Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Autumn begins to Paint the Forest with Colorful Leaves

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The glorious autumn leaf change has begun in Hot Springs National Park. As I head into the park I spot a single red Tree among the greenery on the south side of North Mountain.  On my way up the Promenade to hike up Hot Springs Mountain I see a small creature darting back and forth. Running and hopping it dives in the ivy on my right side.  I follow the movement of the ivy leaves and am delighted to see a Chipmunk pop up, she stands and looks around before diving back into the leaves.  Moments later she is up again peeking at me from behind a leafy branch.  Back under and on the move the busy Chipmunk hops up onto a Y shaped branch to look over the terrain.  Soon she is again back under moving with lightening speed toward me, back up she stands upright showing off her full cheeks.  She is the first Chipmunk I have spotted in the past two weeks.

Further up the Promenade glorious red leaves are moving gracefully against the perfect blue sky on the morning bre eze.  On the Tufa Terrace a sweet Carolina Chickadee sings a song to the morning sun lighting the tips of the tallest Trees.  The Peak Trail is peaceful in the half light as the sun slowly crests Hot Springs Mountain as I hike to the top.  Goldenrod, Yellow False Foxglove and Asters dot the edges of the trail among the receding green ground cover. Along the Hot Spring Mountain Trail the gold and purple Wildflowers continue and there is a peaceful silence broken only by the occasional Squirrel racing through the dried leaves.

On the North Mountain a spectacular orange Eastern Comma Butterfly lands on the trail ahead of me.  They are often hard to spot as they look like a dried leaf when their wings are closed.  When I reach the bottom of the North Mountain lovely pale blue Ivy Leaf Morning Glory are growing along the Hot Springs Mountain Road.  Several Trees have changing leaves of bright yellow and reddish pink. Among the gold leaves a tiny Carolina Chickadee is inspecting a rounded cluster of berries.   Nearing home a wonderful Hackberry Emperor Butterfly lands on the trunk on a Magnolia Tree.

as always Thank You for hiking with me.
Love to You ALL!
Lee

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