Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for October, 2011

In Autumn the Forest Among Colorful Leaves and Wings

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I feel a sense of sadness as I bid farewell to the gorgeous Asters and Goldenrod that have decorated the trail with their beauty these past few months.  Beautiful butterflies catch a lift on the gentle breeze rustling the leaves and soar rapidly above us.  Their delicate wings carry them across the sky to feed on the fading wildflowers.  I show my beloved husband one of my favorite Forest camouflage artists, an Eastern Comma Butterfly.  Wings folded it mimics a dried autumn leaf, as it’s wings open a burst of orange is displayed.

The trails are radiating gold with a canopy of confetti leaves in red yellow bronze and green.  Small colorful leaves shimmer in the sunlight as the light breezes free them from the branches to sprinkle downward upon to the trail.  Tree sculptures begin to reappear as their once abundant foliage spills softly to the ground.  I love the graceful ballet of twisting branches amid the vanishing canopy.  The beautiful Autumn Forest is changing quickly.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Green fades to Gold in the Autumn Forest of West Mountain

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Autumn Leaves and the Autumn of my life, this is a season for deep reflection.  Do we believe in ourselves, do we find the strength to stand firm for what we believe in?  As I watch summer give way to autumn there is a realization that we can choose to fight, change or give into to it gracefully.  As the Forest changes from green to gold we can see that no matter how tightly the Trees might want to hold onto their Leaves they will eventually fall silently to the ground below.  There is no loud explosion in the transition, each leaf softy falls away from the branches. The branches stand bare in the winter months patiently waiting for the buds of spring to transform them again as delicate leaves unfurl.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Foggy Autumn Morning on the Trails in Hot Springs National Park

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What gets you out the door to hike? For me it is the excitement of new adventures awaiting me on the trails.  It is why I Love fog,  fog so dense and thick I cannot see the park from my window.  Foggy trails filled with mystery and wonder, as if you are stepping into another world. Shadows of moving creatures and the cries of waking birds make the journey exciting.  In the autumn leaves glow like ghost lanterns gently swaying in the morning breeze.  Slowly the fog moves and drifts, as if it is following or running away from you.  I hiked across Hot Springs and North Mountains trying to capture the beauty of the fog before it lifted.  It always vanishes too quickly :)

Love to ALL!
Lee


Wings in the Autumn Forest

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I quick hike with my husband on Hot Springs Mountain between storms revealed lovely wings.  A weak and delicate Hackberry Emperor Butterfly was perched gracefully above the hot water cascade.  Several Mockingbirds were in a fight over two berry laden Trees.  They created a lively sight as they sang, flew, dove and chased each other among the branches.  A flowering bush attracted a migrating visitor to it’s sweet fragrance.  A beautiful Monarch Butterfly was feeding on the sweet nectar in each blossom.

No matter how short a Nature break is always soothing for the soul.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Beautiful Morning In Lake Ouachita State Park

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Mist was rising off the lake as I entered the park.  It appeared to dance toward me as I stood on the beach as the sun rose higher.  As the air was still cold my lens iced up and created some interest effects in my photographs and video.  As the sun climbed higher behind me the water and sky transformed into a surreal blue.  Boats sit peacefully in the receding calm waters of the lake, with only the occasional splash of feeding fish.

During my adventure hiking around the lake shore I saw my first Indian Heliotrope Wildflower, pretty tiny elongated clusters of purple flowers.  There wast still drew on their petals and they glistened in the early light.  There was a wonderful family of Crows following me on much of my journey.  From the early morning mist on the water to the feeding family of Crows it was a perfect autumn morning in the park.

I headed out to Lake Ouachita State Park with the intent of hiking the Caddo Bend Trail. This was not to be, the spring storm damage was extensive and sadly they do not expect it will reopen for another year.   Something for 2012, an all new Caddo Bend Trail!

I did hike the 1/2 mile Dogwood Trail and it is the perfect kids trail (see photographs).  If you live in Arkansas or will be visiting this a great trail to let children be children and get excited about Nature without many of the dangers found on rougher trails in the state.  The trail is well groomed with rocks marking the edges, plus currently there are a couple of tiny trees to step over.  The Dogwood Trail climbs gently upward and winds through a mixed Forest.  There are educational signs along the trail for the older kids to read about Nature from the Forest floor up into the canopy.  Although there is a campsite across the street you will want a parent to walk them to the trail head due to traffic.  It is a loop trail and parents can wait on the park bench for children at the trail head.  I would not let children under 9 years old go on their own but it is perfect for early adventurers 9+ years.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Beautiful Windy Autumn Hike at Lake Catherine State Park

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Yesterday I had planned to take a quick hike in Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas.  I did hike but it was not quick, high winds and glittering autumn foliage had me mesmerized.  One trail lead to another, before I knew it I had hike them all and discovered I needed more camera batteries.  Long before I left the park images and video had drain all 5 batteries in my camera bag.  Note to self: “Buy more batteries.”

I was blessed to see autumn painted Trees dance in the wind sparkling with jewel like leaves in the morning sun.  Lovely Pine Warblers peaked at me from the branches of tall Short Leaf Pines.  On several occasions I had fleeting glimpses of majestic Whitetail Deer.  For what seemed only a brief moment a lovely Doe let me take photographs and shoot video of  her graceful grazing.  She paraded back and forth lingering in sight to distract me from what really mattered, her nearby fawn.

Aster and goldenrod waved in the breeze along the trails as a green caterpillar tried to hold firm on a log.  Colorful leaves floated on the wind and road the rippling Lake surface.  I climbed 100 year old rock stairs, scooted under a fallen Tree and crossed wooden Forest bridges.  The wind caressed my skin and tugged at my long hair as the sun tried to warm my face in the cold air.  It was a glorious day in park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Mockingbirds, Baby Squirrels and Magnolia Seeds

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Today my Husband Rick and I took a break and had a lovely hike at the base of Hot Springs Mountain.  It is a morning of pure joy as beautiful baby and juvenile squirrels are out enjoying a perfect morning.  They put on a spectacular display of chasing, leaping and peeking from the Trees.  They even stop long enough for me to take a few lovely photographs.

The last of the glorious red leaves of my favorite Maple Tree flickered on the breeze below a spectacular blue sky.  Each leaf has pretty veins of yellow or green decorating the red and orange surfaces.  A delicate Hackberry Emperor Butterfly lands on a dried leaf as we are drawn to a melodic song.

High above us in a nearly bare Tree a Northern Mockingbird is singing a serenade to the morning.   I carried this song in my heart for the rest of out hike and brought it back to share with you. (see video below)

Love to ALL!
Lee


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