Drought Strains the Forest in Hot Springs National Park
When Rick and I headed out the door yesterday day dark clouds swirled overhead. I thought rain would be forthcoming, sadly I was wrong. As I look out my window this morning the clouds remain, but still refrain from releasing rain. The drought has reached dangerous levels we really need a good 24 hour down pour.
As we head into the park House Sparrows are playing in puddles created earlier by the park sprinkler system. Desperate for water they huddle in small groups scooping up the water and splashing their feathers. A Crow lands in a Tree above sending the juvenile Birds scattering. Further along a Female Cardinal is being pestered by a Juvenile House Sparrow. She breaks free of the attention and pops up with a seed in her mouth.
Nestled in the Ivy and dried Leaves are glorious scarlet red Trumpet Creepers. When I look into the bell of one of the Flowers the stamen looks like it sticking its tongue out at me. Wildflowers are so rare this year that each one seems more spectacular than in previous years.
When we reach the junction of the Peak Trail and Carriage Road I am overwhelmed by the landscape. It is Jul 02, but the Forest looks as if it is doing a September autumn change. Rust leaves coat the trails and the trees are painted in a variety of yellowing colors. I wonder if there will be many leaves left for the normally colorful fall foliage. Our entire hike has scenes that mimic autumn. Although beautiful the stress of the drought is slowly sucking the life from the once lush green Forest.
As we make our way home we are rewarded with the sight of lovely baby Squirrels. Foraging and climbing Trees they are testing their survival skills in the toughest conditions. The wildlife that survives this drought will likely pass on a strong genetic code.
Love to ALL!