Today marks the first day of a New Year and I am mindful there is so much for me to learn. Last winter the Trees and Bushes were dormant this year things are blossoming and sprouting new leaves. As this is only my second winter I am unsure which is the normal winter plant behavior within the park. I need to look through my photographs and begin to compare what I saw last year on my trail hikes. Is this part of global warming or only a random anomalous winter?
My visit to the Goat Rock Trail reveals that more Bird-Foot Violets are blooming. Even though the past week has included sub-freezing temperatures, heavy rain and high winds the wildflowers continue to grow. Single flowers have become clusters with a variety of variations in color and velvety petal textures. The violets are all confined to approximately 500 feet north of Goat Rock up to the next bend in the trail. I had thought until today these early spring flowers appeared due to a microclimate along the trail. Since seeing the new growth on the Tufa Terrace and the Dead Chief Trails I am beginning to see a pattern of Spring plant growth that is not isolated to only one area in the park.
The sun is finally becoming visible, clouds parting to reveal a glorious Hot Springs Blue sky. I wonder how all these years I missed the glorious miracle of a blue sky. With the sun birds have reappeared, in the distance I can hear the familiar tapping of a Woodpecker. Several minutes later I spot a juvenile female Pileated Woodpecker far across the forest in a short Leaf Pine. She hops up and down the Tree pecking and searching for insects. I stand silently secretly wishing she would fly to a closer Tree.
As I reach the Lower Dogwood Trail I can hear the familiar sound of lovely Black-Capped Chickadees. They are agile and graceful as they hunt for their lunch, it is a blessing to see them. They make my heart sing with their joyful pipping song, as I head down the trail to leave the park.
As always Thank You for reading my blog, please find time to step out your door and play in Nature.
Much Love to ALL!
PS: A small message to my fellow hikers… if I can hear you a 1/4 mile away you are talking too loud. Please remember in the Forest it is okay to use your indoor voices. I prefer not to hear business deals, gossip and marital discourse/lectures. For me hiking is bird song, leaves rustling etc. :)