Wings, Paws and Spores
It is nearly 100 degrees as I head into the park, I know its too hot when my sunglasses fog up. The haze from the humidity is like a film over my eyes and I miss the clear air of spring. Even the heat cannot keep me away from the beauty in the park. As I reach the top of the Tufa Terrace I am surrounded by sweet bird song of first morning light. I watch a juvenile Brown Thrasher stalking insects in the grass, it is a glorious way to start my morning hike.
So many beauties are appearing in the Bushes and Trees. House Sparrows are swirling around, flying ahead and behind me as I near a bush with a California Wren singing to the day. To my side a Sweet Rabbit (Eastern Cottontail) is eating the new blades of grass and a juvenile Squirrel is peeking at me from the side of a Tree. As I move forward I can hear the sweet call of a Black-Capped Chickadee hiding among the green leaves. When I reach the end of the Carriage Road I can see another juvenile Brown Thrasher moving up the Dead Chief Trail searching for breakfast.
The heat is intense as I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails. When I reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain I am drenched from the humidity and sweating. As I stop to take a drink break I notice there are no vehicles and no hikers for a second day in a row. On the Hot Springs Mountain Trail a Sweet Chipmunk in traveling across the rocks to it’s burrow. It is the only sign of life I have seen since I reached the top of the Mountain. Then for a brief moment I catch sight of a female Cardinal, a very brief moment.
The heat is intense as I reach the junction of the Hot Springs Mountain and Honeysuckle Trails. In the wood pulp laid down on the trail to stop erosion Coprinus Lagopus Mushrooms have sprouted all across the trail. I am extremely careful not step on any of these beautiful fragile fungi. I hike down the Floral Trail and over to the park Spring Water Station to fill my water container. When I arrive beautiful Red Spotted Purple Butterflies are partaking of the water and pollen that sticks to it. They are a glorious sight as I getting my water, a perfect end to my morning hike.
Nature is a gracious host, always thank her.