Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Posts tagged “Hiking Trails

New Forest Friend – Eastern Wood Pewee

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I am an inconsistent whistler.  Until today the birds I could imitate with answering results were Hawks, Mockingbirds and Thrashers.  The later two basically taking pity on my lame attempts, plus they imitate everything. I saw a Hawk fly over and did my classic impersonation.  Instead of an answer from above a slightly different call rang out from the Trees to my left.  I scanned the canopy and came up with no sighting.  In an attempt to find the bird with the clear voice  I did my best imitation.  To my amazement it answered back getting closer with each exchange.  In the fading light I was  finally able to spot the sweet little olive brown bird and took several photos.  after a few minutes of musical exchange it flew down toward the trail, turned and hovered within inches my face.  It sang, I sang and then it returned to the branch high above my shoulder.  I thanked the lovely Eastern Wood Pewee for a lovely duet in the fading light.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 


Life and Death on the Trail in Cedar Glades

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Last weekend early morning in Cedar Glades Park I photographed a bit of Nature on the side of the trail that I did not realized was an empty Box Turtle shell.  The sun was still low and I could not see everything clearly.  Later on the hike we discovered a male Box Turtle in the middle of the trail.  My husband Rick picked him up and to move him off the mixed use (mountain bikes and hikers) trail.  A team of three cyclists had buzzed past us earlier and now after seeing I had photographed an empty shell I know my husband likely saved a life that day.

Love to ALL!

Lee


Beautiful Beings On An Early Soul Day Hike

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July is the birthday month for both myself the 4th and my husband the 16th.  So we celebrate our special Soul Day on the 10th of July.  This year we took an early morning hike and were blessed with the beauty of seeing many beings in the Forest.

Breakfast was stuffed in the mouth of a chipmunk as above a pair of warblers (Vireos I think) collected nesting materials.

A lovely Whitetail Doe pick at us from the brush then stepped fully out into the open.  We did not want to startle her as it was clear she is nursing at least one fawn.  She turned several times on the trail pausing to eat and then leap up a small rise.  I sprinted down the trail once he was gone to a rock look out and saw her in the ravine below with a fawn and a juvenile Doe.

Near the end of our hike a flash of red in the pines alerts us to the presence of a family of Summer Tanagers.  A vibrant male in transitional colors, a tiny buff green chick and a female in her green.

It was a perfect start to our Soul Day!

Love to ALL!
Lee


Twin Fawns and Beautiful Birds

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Often we are focused on the obvious like a Male Summer Tanager as he distracts us from seeing his mate.  Female Tanagers are a pretty green and usually  blend into the dense spring and summer foliage.  It was a blessing to look up and see a Lovely female Summer Tanager a few branches away from her bright red mate.

A week ago I saw a flash of red and gold diving between the Trees at the top of of North Mountain. It looked like a tiny fireball darting from limb to limb.  Finally I got a glimpse of a vibrant juvenile Male Scarlet Tanager.  His transition from yellowish green to red gives him a dazzling fiery appearance.

As we came out of the trail head and on to the road I spotted a Whitetail Doe and her twin Fawns.  It was the perfect end to a marvelous evening hike.

Love to ALL!
Lee


The Wildlife Comes Out At night

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As the heat and humidity rise we have begun enjoying lovely early evening hiking.   We were delighted to see a flock of juvenile Robins that still had speckling on their chests and a lovely Whitetail Deer stepping out onto thepath ahead of us. A colorful Indigo Bunting and Summer Tanager sang beautiful songs above us in the Trees. Fungi and Wildflowers painted the Forest floor attracting mollusks (snail) and Insects (False Bee).

There is no better Soul therapy than escaping in to the Mountains and communing with the Trees and beings who call the park home.

Special thanks to my husband Rick for spot the lovely Whitetail Doe quickly enough so I could get these photographs without startling her.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Rare Find: Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) A Parasitic Wildflower

HSNP Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)

HSNP Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)

 

This is the plant geek portion of our programming…

On June 06th of 2010 I was searching for fungi on the trails of Hot Springs National Park and I took a photo that I labeled “Fungi Flowers”.  The past four years I have searched the Upper Dogwood trail for another sighting of the unusual flowers.  On June 17th of 2014 I was bless with a eureka moment and found a cluster of the same plant at a later growth stage.  After further investigation I discovered they are Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) a Parasitic Wildflower.

