I awoke to a beautiful sunny morning, something we have not seen in Hot Springs for approximately a week. Lately I get up to to sunshine and watch in dismay as the skies darken before I can get out the door to hike. Today the sun does not vanish behind clouds as I sip my lemon and honey. With a joy filled heart I prepare my cameras and head out the door to the Canyon Trail access point for my hike up West Mountain.
When I reach the trail head I can see a shimmer of color glowing from the tips of each branch. This is my first Spring hiking on West Mountain and I am transfixed by the delicate changes. Lovely Wildflowers line the trail in varying shades of purple and sunlight illuminates the Dogwood Blossoms delicately perched above me.
Moving along the Oak Trail I can see the the gentle greening of the Trees and Bushes. The Forest Birds are building nests, they stay high up in the canopy while preparing a safe place to lay their eggs. As if on a breeze there is a gentle song of tiny Warblers floating above me as hike further along the east side of West Mountain. I try to take a photograph of a Warbler but it flies away before the shot is complete and I discover instead an out-of-focus photo of two Squirrels peeking out of a hole in a Tree.
Nearing the West Mountain Trail I look up to see a bird land in the Tree above me. The sun glances off bright yellow feathers that are a vibrant contrast to the black and white markings, it’s joyful song lets me know it is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. This is the first one I have seen with darker markings, including a black mask across its eyes.
The weather soon begins to change. a cold breeze on the West Mountain Top Trail make me shiver. Clouds begin to darken the sky and I decide due to recent local lightning strikes it might be best if I head down and across the mountain to return home.
Spring rebirth is Natures message to embrace change.
Love You ALL!
PS Sadly the photograph of the discarded aerosol can may indicate huffing is occurring on West Mountain.
I am out the door at 8 am and the lower reaches of the park are already busy with tourists. Heading to the Dead Chief and up to the Short Cut Trail I realize the higher I climb up onto the Mountain loud conversation diminishes. I Love the climb from a physical perspective, my body revels in the beating of my heart and the oxygen being pulled into my lungs. The further I travel into the Forest the physical turns to meditation and appreciation for the Natural beauty in which I am immersed.
Up top the Blue Jays that have been following me since I began my hike up the Mountain briefly reveal their presence. They have been teasing me staying just out of view high in the Tree tops. Along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I spot a quickly moving black and white small bird I have never before seen. Oxalis, Bird’s-Foot Violets and Spiderwort line the Trail in varying shades of purple, a lovely Honey Bee is flying from Flower to Flower.
The Spring greenery is getting thicker everyday, lush leaves and vines decorate the Trees along every Path. My Forest is new everyday I hike, I Love watching the transformation and feeling the energy of the new life. It is impossible not to be in awe of Nature’s artistry as the Seasons change.
As I hike up the lower Dogwood trail a Brown Moth brushes past my cheek as I am bent over photographing a berry flower. It lands on the white flower in front of me and it gracefully embraces the blossom to taste it’s nectar. As the Butterfly leaves on the breeze a Honey Bee arrives diving into the flower. It delicately brushes it’s body over it’s petals before flying away.
Higher up the Trail a Male Cardinal is singing, he moves from the lower branch to a high perch to bask and sing in the sunlight. I complete the Lower Dogwood Trail loop and connect with the Floral Trail hiking down off North Mountain. A brown Moth lands on the Trail in front of me and I can see an iridescent blue patch on it’s body. It is a very striking and unexpected color combination. As I finish my hike and head down Fountain Street toward home a sweet Northern Mockingbird lands on a bush to my side. It’s bold posing is perfect, I have had an amazing morning in the park, thank you for coming with me.
Feel Nature it is all around you.
Love to You All,
PS the the Lovely House Sparrow was phototgraphed on my evening hike with Rick yesterday )
This evening as I am typing my beloved Fiance’ Rick is passed out in a deep sleep. He asked to go hiking with me this morning and I took him out on my regular five plus miles journey. My beloved did very well but his body finally gave way to exhaustion. Please know my Sleeping Prince how proud I am that you made it home still standing.
We started our Morning hike at the entrance to the park, with the sighting of an amazing White Dogwood in full bloom. We head over to the Dead Chief Trail and begin our ascent up Hot Spring Mountain. When we reach the junction of the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails a lovely Red Bellied Woodpecker calls out from a distant Tree.
The hike up to the Mountain Top is beautiful. The early sunlight is twinkling through the new Spring Leave dancing in the morning breeze. I Love watching Rick’s face as he is bathed in the magic of the new Forest. It is a romantic setting for our first morning hike together.
As we reach the top a Blue Jay that has been following us briefly appears before flying deeper into the forest. At the Pagoda we stand in silent awe as a pair of Hawks soar and dive above the valley below. When we reach the Hot Springs Mountain Trail below the Pagoda a shy Mourning Dove is strolling ahead of us on the path. It stops and tucks it’s head down and appears to have brief snooze.
The hike to the Gulpha Gorge Trail is a travel log of my photographs, especially those from the day I was hit by the blizzard this past winter. It is fun to share my park adventures with Rick pointing out the many locations picture in my blog. From the Gulpha Gorge Trail we connect with the Dead Chief Trail just above the NPS Campground.
My last hike on this Trail was just after the last snow storm. The Forest at that time was a series of silvery Tree sculptures. It was a winter world with open space all along the Trail; today we are immersed in world of green. It is as if I have never walked this Trail, I recognize only a few areas as we hike toward Hot Springs. Lovely Violets are decorating the edges of path and our hike finishes with the sight of a glorious Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly. Another lovely morning in the Forest of Hot Springs Mountain.
It was a perfect morning in Nature.
Love to You All,