Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Posts tagged “violets

Spring paints with a broad pallet of color along the trails

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Spring is a chaotic rapidly changing slideshow of color.  Wildflowers, Rocks, Birds, new Leaves and flowering Trees are glorious eye candy along the trails.  Nature always has surprises waiting for me to share via my lens.  Yesterday’s surprise was the return of a favorite hiking partner, a male Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  His vibrant red head glowed in the sunlight high above me.  Before the drought of 2012 it was rare not to see one every day I hiked,  sometimes on every trail across Hot Springs and North Mountains.  This sighting was beautiful gift.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Spring paints with new leaves, wings, rocks and flowers

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It’s Spring!
It rained for two days feeding the parched land across Arkansas and Nature is painting every surface with new life.  In Hot Springs National Park the Forest reveals the delicate unfurling of spring Leaves.  Soft green pods slowly opening to release green fronds from the sleeping sentinels.  A tiny Titmouse flits from Tree to Tree stopping to sharpen its beak on a branch above me.  Rain dampened Rocks create a soft pallet of colors on the surface of the trail cradled in fallen Leaves and Needles.  Tiny Bluets create a purple haze hovering on willowy green stems above the rust colored Forest floor.  Flowering white Wild Plum Trees call to winged pollen collectors with their glorious blossoms.  Question Mark and Variegated Fritillary Butterflies Spread orange wings wide warming in the afternoon sun.

Today is Spring and it is calling your name so come out and play…
Love to ALL!
Lee


Wildflowers and Birds among the Tree Sculptures

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Each hike reveals an ever changing open space art gallery.  The winter Forest of Hot Springs National Park is filled with beautiful Tree sculptures.  You can see a struggle for life in each trunk curve and branch bend.  Pushed by storms, twisted by high winds, battered by ice and snow each Tree has a story to share.   Colorful Rocks are a canvas for the lichen, mold and fungi to paint their glorious abstracts.  Awakening wildflowers push through the leaves, twigs and seeds reaching for sunlight.  Their late winter petal pallet of purple and violet dot the landscape.   Lovely Birds are beginning to build homes in the branches that will soon be sheltered by new leaves.  They sing sweet songs to visitors about the promise of spring.  A living art gallery near you is waiting for you to visit… get out and play!

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS A storm is on the way so I took a detour after my hike to see the Cherry Blossoms :)


Little Violets In The Winter Forest

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I am dedicating this blog posting to my Mom and Dad.
My Mom loved Violets above all other flowers, my Dad gave her pressed Violets in a love note a few days before he passed away.  She kept his note nearby until she passed away twenty years later.

His love note began “The flowers that bloom in the spring tra la”  The early spring weather has brought forth lovely clusters of Bird Foot Violets.  Each delicate bloom is a reminder of my parents.

Spring warmth has awoken tender green plants along the edges of the trails.  Saucer Magnolias are now covered in fuzzy flower pods and Dogwood Trees have tiny pink ball shaped buds.  A few Tree branches in the park have already burst out in a spiny orange blossom covering.  The Forest has awakened early with a subtle ballet of new growth and color.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Lovely Frost Flowers, Rocks, Deer and Wildflowers of Winter

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When I head out for my morning hike I am glad to have a layer of Northface fleece under my Patagonia jacket.  An icy winter chill is blowing through the park  lowering the temperature into the teens.  The sun is radiant in a spectacular “Hot Springs Blue” sky, it is a perfect day for a long winter hike.  As I reach North Mountain the first thing I notice is a patch of frost covered vines.  Rising up from the vines is a lovely surprise beautiful tiny blooms, Purple Deadnettle.

Heading up the the Floral Trail I see Frost Flowers blooming on the Trail edges.  They are caused by moisture extruding from cracks in the base of a dead plant stem. The ribbons of ice are pushed out the dead stems forming the beautiful shapes as found in my photographs.  I hope to capture many more this coming winter. The straws (deceased plants) suck up the moisture and create spectacular ribbons of ice. To learn more please read my old blog entry Ice Ribbons and Frost Flowers.

All along the Lower and Upper Dogwood Trail colorful rocks sparkle in the Morning sun.  Painted by Nature in rose, orange, grey, pink, white, yellow and black each rock is a work of art. Coated in morning frost the quartz and newly forming crystals are the jewels of the winter Forest.

When I reach the Goat Rock Trail the sun warms my face and I close my eyes for a brief morning meditation. As I turn to head up the trail the sound of a soft crunching in the leaves catches my attention.  I look up to see one, two, three, four and then a fifth Whitetail Deer.  Each moving gracefully up the hill above me and turning to see what I am doing on the trail below.  Usually I see groupings of three Does moving through the park, this was the first herd of five.

Further up the trail splashes of purple appear among the leaves and twigs covering the Forest floor.  Velvety Bird-Foot Violets have emerged from their sleep in subtle shares of purple and violet.  Gracefully bowing among the Violets are sheer blossoms of False Garlic.  Spring is unfurling in the icy cold of winters breath.

My wonderful hike concludes as it began with a Robin observing my presence from the Fountain Trail.

Have a wonderful time on the Trail…
Love to ALL!
Lee


Beautiful Wildlife in the Spring Forest

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I had a beautiful hike in the Spring Forest yesterday morning and a second later that afternoon with my husband Rick.  I hope you will forgive the brief text today and enjoy the photographs that chronicle my morning hike.  As it is Wednesday I am trying to be light on the words and invoke a limited “Wordless Wednesday” for my blog.

The Spring Forest is both beautiful and for this photographer filled with obstacles.   Beauty is found in the birth of new Leaves, Birds building nests and the sprouting of colorful Wildflowers.  The slowly unfurling Leaves and newly sprouting vines create both a barrier that allows me to be somewhat hidden, but also hides that which I wish to see.  Along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I hear below me the delicate crunching of leaves and I quickly duck behind a large Tree.  In the distance passing between the jumble of Leaves, Vines, Bushes and Trees I can see the shapes of Whitetail Deer moving slowly along what once was the road for carriages, although overgrown the outline of its flattened surface is still visible.  They are a perfect Deer trail as remnants of the old roads are hidden throughout the park.

My line of sight is obscured by the new spring growth, I decided to head quietly along the path and connect with the Honeysuckle Trail which is lower on the north side of the Mountain.  When I arrived at the Wedding Chapel, aka NPS rest hut I go inside hoping it will camouflage my presence. Barely five minutes have past when I hear the graceful crunching of the Deer as they moved toward me across the dead autumn Leaves.  Unfortunately they too  have moved farther down the Mountain before heading my direction and are now below me on the Floral Trail.  I slowly slip down the stairs of the rest hut and over to the Floral Trail.  Moving stopping, moving stopping trying to keep rhythm with the Deer I tip toe along the trail.  From behind a Tree I try to focus my lens between the spring growth standing between myself and the lovely Deer.  I am somewhat successful.

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS: I am thankful and blessed to have my new camera and lens, they have revealed the fantastic colors and patterns of the tiniest Moths.  I hope to see many more of these winged beauties this spring and summer… and share them with you :)


Between the Storms Springs is Revealed on West Mountain

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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!
Lee

PS  Sadly the photograph of the discarded aerosol can may indicate huffing is occurring on West Mountain.


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