Location: Hot Springs National Park – Garland County, Arkansas
Mountain: North
Trail: Upper Dogwood
Years: 2010, 2014
GPS (2014 only):
Latitude: 34;31;26.627999999996987
Longitude: 93;2;46.936999999976237
Altitude: 304.8

The USDA cutbacks mean they no longer have anyone accepting images and data regarding rare and endangered plants.  According to the data on their site Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) has not been verified as sighted in Garland County Arkansas. http://plants.usda.gov/java/county?state_name=Arkansas&statefips=05&symbol=MOHY3  I am creating this posting as a record for later use to update their information.

I have sighted and photographed Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) twice on the same trail in separate years but only have GPS data for 2014.

Test below is from the USDA website:
Monotropa hypopitys – Pinesap, Dutchman’s Pipe

Pinesap is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with a wide geographic distribution throughout the United States and Canada. However, Pinesap is a rarely encountered wildflower.

Monotropa hypopitys (Monotropa – once turned; hypopitys – under the pine or fir from its habitat) ranges in height from 10 to 35 centimeters. The entire plant is a pale creamy white, coral pink or red. The leaves are scale-like and occur along the flower stalk (peduncle). The inflorescence is a raceme of 2 to 11 flowers at the tip of the flower stalk. Upon emerging from the ground, the flowers are pendant. As the anthers and stigma mature, the flowers are spreading to all most perpendicular to the stem. The fruit is a capsule. As the capsule matures, the flowers become erect. Once ripened, seed is released through slits that open from the tip to the base of the capsules. The plant is persistent after the seeds have dispersed.”

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Damselflies, Wildflowers and Fungi in Cedar Glades Park

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My husband and I realized we had not been out to Cedar Glades Park in Garland County Arkansas since the government shut down in 2013 that locked us out of Hot Springs National Park.  If you like tall Trees, Fungi, Wildflowers and Insects you will enjoy the various park trails.

I love the Fungi but have no clue the names for the majority of them.  The variety of shapes and colors are wonderful.  It is like an Easter egg hunt in the Forest trying to spot all the unique shape and color combinations.  The numerous rainy days and higher temperature have created a bountiful crop throughout our area in Arkansas.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 


A Subtle Pallet of Color Paints the Edges of Each Trail

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Our curiosity leads us along the path of discovery, often to find ourselves. ~ Lee Hiller

Love to ALL!
Lee


I Love My Office in Hot Springs National Park


Juvenile Male Summer Tanager in his Transition Colors

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This beautiful juvenile male Summer Tanager landed on a branch overhead.  He proceeded to show off his breakfast catch and sang a lovely song before flying deeper into the Forest.  Soon he will resemble the lovely adult male Summer Tanager pictured below.

We are blessed to see many spectacular winged migrants in our Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee

HSNP Male Summer Tanager

HSNP Male Summer Tanager

Love to ALL!


Lee


Vibrant Prickly Pear Cactus Blossoms

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Celebrate in the Morning light, reborn in our Dreams we greet this new day. ~ Lee Hiller

Love to ALL!
Lee


Tiny Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly

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Gentle wings brush my Heart with Love as songs of the Forest fill the air around us. ~ Lee Hiller

Tiny Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly is a beautiful site perched upon the tip of a dewy blade of grass or warming wings on leaf.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Colorful Pallet of Petals

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


Don’t Take My Flowers

Please don't take my flowers

Please don’t take my flowers

Normally I feel great disappointment when I see graffiti in Hot Springs National Park.  However this message written with a marker on a pine got my attention in a good way.

OH DEER!
Don’t take my flowers
Turn Your Phone on & Video

It has been a constant annoyance to find whole fields of Wildflowers picked or dug up in Hot Springs National Park.  I go hiking in the morning and often by evening when I take a second hike with my husband they have been picked or removed.  These Wildflowers are on protected land, the only one who should pick them are the Wildlife that need them for food.  The plants in the park are there for the enjoyment of all not for a select few who steal them.  These beautiful blossoms do not belong in restaurant salads or for sale by herbalists (yes we have seen your truck in the park).  The many beautiful seasonal plants belong along the trails for ALL to enjoy.

It is with a sad heart I must stop listing the trails on which I spot specific Wildflowers and Fungi as some may be using my blog as a guide for their poaching.


