Southern Magnolias line Bath House Row in Hot Springs National Park. From a distance the white blossoms look like popcorn sprinkling the dark green foliage. Up close the lovely creamy white petals glow in the spring sun. Sheltered in the leaves baby sparrows await their dad who is bringing them lunch.
Glorious purple Venus Looking-Glass are blooming along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. Their star like blooms layer the green foliage with rich color. Spring grasses ripple in a gentle breeze creating the illusion that the trail is moving. Above me a lovely juvenile Squirrel grooms her still pristine spring fur.
It has been another perfect day in the Forest…
Love to ALL!
Yom Kippur is only hours away and I am embraced in the beauty of renewal in Hot Springs National Park. The blushing Magnolia Pods are releasing the burden of their Seeds before they fall to be later replaced in the Spring with delicate buds which open into white blossom.
To those I may have wronged,
I ask forgiveness.
To those I may have helped,
I wish I had done more.
To those I neglected to help,
I asked for understanding.
To those who helped me,
I thank you with all my Heart…
A special Thank You to my Beloved Husband Rick London <3
Love to ALL!
I Love heading into the Forest before the sun has crested Hot Springs Mountain. It is a world of shadow and half light where Nature is waking from her slumber. I knew it was going to be a perfect morning when I immediately spot an old friend, Bob the Squirrel. I call her Bob because sometime before we met 3 years ago a portion of her tail had been removed (bobbed). Her survival skills and parenting have always made her a welcome site.
As I head up the mountain I find 2 clusters of Daisy Fleabane waving in the cool breeze. On the Carriage Road I have the feeling I am not alone. Looking up I expect to see a bird, but it is instead a lovely Squirrel hanging upside down watching me. By the steps heading up the Dead Chief Trail a single blue Asiatic Dayflower glows by a steam vent.
The soft glow of Yellow Sunflowers dot the trail edges as the sun lightly illuminates the way forward. Two purple Asters are peeking out from sparse greenery. The Short Cut Trail is slowly awakening as light begins to caress the canopy. At the top of the Mountain I am taken by the gentle rustling of the Leaves, a soft morning melody. It is a peaceful hike around the eastern side of Hot Springs Mountain, I had forgotten how beautiful the trail is in the first light.
When I reach the north side the sun is beginning to reach over and bird song leads me to a tiny Carolina Chickadee. An adult and juvenile Blue Jay are supervising flight training of a lovely little fledgling. It is beautiful watching them diving in and out of the Pine Trees calling to one and other. While I am enjoying the show my camera battery goes dead so I change it out. As I snap in the battery I glance to my side and see a glowing shape on the trail ahead of me. Standing illuminated in a single patch of bright light it take me moment to realize it is a Deer. A lovely Doe has been watching me and after several seconds she gracefully trots off into the Forest.
I head home down the Floral Trail and take another tour past the lovely Magnolia… it has been a beautiful morning in the Forest.
Love to ALL!
There are 10 days left in May and we are into our 2nd week of 90+ temperatures. Spring Wildflowers barely had time to bloom in early April before the heat took over and they withered. Bird numbers appear to be lower in most areas in the park, but Lizard and Turtle numbers are up. Magnolia leaves are loosing their glossy deep green and now are olive or a toasted brown color.
Today I decided to try and get a few Southern Magnolia photographs before they all turn brown. As I was hiking from Tree to Tree I noticed the park service was watering all the small decorative foliage in the groomed areas of the park. This is not the first time I have seen them do this, but usually it happens late in the summer, not spring. The usually lush spring green grasses have already dried and small Trees are loosing their Leaves.
The fragile delicate balance needs us to stop heating our planet Earth… I am already planning my fire escape routes for every trail before I hike. We really need some rain to feed the Forest!
On a brighter note Nature still has wonderful surprises even on the hottest days. I found a few lovely creamy Southern Magnolias and watched a lovely Mockingbird flight school for new offspring. Nature calls to my Heart to come and see her beauty…
Love to ALL!
