Late Spring Hike with Butterflies, Birds and Chipmunks
The Spring heatwave is continuing and it is a sunny 85 degrees as I leave at 7:25 am for my hike in Hot Springs National Park. Holding my camera up to take a photograph my sunglasses begin to fog up in the humidity, this could be why most people are on their way out of the park. I am beginning to think I will have to start getting up earlier in morning.
As I head up the Tufa Terrace I literally nearly trip over a small Chipmunk crossing the trail. Once it pauses to look at me for a moment it careful climbs up the slope covered in Tufa Rocks. Half way up the sweet Chipmunk tentatively steps onto a patch of moss and delicately sniffs the surface. as more people arrive on the trail it moves quickly over to the hot water cascade flow.
When I reach the Peak Trail a Gray Catbird is belting out a tune high above the park in a tall Tree catching the first rays of the sun as it crests the Mountain. Along the Carriage Road are glorious wildflowers, Asiatic Dayflowers in rich blue rise above tiny yellow Sneezeweed leading me to the Dead Chief Trail.
At the top of Hot Springs Mountain a beautiful Red Spotted Purple Butterfly is sitting wings spread warming it self in the morning sun. Its colorful wings shimmer in the soft morning light. As I head along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail Wild Bergamot and Lance Leaf Coreopsis are blooming along the edges. I stop to take photographs of the lovely wildflowers as song breaks out in the Forest, I look up and see a wonderful juvenile Carolina Wren in a nearby leafy Tree.
When I reach the Upper Dogwood Trail a blur runs across the rocks to my side and dives behind a small Tree. Standing very still for five minutes I am rewarded with the appearance of a full cheeks Chipmunk. It peeks at me from the rocks and soon pops up to run across the Forest floor. The heat seems to have caused the Squirrels to stay in the cool of the leafy branches while the Chipmunks are happy to be out foraging.
I connect with the Lower Dogwood and then the Floral Trail on my hike down North Mountain to exit the park. As I near the bottom of the Trail I see a Chipmunk sitting on a log, a perfect sight to end my hike on this beautiful if somewhat sticky morning.
Love to ALL!