Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for December, 2012

The Art Of Ice and Snow in the Trees

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Nature painted the landscape in freezing rain; then snow fell, each delicate flake embracing the ice coated branches. This duet created a beautiful landscape before the Trees could no longer bare the weight of their embrace.

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS If you missed the storm here are my previous posts with images of the Christmas Day Storm in Arkansas.
Hot Springs National Park Christmas 2012 Ice and Snow Storm Aftermath
Hot Springs Arkansas December 25 2012 Ice and Snow Storm Aftermath


Hot Springs National Park Christmas 2012 Ice and Snow Storm Aftermath

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Hot Springs National Park: 2011/2012 no winter, 2012 early spring and and endless triple digit summer.  December 12th 2012 spring Wildflowers appeared and December 17th 2012 spring Leaves were unfurling.  Then global warming sent us a blast of winter on Christmas Day 2012.  Ice coated the landscape followed by six inches of snow.  Even though the power went out at 5:00 pm I began planning my next day hike in the snow and ice. (blessed we only had to go 48 hours with out heat)

All paths up Hot Springs Mountain from the Promenade, Carriage Road and Tufa Terrace Trail were closed due to Tree falls or breaks.   In the end I head up the Hot Springs Mountain Road as the width made it passable on foot even with the fallen Trees. I think it may take a month or so to clear my fallen friends of the Forest…  Due to downed and live wires I had to limit even that part of my journey.

The peak trail entrance above the stairs had vanished under the weight of the broken and collapsed Trees and Bushes.  Trees looked like fingers folded in prayer under the weight of the snow and ice.

Peak Trail Summer and Winter

The Dead Chief Trail head was covered in bent bushes and fallen Trees.  A lovely Mockingbird sang a soulful serenade as I surveyed the damage.As I enjoyed the view of the snow on West Mountain a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler sat on an ice covered branch buffeted by the cold wind.   I was thankful to have 3 layers of North Face and Patagonia hiking gear.

Much Love to ALL!
Lee

PS Keep an eye out in the photographs in the gallery for the Abominable Tree Monster roaming on West Mountain…


Hot Springs Arkansas December 25 2012 Ice and Snow Storm Aftermath

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On Christmas morning rain turned into afternoon freezing rain, later white out conditions dropped six inches of snow.   As the wind caused the ice coated Trees to sway and the weight of the accumulating snow was more than they could bare the power went out.  The destruction left us without heat and light for 48 hours… in the icy temperatures I learned illumination of the dark would be the least of our worries.  Three layers of clothing under a pile of blankets and I still felt a bit of a chill in my own bed.  What I really wanted was the heating system to return!

In the light of the new morning I headed out in my 3 layers of clothing to see how our city has fared in the storm.  Sunlight reflected brightly off the snow and ice covered surfaces beneath a brilliant blue sky. The damage to the old Magnolia Trees that line Central Avenue in the Historic District was heartbreaking… I was out for hours take photographs in the city and National Park.  Most of my time was spent trying to find passage around fallen/broken Trees and avoiding areas where downed power lines menacingly hid under the new fallen snow.

I will post a blog about the Hot Springs National Park at a later date… still editing photos now that I am back online.

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS Special thanks to my wonderful husband for being the perfect partner with which to weather a power outage.


Autumn Morning Sunshine Flows into Fog

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I wanted to say something about my hike but my Heart is still heavy with pain.  The shooting and deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School has left me bereft of any joy.   What began as a bright sunny morning ended as a small patch of fog followed me into the Forest…

Love to ALL!
Lee


Nature has her own way of bringing Holiday Cheer

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When I last blogged the temperature was 20 degrees above normal and wildflowers were blooming.  In response to my complaints temperatures are currently at the average for December… Who knew Mother Nature reads my blog :)  She also decorated the Trees during my hike with spectacular Male Cardinals.  Many were young with traces of yellow at the corners of their beaks and still changing wing feathers. They were more spectacular than any man-made decoration this holiday season in the park.

The view from the Pagoda above the Hot Springs Mountain Trail was serene. Winter light over the valley paints with a delicate monochromatic pale blue pallet.  Cold mornings in the park always creates an enchanting environment for hiking.  The air almost sparkles and has become clear after loosing the yellowish haze caused by high humidity during spring and summer.  When I was about to exit the Forest I heard a familiar voice and looked up just in time to see a Male Red Bellied Woodpecker.

I was hoping this lovely chilly hike would herald an early winter…  sadly the next few days shows temperatures on the rise again.  Mother Nature I hope you are reading this as the hot to cold to hot swings are confusing to both flora and fauna in Hot Springs National Park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Rise in Arkansas Temperatures Produces Spring Wildflowers in December

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Anyone who has followed my blog knows I adore Wildflowers.  The arrival of spring means I am on the hunt for the colorful beauties that poke up from the Forest floor.  Imagine my surprise when I found a lovely assortment of spring Wildflowers on Dec 03 2012 at the end of Autumn.  This got me thinking about the warmth of the morning as I was taking my photographs.  I realized I was wearing my spring hiking clothing and I was not cold.  According to the Arkansas tourism site the average December temperatures should be: http://www.arkansas.com/travel-tools/weather-in-arkansas/

December

  • average maximum temperature 52.4
  • average minimum temperature 35.2

At 9:30 am when I headed out to hike it was already 62 degrees heading toward a daytime high of 69.  The week of Thanksgiving we had temperatures bordering on 80.  The overnight temperatures the past 4 weeks have hovered been 58-62. It appears the Wildflowers are correct… It does feel like spring.

April

  • average maximum temperature 72.5
  • average minimum temperature 52.6

This year  spring temperatures arrived in late January and summer heat arrived in late April.  Global warming has arrived in Hot Springs National Park and it is changing the Forest.  Soon we will know which Trees survived the severe 2012 drought.

Love to ALL!
Lee


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