Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for April, 2012

The Bounty of the Spring Forest is a Feast for the Birds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As we move through the spring Forest we see the obvious new greenery and colorful wildflowers.  Beautiful butterflies soar above us on gentle spring breezes landing only to feed on the pollen dusting the Forest canopy and rock ledges.  The bounty of beauty also provides a feast for the birds migrating throughout the park.  A moveable feast that will provide nutrition to mating pairs and their soon to emerge offspring.  They boldly display to my lens grubs, caterpillars and a variety of winged insects dangled proudly from clenched beaks.  The park birds are beautiful winged hunters searching for their next tasty meal.

Love to ALL!
Lee


The Southern Magnolias are Blossoming in Hot Springs National Park

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My first thought each year when the Southern Magnolias bloom is “Popcorn”.  The beautiful creamy white blossoms on the evergreen foliage are always a dramatic display seeming to pop out from the leaves.  From the beautiful egg shape buds to the curling green tendrils in the heart of each Magnolia it is Nature’s cultural celebration.  As a Northern by birth I must confess that I have succumbed to the fragrance and delicately transforming Southern Magnolia blooms.  Their arrival each each year is a graceful nod to spring flowing toward summer.

Love to ALL!
Lee


West Mountain Spring Hike filled with Wildflowers and Wildlife

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I stepped out my front door the early light  illuminated the flowers creating a sunrise spring bouquet… Nature weaves her magic everywhere.

This year spring arrived early in Hot Springs National Park.  The leaves were fully unfurled 6 days after the official 1st day of Spring creating a spectacular green canopy in late March.  Prominent Wildflowers from the past two years appeared in smaller numbers and vanished quickly this spring.  The combination of lovely green and warmer temperatures stunted the growth of some wildflowers or caused their quick demise.  The good news is I am seeing lovely shade dwellers like the Partridge Berry, Horsemint and Pink Fire in greater numbers.  Nature is always an amazing teacher… I do miss the Jewelweed which was abundant last year.

A landslide closed part of the Oak Trail and I had to backtrack to head up West Mountain on the Canyon Trail.   This turned out to be a wonderful change of plans.  As I headed higher up the trail I had a feeling I was not hiking alone.  I turned back and looked down the trail to see a lovely Doe watching me.  I took a few photographs and she put her dead down to graze apparently deciding I was not a threat.  Further up the trail I heard a rustling in the leaves, looking up I discovered she was moving parallel below me.  She was peeking at me through the brush to see what I was doing in her Forest.  Maybe I will end up in her version of the park news :)

The lovely morning continued with the sighting of a Brown Thrasher capturing it’s breakfast and discovering new wildflowers to add to my photography collection.  It was wonderful to see a flurry of  airborne Butterflies,tiny busy Prairie Lizards and a sweet Male Box Turtle.  Trails covered in a canopy flickering green provided a peaceful hike across West and Music Mountains.

Thank You for reading my blog and traveling with me in the Forest.
Love to ALL!
Lee


Earth Day 2012 Hiking in Hot Springs National Park

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How did you spend your Earth Day this year? Yes, I would love to hear in the comments section below.

My husband and I hiked across Hot Springs and North Mountains in Host Springs National Park. Each breath that filled our lungs as we climbed higher on the trails was gift of oxygen provided by the surrounding Forest.

Earth Day is celebrated everyday in our home by:
recycling more,
driving less,
walking more often,
bringing reusable bags when we shop,
turning off the water while we brush our teeth,
eating vegan,
cooking less,
using metal water bottles and more.

Do we try to shrink our carbon footprint each year, yes! Do we always get it right… no!  Baby Steps  :)

Happy Earth Day Everyday!
Lee

PS: If you lost a lovely calico cat in Hot Springs Arkansas please see the photographs in this blog.  She needs to be with her people not roaming the park.  The pictures indicate she is likely new to being feral as her coat and eyes are not dull.  She was last seen on the Rocks near the Hot Water Cascade above the Arlington Lawn.