My first thought each year when the Southern Magnolias bloom is “Popcorn”. The beautiful creamy white blossoms on the evergreen foliage are always a dramatic display seeming to pop out from the leaves. From the beautiful egg shape buds to the curling green tendrils in the heart of each Magnolia it is Nature’s cultural celebration. As a Northern by birth I must confess that I have succumbed to the fragrance and delicately transforming Southern Magnolia blooms. Their arrival each each year is a graceful nod to spring flowing toward summer.
Love to ALL!
I am hiking up West Mountain and the unthinkable occurs, one of my cameras dies I thought at first it was the battery but it soon became clear it was the camera. I turned around and headed home at peace with the problem, thankful I took out the 4 yr extended warranty. The little monster was eating batteries, so broad landscapes will be on hold for at least 10 days. It is time to refocus my view of landscapes as I did once before during a couple of weeks in 2010. “Beautiful Birds of West and Music Mountains” “Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Who is the Rock Stacker?“
This left me with one camera so after I arranged for repair service with Sony I headed back outside to console myself with photographing Wildflowers. As readers of my blog may already know I love Wildflowers, so my mission was a wonderful way to spend the rest of my morning. While I searched the grass for tiny blooms I heard a noise above me, I was not alone. Slowly stepping back I turned to look up and find the source of the scraping sound. Peering down at me was a sweet Squirrel whose lovely color was transitioning from winter silver to spring rust.
As I was moving through the park searching for spring flowers when a Cedar Waxwing landed on a Tree in front of me. Soon it was moving off with other birds and I decided to try and follow them. The truth, I lost ground pretty fast so I ended up on Bath House Row in the park going to see if a favorite Tree had blossomed.
When I reached the Yellow Spanish Style Hot Springs National Park Administration Building I could see a the large Saucer Magnolia Tree blossoms were beginning to open. The freeze and snow last weak changed the outer petals from a pink to a pale beige gold. At first I felt sad to have lost the chance to capture perfect pink blossoms. When my mind adjusted to the different colors I realized Nature had presented me with a new version of beautiful. Gold accented the pink making the shape and definition of each blossom a unique floral sculpture. Spring has arrived in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Less than a block from my goal I glanced to my side and saw two lovely rows of blossoming Cherry Trees. To see the spectacular Cherry Blossoms visit my last blog entry “Beautiful Cherry Blossoms Herald An Early Spring“. You will also see the beautiful wings waiting for me in the blossoms.
Much Love to ALL!
Snow is set to fall on Monday morning and I need to collect data about an urban hike I will be writing about for a local magazine soon. More on this later… much later like in a few weeks.
It is easy to take for granted the symbiotic relationship between Nature and Urban Architecture in Hot Springs National Park. There is a graceful flow to the Grand Promenade Loop that travels across the base of Hot Springs Mountain and down along Historic Bath House Row. Please enjoy my hike through the urban jungle on a day when spring was blooming in the icy chill of winter. The Universe painted a joyous path for me to follow today.
Love to ALL!
May has been a busy month of hiking, designing and writing. My beloved husband Rick also began hiking after a year marked by several health set backs. I am so proud of him and the courage he has shown in beginning a regular exercise routine, especially as we are heading into the humid months of summer. You are a true survivor my wonderful husband!
Often I have extra photographs from our joint excursions into the Mountains and little time to write a complete blog each time. I have decided to create a monthly blog featuring photographs from our joint hikes. There have been wonderful sightings of lovely Squirrels, a shy Turtle, tiny Chipmunk, curious male Cardinal, a flock of Canada Geese and a bold Coopers Hawk. We are blessed to have close (across the street) access to the beautiful spring trails of vibrant green decorated with spectacular Wildflowers and Fungi within Hot Springs National Park.
Much Love to Everyone!
Often the only part of Hot Springs National Park visitors see is the Historic District on Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was one of the main reasons I began sharing photographs of my hiking adventures within the park. The Historic District along bathhouse row on Central Avenue is actually in Hot Springs National Park. Cross the road and you are in the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have combined my first snapshots of the city using a very old camera back in 2009 with current photographs to create a tour of the my new home in Arkansas. From the first day I strolled through the city I felt at home even though I had never imagined myself living in the South. I understand Hill Wheatley’s Love for Hot Springs and am grateful for the land he preserved and donated to the city.
