Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for February, 2013

Urban Hike reveals Cherry Blossoms and Pansies

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It always feels as if Spring has arrived when the Cherry Blossoms Bloom.  I spotted them from Hot Springs Mountain a couple of days ago and I noticed the Japanese Cherry Trees were covered in red buds.  Rain, hail and wind had me worried all the delicate flowers would be knocked down… I set out today to see if any blossoms has survived.

A fun way to experience spring awakening if you don’t live near any trails is to take an urban hike.  You probably spot many flowering Trees and gardens when you are running errands or driving to work.  Plan a hike in your neighborhood, town etc. and follow the spring color.   It is amazing what you will discover in planters, gardens and poking out of sidewalks.  Nature finds a way to show her beauty even if at first glance all you see are buildings and concrete.

Love To ALL!
Lee


Early Spring Arrivals in Purple and Blue

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I sit inside today watching lightning strikes, pea size hail and heavy rain.  The darkening sky mimics night as a series of storms blow through for a forecast of five hours.

When my husband and I took a quick hike yesterday the sky was a brilliant blue with a spectacular winter sun warming the Rocks and Forest floor.  Beautiful patches of Bluets, Chickweed and Dog Violets dotted the park trail and road edges.  A familiar scurrying sound was ever present as we interrupt lizard sunbathing on the trail edges.  A big male Prairie Lizard flashes his bright blue belly scales from on top of a cluster of Rocks.  It had not rained for 5 days but the soil was saturated and seeping on several trails. It appears as if the drought has lifted in time to create a spectacular spring for 2013.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Nature’s Painted Rocks in the Winter Forest

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Winter is often regarded as barren and bleak in a mixed Tree Forest (deciduous, coniferous and evergreen).  The light lost by the abundant leaves of spring and summer hides a world of beauty. Once the autumn leaves have fallen light spills over the hidden surfaces on the Forest floor.  Nature paints with algae, lichen and fungus creating a spectacular display of color.  Before the Wildflowers and flowering Trees burst forth in the next few weeks seek out the treasures of the winter Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Brewing Storm Creates Beautiful Winter Skies

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The Forest continues to be fed by a series of winter rain storms as spring wildflowers have begun to burst forth from the earth.  I am thankful the drought has given way to nourishing liquid falling from the spectacular clouds floating above.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Some trails are still being cleared after Christmas Day storms

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Heavy rain and strong winds battered the already damaged Forest following the Christmas Day Ice Snow storm.  The past month I have not hiked as often in Hot Springs National Park as many trails had not been cleared.  Yesterday I took a quick tour of the west side of Hot Springs Mountain and found some trails still had down Trees blocking access.  In the distance I heard chainsaws on North Mountain during my hike.  Today I headed up Hot Springs Mountain again and found the Peak, Dead Chief, Short Cut and the east side of HSM trail loop are cleared.  On North Mountain the Upper and Lower Dogwood trails are now cleared as well.  As I was coming down the now cleared North Mountain side of the Floral Trail I could see crews clearing the Hot Springs Mountain side.

We have more rain storms coming in over night so I will check West Mountain trails accessibility early next week.  We might have to remind park management that they need to clear the Sunset Trail om Music and Sugarloaf Mountains plus the area in the old Fordyce Estate.  If you have recently hiked Indian Mountain I would love to know how the trail fared.

I missed the Forest and am glad to be back out on the trails…

Love to ALL!
Lee


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