Trails, Campsites, Wildflowers and Wildlife in Cedar Glades Park

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cedar Glades Park in Arkansas offers a variety of activities and is a perfect destination for kids of all ages.  If you enter from Wildcat Road the park is highly groomed for hiking, biking, rock climbing, Frisbee golf and more. (Wildcat Road Entrance Turbulent Skies and Butterflies in Cedar Glades Park Arkansas & First Hike in Cedar Glades Park Arkansas)  Entering from Cedar Glades Road you find a less groomed Nature escape with playground, wheelchair accessible trail, hiking/biking trails, creeks, steams, ponds and a hike in camping sites.  Both areas are joined by the 1.2 mile green trail loop with ample parking and rest rooms at each entrance.

My husband and I entered the park yesterday from the Cedar Glades Road entrance.  We discovered the North Trail loop that linked us to our destination (the black trail) is wheelchair accessible.  The beautiful trail is totally immersed in the Forest and provides mobility challenged visitors a lovely Nature experience.  A perfect outing location for adults with smaller children in strollers as well.

The Black Trail Loop is the longest trail in the park and the most difficult for hikers, runners and cyclists.  Depending on fitness level visitors can do the entire trail or use the red trail crooked bridge cut through to reduce the distance from 4.64 miles to 2 miles. This trail that has many water features, wildflowers, mixed and Pine Forest, plus it is great workout too.  Speaking of water features, don’t miss my video below.  The featured swimmer will give you an incentive to improve your pond swimming skills.

Another great feature of this park is the hike in camp site.  This would perfect for campers who want to get away from RVs, trailers etc. and prefer a wooded steam setting without having to hike for several hours to reach their destination. This would make a great mini family vacation idea too.  There is also an emergency shelter (wooden gazebo) in case of an unexpected storm.  A lovely stream and open tent pitching among the Trees makes it a great weekend get-a-away or travel stop over. Best of all it is Free!

Love to ALL!
Lee

Cedar Glades Park Arkansas Trail Map


Turbulent Skies and Butterflies in Cedar Glades Park Arkansas

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Am I a photographer who hikes or a hiker that takes photographs? This is a question which often enters my mind whenever I am out on the trail.  I am torn between standing engulfed in the beauty and trying to bring home the essence of what I am witnessing.  My Love for G-ds gift of Nature overflows from my Heart and it is my hope you will feel it whenever you visit my blog.

My husband Rick and I appreciate each opportunity to hike the trails in the beautiful state of Arkansas. We never take for granted how blessed we are to live in this amazing location.  We send a special thanks to the employees of our  city, county, state and national parks throughout the United States of America. Your care for the land and wildlife will preserve these important Eco-systems for future generations.

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS Dear Nature, Thank You for all the lovely trail Valentines waiting for me on the Blue Trail :o)


The Art Of Spring Painted With Wildflowers and Butterflies – Plus Arkansas Hiker Alerts

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Note: Another Great reason to hike in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas… You can hit the trails and relive Baseball spring training history following in the footsteps of Cy Young and Babe Ruth.

Like the beautiful blooms in the spring Forest I am luring you to my blog today with the nectar of Wildflowers and Butterflies.  As always I had a wonderful hike because I prepare before I head into the Forest. Information about weather or being sure to carry water plus a snack are done to ensure I have a safe and happy hike.

Spring is a glorious time to hike, but like any other activity there can be some dangers easily avoided to ensure you have a safe time.  In Arkansas we currently have two warnings due to the lack of cold winter temperatures.  I am sharing this information not frighten or dissuade you from hiking, instead it should be viewed as a travel advisory for hikers.  The warmer winter temperatures throughout the United States may mean the hiker alerts below are applicable in many states.

Hiker Alert: Hikers please be aware the very short winter has caused a rise in rabies cases in Arkansas.  Nocturnal creatures moving about in the daylight hours should be avoided and any strange activity reported.  http://www.4029tv.com/r/30858715/detail.html  In Arkansas there have been 54 confirmed rabies cases, just in the first four months of the year, compared to 60 total cases in 2011. Most have been skunks, bats and one cow. Report Rabies 1-501-262-2091

Hiker Alert: This is why I always recommend wearing boots when you are hiking… Flip Flops and sneakers are not enough protection! Snakes are back in Arkansas; tips for bite victims and more http://www.todaysthv.com/news/article/205488/2/Snakes-are-back-in-Arkansas-tips-for-bite-victims-and-more

Love to ALL!
Lee


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 354 other followers