Forgotten Folder of Natures Spring Beauty

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At some point May became a busy month and I lost sight of a folder of photographs.  May 4th 2014  was a beautiful spring morning and my beloved husband and I had a lovely hike in the Forest of Hot Springs National Park.  I saw my first Indigo Bunting and shot into the sun trying to capture even a hint of its beauty within the blinding rays.  A lovely Red Spotted Purple Butterfly land on a leaf above my shoulder and bathed in the early warmth of the sun.  Green enveloped my senses and I was sure each breath carried a taste of spring.  Daisy Fleabane danced in the breeze as a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly drank nectar from cascading blossoms.  How could I have forgotten these photos?


America Lady Butterfly feeding on Sweet Olive Blossoms

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Stained glass panes flutter bathed in fragrant nectar. American Lady Butterfly sips sweetness from each tiny bloom. A delicate breeze swaying Sweet Olive blossoms to release their lovely perfume.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 


A Passion For Purple – Venus Looking Glass

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Nature shares the wisdom of the Universe with all who listen. ~ Lee Hiller

One of my favorite Wildflowers are beginning to appear along the Goat Rock Trail.  The rick purple blossoms of the Venus Looking Glass populate the tall green stalks rising up toward the spring sun.

This is a wonderful time to explore as Nature continues to reveal more beautiful Wildflowers.

Love to ALL!
Lee


When the Photographer is Photographed

Here is a rare glimpse of me in my office working.    Special thanks to my beloved husband cartoonist Rick London for the lovely cell phone photographs.

Love to ALL!
Lee

Lee Hiller Hot Springs National  Park

Lee Hiller Hot Springs National Park


Oh Deer! A Forest Friend

HSNP Whitetail Doe Deer
HSNP Whitetail Doe Deer May 2014

A lovely familiar face showed herself in the Forest of Hot Springs Mountain on May Day.  We originally met on The North Mountain Loop in Hot Springs National park in the summer of 2013. She was featured in my blog My what big ears you have on July 29th. When I first photographed her she was gangly, all legs and ears.  A few months later in September 2013 (Dreams are the Reality of our Soul’s Desire) I saw her grazing on  a path of grass. She had filled out and shooed a fawn up the adjacent rise, perhaps her baby.  Now she has matured and was caring for her own mini herd of juvenile females and a fawn. Again she was shooing them up a hill out of harms way, although she did stop and turn for a lovely photograph.  I wonder if perhaps some or all are her off-spring.  It is always lovely to see friends in the Forest.

HSNP North Mt Whitetail Deer

HSNP Whitetail Doe Deer July 2013

HSNP Whitetail Doe Deer September 2013

HSNP Whitetail Doe Deer September 2013

Love to ALL!

Lee


A Lovely Spring Morning on the Trail

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I awaken each day to the beautiful gift of yesterday’s tomorrow. ~ Lee Hiller

Love to ALL!
Lee


White-Eyed Vireo, A Pair of Chickadees and a Chipmunk

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Every action ripples across the Universe to recreate the future. ~ Lee Hiller

Along each trail Nature reveals her spring secrets… A pair of Chickadees collecting greens for their nest, a glorious White-Eyed Vireo, a lovely Chipmunk, Pearl Crecent Butterfly and Wildflowers.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Hello Spring!

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My Soul seeks to see life through the lens of Nature’s perspective. ~ Lee Hiller

I love early morning light in the Forest.  Slowly rising the sun awakens a sweet song of life which echos across the Tree tops.  A song to my Soul as I move gently along the trails in Hot Springs National Park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A burst of Spring Leaves and Wildflowers

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We blossom in the light of our Dreams. ~ Lee Hiller

Nature is unleashing her spring pallet to create an ever changing landscape.  Each day I loose myself in the transformation of the tallest Trees lining the trails and the sprouting of the tiniest Wildflowers spreading out along the Forest floor. Close your eyes, abandon the constraints of form and feel Spring.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Cool Gift From My Beloved Husband

Lee Hiller Hike Our Planet by Londons Times Cartoons

Lee Hiller Hike Our Planet by Londons Times Cartoons

I was surprised when my beloved Husband Rick London sent me this cartoon to preview… I never imagined I would be immortalized in a Londons Times Cartoon.  This is the coolest gift!

If you love to laugh and have ah ha moments please visit his Londons Times Cartoons website to see his amazing, crazy, wild, screwball, scary, hilarious, thought provoking ideas in words and imagery.  You can find his great merchandise at Rick London Gifts.

Thank You Baby!!!!!
Love Your LW Lee


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