Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for August, 2010

Along the Sunset Trail to Music Mountain

West Mountain Sunset

Music Mountain Sunset Trail

Music Mountain Sunset Trail

West Mountain Top Trail

Today I decided to head back up West Mountain in the overcast dark of the morning. Up the Canyon Trail to the Oak Trail, Up the Oak Trail to the West Mountain Trail. When I reach the mountain top I realize to see any wildlife on West Mountain I will need to wait for cooler weather. I need to hike up when the sun is higher in the sky.

When I reach the top I notice a Trail that heads higher onto the Mountain.  At trails end I find another Mountain overlook and best of all a map of the first section of the Sunset Trail.  It is great to see I can reach Music Mountain from the Sunset Trail.   I stay for a quick look at the view of the airport and the racetrack, I make a mental note to comeback on a clear day to watch and photograph jets/airplanes landing or taking off.

I head out along the Sunset Trail and I quickly notice it is not highly groomed.  It is an up hill climb through changing scenery then downhill, more uphill and down again. My favorite point in the hike is when I reach a trail sign on Music Mountain. It says Sunset Trail <——–>, the trail on the left side is barely visible to the right more visible.  Another mental note to bring gloves on the next hike so I can safely push the Poison Oak/Ivy aside as I hike.  I travel on the right trail and into a dense forest of  Conifers and Deciduous Trees. After a mile I decide to head back  as I realize I will need more water and a snack before I try to tackle the full 10 miles of the Sunset Trail.  Actually 13 if  including the hike up to reach the Trail head.

When I reach the West Mountain Top Trail I continue my journey on the west side to the Canyon Trail.  The Canyon Trail down to Central Avenue and home.  I Love exploring new places in the park!!!

Thank You for hiking with me!
Much Love,

Across Hot Springs and North Mountains

Arlington Lawn Future Magnolia

Hot Springs Mountain Trail Tufted Titmouse

Upper Dogwood Trail

Floral Trail Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

Take a hike with me across two Mountains in Hot Springs National Park.  This morning a cool breeze is traveling across my skin as I enter the park.  I am greeted by a tiny sparrow dusting itself in the dry soil below a Magnolia Tree. No longer in bloom the elegant Magnolia seeds sleep in a velvet cocoon high in the dark leaves.

On the Carriage Road I look up to see a beautiful moon rise over West Mountain.  As a Cancer child moon rises always make me feel happy. When I reach the Dead Chief Trail I see a beautiful large blue rock perched next to the stairs.  Early morning light often reveals beautiful details.

When I reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain the clods are clearing and the sun is shining brightly.  On the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I can hear the song of a Tufted Titmouse.  I Look up to see it hopping from branch to branch in the tree above me. It is beautiful to see it’s beautiful wings as it flies across the the higher branches.  Moving along the trail I reveal in the green that will soon give way to the colors of Autumn.  Nearing the trail head I spot a sweet vireo peeking out of the leave of a tree far below me.

I Love the hike down the Gulpha Gorge Trail and onto the Goat Rock Trail.  It rough rocking pine strewn landscape always reminds me of central Oregon. All along the Goat Rock Trail I can hear the rapid scurrying of lizards.  As Goat Rock I finally spot a Five Line Skink and further up a Prairie Lizard. The last remaining wildflowers decorating the trail are Oxeye Daisies in white and lavender.  Now the trail is painted with lichen covered rock and the violet berries of Callicarpa Bush.

My hike across North Mountain via the Upper Dogwood and Lower Dogwood Trails is peaceful and meditative.  I listen to the distant songs of warblers and finches, it is the perfect song for this lovely summer morning.  When I reach the bottom of the Floral Trail a Red Spotted Purple Butterfly lands on the Rock before me.  It gracefully turns and flexes it’s wings as the breeze pushes against it.  Thank You for traveling through the Forest with me this morning.

Much Love,

A Tribute to Fatherhood: Male Cardinals

Promenade Male Cardinal

Meet some fantastic Fathers, the Male Cardinals of Hot Springs National Park.  On many occasions I have spotted Male Cardinals feeding Chicks, teaching flight school and taking the juveniles on field trips.  They are loving patient and attentive even when multiple chicks are all vying for their attention.

