal a puncture wound to her abdomen. Please keep a a thought in your heart for her, she is a lovely Mom raising 2 babies.
From the Floral Trail I connect with the Lower Dogwood Trail then hike up to the North side of the Upper Dogwood Trail. It is a peaceful morning in the park, soft bird calls fill the Forest. The trail has changed since my last adventure here, the green is exploding everywhere. Beautiful Fungi are popping up all along the edges of the path in a variety of shapes and colors. It is lovely hike to the Goat Rock Trail.
The Goat Rock Trail is an artistic wonderland painted by Nature. The Green is wrapping around the the Trails creating a living tunnel of delicate green leaves. Glorious Wildflowers accent the edges in purple, orange, white and yellow. I can see Black-Eyed Susans, Butterfly Weed, Cone flowers, Woodland Sunflowers and others I have yet to identify. Striking rocks in amazing dark shades of black, blue, coral and gold.
I head up the Gulpha Gorge Trail and connect with the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. The trail is sprinkled with a colorful display of Fungi in a variety of shapes and sizes. The colors include yellow, orange, red, brown and beige. I Love the Fungi not only for their beauty, but because they provide a wonderful food source for the small mammals in the Forest.
I decide to hike down the Hot Springs Mountain Road to see what is on the edge of the Forest. I am excited to find a new Wildflower, delicate blue blossoms of Indian Tobacco. As I near the end of the Park road I see a large red fungus, gnarled and twisted by the obstructions it encountered. A perfect end to my many miles with in the park.
Nature is waiting… time to get outside and play!