Dear Blog Subscribers
I was creating a blog but it (Hiking in Hot Springs National Park and City Pt 1) escaped before I was ready to publish… as bribe to keep you interested until it is completed tomorrow please accept this lovely Trail Photograph from my hike today :)
As each moment unfurls I loose myself in the wonder of it’s creation for it will never exist again. ~ Lee Hiller-London
It was the First Time…
my Beloved Husband Rick has hiked on West Mountain (only took a few years ;) ).
Jack (Nightmare Before Christmas) appeared in a window on my way to hike.
I have seen or photographed a Box Turtle on West Mountain (tiniest one I have spotted in Hot Springs National Park).
I photographed or spotted Asiatic Dayflowers on West Mountain and along the sidewalk on Central Avenue.
I have seen Butterfly Peas in clusters and not as a single bloom (they were on every trail we hiked on West Mountain).
Savor the joy of discovery, see new things in places often traveled. I treasure each photograph, it is a memory of a point in time that will never occur again.
Love to You ALL!
This morning was beautiful so my husband Rick and I decided to head out early and enjoy the cooler morning temperature. As we neared North Mountain I spotted small dark blue Asiatic Dayflowers. I saw very deep blue bloom and discovered it had a third petal that was white with blue edges. A wonderful anomaly! After I finished taking my photographs I noticed a Tufted Titmouse watching me from a downed branch.
We headed up North Mountain on the Floral Trail as the sun began to rise above Hot Springs Mountain. In the early morning light I saw tiny yellow St. Andrews Cross blooming on the trails edges. Further across North Mountain on the Upper Dogwood Trail a tiny Chipmunk was hopping on rocks and branches looking for breakfast. As we turn to continue hiking my husband points out the purple berries of Callicarpa (American Beautyberry Gallon Plant) glistening in the early light.
Lovely teeny tiny white Flowering Spurge are glowing along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. The delicate white flowers have a green center with yellow stamens and they are a welcome sight in the summer Forest. We stop and rest at our mountain wedding chapel on the Honeysuckle trail, it is always a place of joy. Near the bottom of the Floral Trail a pretty purple Butterfly Pea is in full bloom. As I am photographing it Rick points out a lovely little rock nestles in pine needles. A gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt passes us on the trail and we wonder if he is part of a new Jimmy Buffett hiking club (he passes us gain as we head home on Central Ave). It has been a lovely morning with my Beloved Husband Rick on the trails in Hot Springs National Park.
Time to play outdoors!
Love to ALL,
Field Notes: The heat and humidity has returned with a vengeance to Hot Springs National Park. This morning it is 80 degrees with 80% humidity and a heat index of 85 as I head into the Forest. The hazy veil of humidity has returned and I am sweating after only a few paces out my door. Many people I pass as I head up the mountain are carrying rolled towels in an effort and keep their face and neck dry.
Vibrant blue and yellow wildflowers dominate the drying green Forest. Patches of blue Asiatic Dayflowers are popping up all throughout the park. Usually I have found them in small numbers around the few open steam vents on Hot Springs Mountain. The extreme heat and humidity has provided them the perfect climate to spread out across the park. I have photographed them on the Carriage and Hot Springs Mountain Roads plus the Tufa, Peak,Floral and Hot Springs Mountain Trails. For those of you who find yourself having allergies in the summer the culprit might be the lovely daisy shaped yellow aptly named Sneezeweed. The extreme temperatures have also given them a perfect growing environment and they are more abundant on the west side of Hot Springs Mountain.
Although I have not seen most of the multi-generational families of birds that once inhabited the slopes of Hot Springs Mountain, today was filled with some old winged friends. As I enter the park a tiny House Sparrow is peering at me from it’s perch on a branch at the bottom of a flowering bush. When I reach the Peak Trail I hear the familiar sound of whistling flapping wings. Only one bird take off could make this sound, in the Tree above a Mourning Dove is giving me a shy glance. When I reach the Hot Springs Mountain Road two molting Crows are perched on branches to my left. The new fuzzy head feather make their beaks appear larger. My old dancing partner looks at me in a moment of curiosity and recognition. The park Crows often travel in large family groups and I wonder how many of them survived the storm last week.
