Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

New Years Day Winter Looks Like Spring

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Field Notes:
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?

Tufa Terrace Tree Winter 2011 and Winter 2010

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. :)

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4 responses

  1. Undisclosed

    Step back from nature just a little and please realize that the park and trails weren’t made for you specifically, or your purpose on them. Everyone can enjoy them how they see fit. From a couple high spirited dogs, to trail runners, and now to people talking in the distance? I mean, c’mon. Wouldn’t hurt to be a little more accepting of other people enjoying Hot Springs even if it’s not how you do. My two cents not that it matters.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:58 am

    • Dear Undisclosed with an IP address in Hot Springs, (you should post your name, did you know your IP identifies you…)

      The park is Nature, you can’t step back from that, the entire mission* of the National Park System is to conserve Nature, leave it unimpaired. That people are allowed into the park is privilege… Perhaps you are unaware I was writing about a National Park, not a city jogging trail or dog park… I am courteous, I don’t push people off the trail… I don’t yell… Just my two cents :)

      Following your thought process. let people enjoy the park their way… littering is okay, leaving their dogs excrement in middle of trail is okay, smoking and hiking during fire season is okay… Some rules are written some are general polite society behaviors. Why should being polite go out the window because you are hiking?

      Yesterday I was forced to hear as it echoed through the park for 15 minutes how a spouse would be better in their marriage if they adhered to certain the Biblical New testament tenants. This included the recitation of verses from both James and Paul. Then I was witness to the tears as they passed. I know that Carla is pregnant but is not clear if she wants to the baby, this gem came as a jogger ran passed yelling into a cell phone. Jess well she is dysfunctional or so her Dad says because she is interest in the bugs, leaves etc. and was not moving fast enough along the trails. That was just from yesterday… clearly too much information from people yelling.

      Most Sincerely,

      *”…to promote and regulate the use of the…national parks…which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

      January 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

  2. Undisclosed

    An IP address can be used to identify general information only. City, State, internet provider etc. Not personal information. There is really no need to post my name since it’s not relevant, nor is my email address.

    Anyways, of course I live in Hot Springs (otherwise I would have probably never found your site). To be even more exact, I live only a stone’s throw from Mountain Top Trail trailhead on West Mountain.

    In any event, my initial comment was not made to upset or anger. I enjoy visiting your site and check it almost daily.

    And on my thought process to be more precise…anything within legal or rules/regulations are permitted.

    Littering is NEVER ok as it is illegal in any instance, National Park or not.

    Dog excrement on a trail? Any pet waste is to be picked up at all times according to regulations. Although, nothing is more natural than that. Watch your step maybe.

    Smoking and hiking during fire season? Can’t find anything prohibiting it. Although I’m sure it’s frowned upon. As long as your a responsible adult (like myself and a smoker) safely put it out and carry the butt(s) with you as to not litter.

    So again, most of these scenarios carry their own legal implications none of which I was refering. However, things like trail runners, and people being a little loud–however annoying to you–is part of being accepting of others enjoying Hot Springs National Park in their own way.

    Kind Regards,

    Undisclosed ;-)

    January 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    • Dear Undisclosed,
      I comment about my journey… and the runner who pushes me off the trail, dogs jumping on me or conversations I don’t want to hear are observations. I am sorry if my thoughts on this matter are offensive, but it is the reality of my impression of the given day. We can agree to disagree… I cannot separate Nature from my visits to Hot Springs National Park, it would be impossible :) I Love the park and all that call it home, its all they have in an ever shrinking world of green space. We are after all guests in Nature’s home when we enter the park.
      Kindest Thoughts and Wishes,

      January 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

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