My Husband Rick and I live in a renovated Hotel that was built to accommodate the tourists who came to gamble or rub shoulders with celebrities and gangsters. Hot Springs Historic District was once home to Al Capone, Owney Madden, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Segal, you can still stay in the Al Capone Suite in the Arlington Hotel which overlooks his favorite gambling spot the Southern Club (now the Wax Museum). For a total immersion in Hot Springs Criminal past you can visit the Gangster Museum of America and hang out at the infamous Ohio Club (built in 1905) like Celebrities Mae West, Tony Bennett, Babe Ruth, and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1967 gambling in the Historic District was brought to a halt by Republicans Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and Circuit Judge Henry M. Britt. The Governor sent in state troopers to close the casinos and burn their gaming equipment. The only remaining gambling establishment in Hot Springs is Oaklawn Park (opened in 1905), a thoroughbred horse racing track.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is the perfect location for you next vacation. Hike all day and then have the total spa treatment at the Quapaw, Buckstaff or the Arlington Hotel. Spend an evening at the Ohio Club, Poetry Loft or on on an Art Walk through the Historic Dstrict. A stroll down Central Avenue is a tour of the city’s history including the 1929 Medical Arts Building which was the first Skyscraper in the South. From the 1891 Hay Hotel and the 1893 Southern Club (now the Wax Museum) to the 1910 Mountain Valley Water and 1930 Hotel De Paris (now the R. Groden Studio) you will find an outstanding array of architectural artistry. If you Love tiles the Historic District including Bathhouse row has a wonderful variety in all colors and styles. From the dome on the Quapaw to the decorative fronts on many of the local business and bathroom floors or hotel fountains there are old tiles throughout the city.
Thank You for joining me in the Hot Springs Historic District.
Spring arrived in Hot Springs yesterday Cherry Blossoms, Saucer Magnolias, Wildflowers etc. exploded along city streets and Hot Springs National Park. Please enjoy my photographic journey of a lovely day out with my beloved husband Rick.
Sending this photographic bouquet to all my readers.
Take a hike with me across two Mountains in Hot Springs National Park. This morning a cool breeze is traveling across my skin as I enter the park. I am greeted by a tiny sparrow dusting itself in the dry soil below a Magnolia Tree. No longer in bloom the elegant Magnolia seeds sleep in a velvet cocoon high in the dark leaves.
On the Carriage Road I look up to see a beautiful moon rise over West Mountain. As a Cancer child moon rises always make me feel happy. When I reach the Dead Chief Trail I see a beautiful large blue rock perched next to the stairs. Early morning light often reveals beautiful details.
When I reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain the clods are clearing and the sun is shining brightly. On the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I can hear the song of a Tufted Titmouse. I Look up to see it hopping from branch to branch in the tree above me. It is beautiful to see it’s beautiful wings as it flies across the the higher branches. Moving along the trail I reveal in the green that will soon give way to the colors of Autumn. Nearing the trail head I spot a sweet vireo peeking out of the leave of a tree far below me.
I Love the hike down the Gulpha Gorge Trail and onto the Goat Rock Trail. It rough rocking pine strewn landscape always reminds me of central Oregon. All along the Goat Rock Trail I can hear the rapid scurrying of lizards. As Goat Rock I finally spot a Five Line Skink and further up a Prairie Lizard. The last remaining wildflowers decorating the trail are Oxeye Daisies in white and lavender. Now the trail is painted with lichen covered rock and the violet berries of Callicarpa Bush.
My hike across North Mountain via the Upper Dogwood and Lower Dogwood Trails is peaceful and meditative. I listen to the distant songs of warblers and finches, it is the perfect song for this lovely summer morning. When I reach the bottom of the Floral Trail a Red Spotted Purple Butterfly lands on the Rock before me. It gracefully turns and flexes it’s wings as the breeze pushes against it. Thank You for traveling through the Forest with me this morning.
I am writing this with hind sight, as the skies darken and a storm is blowing in. I can understand now why wildlife was scarce as I hiked this morning. Rain, wind, thunder and lightening with a dash of hail all incentives to stay under cover.