Much Love to All!
Thank you for visiting my blog,
PS: The heat today is amplified the aroma of my natural lemon eucalyptus bug repellant by Repel. I can confirm it has worked for me even in the densest parts of the Forest for more than four hours (I have yet to push it to the full six hours). It has been a relief this summer not to be covered in DEET when I hike. (this is an unpaid endorsement)
Normally I don’t start my blog with a video but this summer has been a time of extremes in Hot Springs National Park. The evening of August 11 2011 the view of Hot Springs Mountain vanished and was replaced by the scene in the video above. What the weather services reported as possible scattered thunder storms became straight line winds/eddy with continuous lightning. No weather alert was given during the entire three plus hours the storm raged. It must have been invisible on the Doppler Radar. The Storm brought down Trees, sheared off branches and drove a branch into the hot water cascade embedding it into rocks.
The park was battered and much of the once abundant wildlife in the Western slopes of Hot Springs Mountain have vanished. Trees that were once home to many Forest friends died or suffered amputations of their limbs. The first morning Rick and I ventured into the park we saw only Northern Mockingbirds (an adult (Pink) plus one chick), two House Finches and several insects. The next day I saw a solo Squirrel (Bob). Day three we saw a family of Robins, another Squirrel and several House Sparrows.
No sightings of the multi-generation families of Brown Thrashers, Blue Jays, Carolina Chickadees, Cardinals and Northern Mockingbirds. No sign of the other 14+ squirrels, 8+ Chipmunks or the Eastern Cottontail pair I have documented on the lower western slopes of Hot Springs Mountain. I hope to provide survivor updates over the next few weeks.
Life is Fragile… Nature is both beautiful and destructive…
For about Forty-Five days we have experienced temperatures exceeding 105 degrees in Hot Springs, Arkansas (usually mid to upper 80s by 6am). This morning I woke up and discovered it was only 68 degrees, I was out the door and hiking in an hour.
This morning I did not break into a sweat simply by stepping out the door, a delightful surprise. A lovely cool breeze caressed my face and the air had a sweet green aroma as I headed toward North Mountain. The sun still had not crested the tree tops when I spotted glorious pinkish orange Trumpet Creepers glowing in the early morning light. As I photographed them a large Bumble Bee arrived to pollinate the large bell of each bloom.
Since a violent storm blasted through Hot Springs National Park three nights ago (will blog about this on another day) birds appear to have become silent. As I hiked up the Floral Trail the silence of the park was broken by someone playing a flute, it was odd hearing Scarborough Fair as I moved through the Forest. A silent tiny Vireo peeked out from the leaves apparently as confused as I was by the flautist providing a Simon and Garfunkel serenade.
Climbing higher on North Mountain I spotted a colorful Male Box Turtle trying to navigate a climb of his own. The unpredictable twigs and leaves made his journey up the bank a difficult maneuver. I stopped to marvel at his perseverance. At the top of the Goat Rock Trail the unrelenting heat of the past month has toasted the leaves giving the Forest a false autumn appearance. Green has given way to rust and gold, the path before me is coated with crunchy dried leaves. With each breeze yellowing leaves spin free from the branches above and twirl falling silently to the ground. The Prickly Pear Cacti along the trail edges are shriveled and wrinkled unable to find shelter as the foliage has receded.
As I headed home another Box Turtle in crossing on a lower trail, her shell is chipped and battered. She has lost some of her armor and exposed is a fragile white under layer. Both Turtles had white markings around there mouths and I wonder if it is caused by the extreme heat. I watch to make sure she does not get stepped on as she completes her crossing of the trail.
Dance lightly upon this Earth, we need to protect it for those who do not have a voice.
Love to ALL!