Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for November, 2012

Nature’s path is clear, let it lead your Heart toward your Dreams.

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Nature’s path is clear, let it lead your Heart toward your Dreams. ~ Lee Hiller

Please enjoy the glow from the last of the rust and gold leaves along the trails… they created a glorious light for our travels across North and Hot Springs Mountains.  Journey into the Forest and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the lovely squirrels who are beginning to get their lovely silver winter coats.

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS: The other afternoon my husband Rick and I headed out for a hike in Hot Springs National Park. On our way to a favorite trail head I stopped to take a photograph of the remodeled entrance to the park.  For several moments I kept staring through my cameras eyepiece trying to figure out what was wrong with the shots I was trying to line up.  Then it hit me…  The park service has cut down two of my favorite large flowering Trees as part of the remodeling.  So it is with a heavy heart I dedicate this blog to the now deceased spectacular pink Saucer Magnolia and purple Foxglove Trees.

HSNP Arlington Lawn Foxglove Tree

HSNP Arlington Lawn Saucer Magnolia


A Year Round Favorite the Colorful Autumn Sweetgum Tree

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The American Sweetgum Tree (Liquidambar styraciflua) one of my favorite Trees in Hot Springs National Park.  Its star shaped leaves create a glorious canopy in the spring through summer and its seed hold moisture for birds in the winter.  However it is the spectacular display of color transition in the autumn that makes it a special treat on the trail.  Often one Tree will have green, yellow, red and plum at the same time on a single Tree.

Love to ALL!
Lee

West Mountain Oak Trail Black-Capped Chickadee

West Mountain Canyon Trail Sweet Gum Seed


Twilight in the fading autumn Forest

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Capturing autumn is one part luck and one part willingness to hike anytime there is still light. The slightest shift in temperature and you might miss a chance to see dramatic changes of favorite Trees.  Twilight has become a new favorite time to photograph autumn leaves.  The half light transforms the leaves into luminous jewels glowing from the Tree branches.  It often feels as if I am hiking through a hidden world within the Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Tornado Shreds Caddo Bend Trail Forest in Lake Ouachita State Park

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Lake Ouachita Caddo Bend Trail Tornado Damage

In April 2011 a Tornado ripped across Lake Ouachita State Park in Arkansas.  It uprooted Trees all along the Caddo Bend Trail which is a 4 mile loop on a peninsula that reaches out into the lake.  As you can see in the photograph above it razed several sections of the Forest on both the north and south side of the trail.  I had not hiked the trail since the winter of 2011 (Lake Ouachita State Park – Caddo Bend Trail Pt 1 & Pt 2) and now I found myself in what felt like an alien landscape. It is dramatic to step from dense Forest into places devoid of Trees. One moment cradled in leafy beauty then suddenly out in the bright sunlight surrounded by fallen and snapped off Trees.

Change is always present in Natures plans so I look forward to the future rebirth of the trail flora and fauna.  The new open space on the trail will eventually be covered in Wildflowers each spring.  The Wildflowers will bring Butterflies, Bees, Dragonflies and other beautiful Insects.  New small mammals and reptiles will build their homes in the snags created by the fallen Trees.  There are many new lake view locations as well.  Nothing stays the same…

Love to ALL!
Lee


Spectacular Autumn Leaves, Butterflies and Flowers in Garvan Woodland Gardens

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I have tried to describe the beauty of this Autumn hike, but I kept deleting the text… Sometimes the photographs speak more clearly than even the finest words pouring out from my Heart… In a word the beauty of Autumn in Garvan Woodland Gardens was spectacular.

Love To ALL!
Lee


Golden Splendor of Autumn Paints the Forest

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I slipped into slumber and awoke to a Forest bathed in Gold… the vale of golden color coated every corner of the Forest.  Splashes of red, coral and rust painted contrasting textures within the rapidly changing tapestry of color. I hope you enjoy the artistry of autumn on West Mountain…

Love to ALL!
Lee


In the rustling of Autumn Leaves I hear Natures song… Shabbat Shalom!

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In the rustling of Autumn Leaves I hear Natures song ~ Lee Hiller

I headed out to run a few errands yesterday and found Autumn Beauty was abundant in both the city and National Park.  Sometimes I forget Life has surprises every day :)

Have a glorious weekend.. Shabbat Shalom!

Love to ALL!
Lee


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