Hot Springs National Park Facts: There are six Mountains in Hot Springs National Park. Hot Springs, North, West, Music, Sugarloaf and Indian Mountains
When I entered the park it was empty and only a Grey-Cheeked Thrush welcomed me. Suddenly the load cries of multiple Blue Jays rang out with the occasional Cardinal call in-between. I looked over to West Mountain and saw 3 large birds of prey circling. Three together seemed unusual and I wondered if these were the vultures I has heard and read about.
As I made my way along the Tufa Terrace I saw a Cardinal and a Blue Jay together sounding the alarm. I rarely see either but together this was a first, the danger must be great. On the Carriage Road I could hear the calls of another Blue Jay and I spotted them in the top branches of a tree watching the three circling LARGE birds over West Mountain. Today was a lesson in sacrifice.
How brave the forest Sentinels,
Blue Jays perched sounding the call.
Selfless atop the highest branches,
the fierce protectors of all.
I headed up the dead Chief Trail to the Short Cut and was blessed to see so many wonderful creatures. A lovely Black and White Warbler landed in a Tree near me, it was the first one I had seen. Further up the trail a lovely Chipmunk sat on a log and I took several photos before he/she grabbed an acorn and dove under the leaves. A gray squirrel looked on with great interest as I stood perfectly still for several minutes.
As I finished with the photos I turned and coming down the trail was a lovely couple with their four pawed companion. David and Char from Wisconsin were enjoying hiking the trails on Hot Springs Mountain. They were planning to visit the baths and they asked me which ones would be the traditional style, I suggested either the Arlington Hotel or Buckstaff Baths on Bathhouse Row. (If you read this I forgot your lovely companions name and I hope you will post her name in the comments.
After out lovely conversation I headed quickly to the top. I was planning a first trip to the Gulpha Creek and I needed to decided which trail I would take. At the pagoda I took a lovely view shot then headed down the Hot Springs Mountain Trail (HSMT). Not long after I started down the trail I ran into Jay who I had met previously on an icy cold day before I started my blog and his lovely wife Kathy. The hiking lovebirds ) Halfway along I looked out into the forest and spotted a Mourning Dove sitting alone on a large tree.
I decided to take the Gulpha Gorge Trail to the bottom, connect with the Gulpha Creek and the Sunset Trail. My goal in the near future is to hike the 9.7 mile sunset Trail. The creek at the bottom is quiet and I wonder if most of the birds show up for the spring and summer. Next time I will hike further on the Sunset Trail as it runs along the creek further up steam.
Back up the Gulpha Gorge Trail I stopped to visit with an old friend, every time I pass we exchange a hug. My beautiful friend is an old short leaf pine who holds many secrets about the park. Leaving the Gulpha Gorge Trail I cross over to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. I am greeted by a sweet White-Throated Sparrow and a talkative Black-Eyed Slate Junco. The smaller the bird the faster they appear to be and I can only get an out focus shot of a beautiful Blackburnian warbler. I hope our paths will cross again.
I decide to hike down the Peak Trail and when I reach the bottom I see two forms of Nature’s blooms; white fungus flowers on a log and new pink bud on a green bush. A perfect end to a glorious day on the mountain.
Let Life take you on a Nature Adventure.