As you will see in the images below Male Cardinals work very hard to be good parents.  This is not to say the females don’t help as well, they stay with the young chicks as they learn to exit the nest.  The males fetch food for the Chicks and as you can see in the last image keep a close eye on visitors in their neighborhood.

Nature is a wonderful teacher!
Much Love to ALL,

Male Cardinal Feeding Chicks At Nest

Male Cardinal Feeding Chicks At Nest

Arlington Lawn Male Cardinal Caring For Babies

Arlington Lawn Male Cardinal Caring For Babies

Arlington Lawn Male Cardinal Caring For Babies

Arlington Lawn Male Cardinal Caring For Babies

Arlington Lawn Male Cardinal Caring For Babies

Lower Dogwood Female Cardinal And Chick

Lower Dogwood Female Cardinal And Chick

The Glorious Wings of Summer

Promenade Butterfly Weed Common Buckeye

Promenade Butterfly Weed Painted Lady Butterfly

Promenade Male Cardinal

Floral Trail Red Spotted Purple Butterflies

Promenade Racing Pigeons

Promenade Common Buckeye Butterfly

I write this still wrestling with the grief of loosing my Mother.  Today as I was hiking both in the morning and later in the evening with my Beloved Husband Rick I imagined Mom soaring with the birds or gliding on the gentle breezes with the Butterflies and Moths.  Nature has been gently healing my heart each day as I hike through her Forests.

Please enjoy a pictorial hike in the park with me and remember as always you can click on any photo to enlarge it and enjoy it in greater detail.  Thank You all for staying with me and my blog as I mourn my Mother passing away.

Love to You ALL!

In Memory Of My Mother: Welcome to West Mountain


My Moms Obituary

In Memory of my Mother

Today was my Mother’s funeral in Oregon.  When I woke up I decided to climb a new (for me) Mountain in the park and reflect on her beautiful soul.  West Mountain turned out to be up, more up and then more up.  While I enjoyed the scenery and the challenge it was my Mother’s Love for life that filled my heart.

She was one of the brave WWII war brides that traveled to America to marry US Servicemen.  Boarding a Ship in New Zealand  she began the long journey to New York City. I tried to imagine the excitement and fear she experienced.

What was it like to raise three daughters in her new home?  How did she become an American while recovering from the challenges of post WWII. I was always happy she had her British group of ladies that would meet each month.  A group of ladies from New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain all sharing the bond of WWII and marrying an American.

She was strong and fragile all at once.  Her heart was beautiful and forgiving.  No matter how much I screwed up she was always there to Love me.

She was the best Mother… and I will always miss her,  her LOVE will flow through me like river forever






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In Memory of My Mother: A Morning in the Forest Day 2


My Mom Yvette


In Loving Memory

As you look through my photos today please remember my Mother via my memories of her.

My favorite birthday cake was the one my Mom made using a Barbie Doll. She made a half circle cake and stuck a Cinderella Barbie Doll in the center.  She used icing to create and dress Barbie in a ball gown… all my friends wanted one for their birthday too :o)

When I was a small child I got chicken pox, my Mother put mittens on my hands so I would not scratch and a scarf over the lamp shade to to protect my eyes from the light. She tucked me into her bed so she could care for me throughout the night. I miss my Mom






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In Memory of My Mother: A Morning in the Forest

Tufa Terrace Trail Rose Hips Hummingbird

My Mother Yvette


In Memory of My Mother

My Mother passed away yesterday so I hope you will forgive the lack of words to go with my Nature photographs for the next couple of days.

Hiking and taking the photographs has been therapeutic and today I imagined my Mother was the lovely little Hummingbird that appeared as I was photographing the Rose Hips beside the path.

She used to call everyday, often while I was hiking and I would share with her what I could see and hear in the Forest.   It was always wonderful to talk to her no matter what I was doing.  I miss her and I have tears to shed, memories to cherish.

I am blessed she always believed in me even when I didn’t.  Her prayers always kept my heart safe and I know she is looking after me from above.  I Love You Mom!

Love to You ALL,




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