Overcast skies as I head into the park today, sunlight has been evasive in the early morning as of late. As I head up the Floral my head is filled with my upcoming wedding. Unfortunately it means I am not paying attention to a particular detail. A deer is in the upper levels of the forest along the Floral Trail. I hear it run and catch only a glimpse as it disappears into the deep forest above me.
I head up to the North side of the Lower Dogwood Trail and sadly I spot another dead baby Opossum. It seems strange that last time and now on this trail I see a dead Opossum. It is puzzling to think a predator would leave behind the body in the middle of the trail each time. As I hike in the glorious green of this trail I wonder, what animal would kill for killing sake?
From the Lower Dogwood I hike down to the Upper Dogwood, I always like looking down this trail from the top it seems to go on forever. Looking up from the bottom I imagine what might be be up over the rise. This one of my favorite places on North Mountain.
I hike over to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and connect with the Honeysuckle Trail. When I reach the Peak Trail I realize I have not seen any Squirrels or Chipmunks today. As I reach the promenade and head toward home I am treat to a quick peek from behind a tree by a juvenile Squirrel. I am so happy to see this sweet face.
Nature can heal a wounded heart!
PS I still have not seen the wounded Mom Squirrel and I hold her in my heart with hopes she will reappear.
A wonderful day off with my Fiance’ Rick, we had a beautiful Stroll through the Park. Please relax in Nature on the Promenade in Hot Springs National Park.
Love to you ALL!
Dark skies await me as I enter the park, in the distance I can here the NPS Mower working in the lower levels of the park. On the Tufa Terrace new Wild Roses are blooming and lovely Bumble Bees are moving from flower to flower. I love watching their graceful ballet as collect the pollen from the center of the pink blossom.
I hike to the top of the mountain via the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails. Lovely new purple wildflowers are appearing along the trail edges. These are the first purple flowers for both the trails and a welcome sight.
At the top of the Mountain I connect with the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and hike around the east side of the Mountain and cross over on to North Mountain. The machines used to groom the park have kept the wildlife in the distance. Today I have felt truly alone in the Forest, I miss the Birds, Chipmunks and Squirrels. The dark skies and cooler temperatures have kept the reptiles away as well, yes I miss the snakes and lizards too.
When I reach the Upper Dogwood Trail the sun begins to sporadically appear. I sit on a bench and look up at the sky in time to see a Hawk and the later a Turkey Vulture soar overhead. While I change the batteries in my camera a regular on the trails Robert stops for a chat then continues down the Hot Springs Mountain Trail as I head up the Upper Dogwood Ttrail.
As the sun begins to stay out for longer periods the Insects in the park emerge and I can see activity on low bushes and high in the Trees. Tiny gnats are in mini swarms high in the Trees and graceful Butterflies are riding the breeze dipping in and out of the Forest green. The Lower Dogwood and Floral Trails are busy with a wonderful array of colorful Insects. While I am photographing a Moth I look up momentarily to see a Hummingbird hovering in front of me. It disappears before I can begin to lift my lens to get a photograph.
When I reach the bottom of the Floral Trail I am surround by a festival of color. Beautiful tiny blue butterflies are dancing all around me. A beautiful Orange Angel-wings Butterfly Land in the long grass at my feet. As it flies away I catch sight of a neon blue dragonfly delicately hovering among the wildflowers.
A sweet romantic couple Suella and Joshua from Ville Platte, Louisiana stop and ask if I will take their photograph. As if on cue a brown and orange Moth appears, it matches the colors in Suella sundress. It lands near us all and is a spectacular site with it’s wings open.
When I reach the park entrance I walk along the Arlington Lawn admiring the beautiful Magnolias that are bursting open. I pack my camera away and am about to head home when the largest Dragonfly I have ever seen zooms past me. Quickly I try to get my camera out as I head back into the park. There are five perhaps six Dragonflies the size of Sparrows, they are flying in a chaotic manner and I keep spinning around trying to capture a single image. I doubt that there will be even a blur on any of the numerous shoot and hope photos I took. A lovely gray and orange Butterfly, or is it a Moth lands at my feet as I am leaving for home. It has been a wonderful day of Insects in the Park.
Thank You for you joining me on my hike today.
Love to You All!