It is October, the insects are still biting :( and the afternoon temperatures are still reaching into the 80s. The occasional cool morning in the upper 50s has caused a few of the Trees in Hot Springs to begin their Autumn change. This is the warmest of the four Autumns I have experienced since I moved to Arkansas.
Each year I wait for the arrival of beautiful Birds-Foot Violets. They usually appear in mid January and into February often in-between snow storms. Today I was surprised to find these two Violets nestled on the edge of the Canyon Trail on West Mountain. Nearly 3 months ahead of their normal arrival time or 9 months late as I did not see many this past Winter/Spring. On the Sunset Trail I found large patches of Blue Sage Wildflowers, they usually arrive in March and April. Beautiful Butterflies were all over the trail attracted by the variety of Wildflowers. Autumn Beauty on Music Mountain Butterflies and Wildflowers
Last winter temperatures lasted no more that 2 weeks then we were thrust into Spring. Summer temperatures began in late April, the drought and 100 degree temperature continued into September. If the temperatures don’t fall I would not be surprised to see Spring Wildflowers throughout the park. The rain that never fell last spring has arrived this evening, can’t wait to see what blossoms in the park. Is climate change real? In Hot Springs National Park and Arkansas I would have to say YES!