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!
Yesterday I stepped out for a quick (2 1/2 hours) afternoon hike and witnessed a Mom kicking the kids out of the nest. For about 20 minutes she chased, barked and nipped at her kits to keep them in the Trees on the opposite side of the trail. Tough love from a Squirrel mom.
Further along the trail a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler was singing a sweet song as Male Cardinal was photo bombed by a White-Throated Sparrow. Vibrant orange Leaves glowed in the winter Forest lightng my way home. It was a perfect winter hike!
Love to ALL!
Spring is not waiting for the calender in Hot Springs National Park. New green Leaves and and bright pink Red Bud blossoms are weaving a spectacular tapestry along the Mountain trails. Across the Forest floor new foliage has begun to change the texture and color in the park. Wildflowers push boldly upward seeking the increasing sunlight. Among the purple, pink and white blooms delicate winged insects stretch their wings to bask in the warmth.
Birds have reappeared and are beginning to work in pairs preparing their nests. Avian adolescents soar on gentle breezes as they battle for territory, landing only to sing of their triumphs. A Spring awakening beckons to all who will listen. Have a Lovely day on the trails…
Love to ALL!
PS: Special Thanks to
@JavaJuicellc (Java Juice extract), your organic coffee is wonderful. Usually if my husband or myself have coffee in our hiking smoothies we have to use nut milk and agave to cover up the bitter taste. Your product is so smooth and tasty it did not require anything other than fruits and veggies. Energy without the jitters too! Tastes wonderful in all our favorite smoothie recipes. We love the individual liquid filled packets, at home or around a campfire a tasty cup of organic coffee will always be at hand.
Winter casts her blue light upon the Forest as first light caresses the canopy. Delicate wings whisper among the Leaves as I become one with Nature. A sweet serenade to the morning echos softly as I move along each trail.
We are the unfolding mystery of the Universe. ~ Lee Hiller
Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah
Much Love to all!
Spring hiking this year in Hot Springs National Park has become a weather divination nightmare. Storms have been raging in Hot Springs and across the south, lives have been taken and communities destroyed. Please take a moment to say a prayer and donate to the Salvation Army to help those who are struggling to rebuild their lives. This weekend Lightning Storms, Flash Flood Warnings and Tornado Watches have returned to Hot Springs, Arkansas and many other areas across the southeastern United States.
While others were glued to their televisions watching the Royal Wedding I went hiking. I feel blessed to be able to enter the park to commune with Nature, sunshine and the chance to get outside must not be wasted :) This hike fulfilled my goal of traveling someplace new in the park this spring. After photographing Ricks Pond in its new greenery I headed up the Sunset Trial to the junction that leads to the Fordyce Peaks. This time I headed left and explored the Sunset Trail that encompasses the third leg of the Sunset Trail and connects the old Fordyce Estate to Sugarloaf Mountain.
The spring rain has greened the bare winter forest and decorated it with vibrant colorful wildflowers and previously traveled parts of the trail seem new. Dragonflies in blue, brown and yellow buzzed up and down the trail, one stopping to have a snack in the sunlight. Warblers sing beautiful tunes tucked safely under the lush spring leaves. Although I heard several deer I only caught a teasing glimpse of the tops of their ears bobbing below the ridge line on both side of the path. Last year I did not hear frogs along the trails, today in distance there were faint ribbits echoing in the Forest. I discovered a bight green Katydid eating the pollen covered stamen from the center of a purple Spiderwort. The Trail heading toward Sugarloaf Mountain has knee high grasses and resembles an overgrown road more than a traditional trail and on several occasions completely vanishes. It is a lovely hike along a trail that meanders through mixed Forests of Pine and Oak.
Recent rains have exposed roots and rocks, sturdy boots will help save your ankles from twits and turns. The storm water cut trenches into the center of sloping paths and there are many loose rocks on the inclines. Note to hikers and NPS there are downed Trees on the Sunset Trail midway between Ricks Pond and the Fordyce Peaks Junction.
Love You ALL!
Field Notes: Thursday, January 27 2011
Today I was testing my strength for a new hiking location so I did not take many photographs. I hiked to the Top of West Mountain then down, around and back to the top. Are the 50s the new 40s? The jury is still out on this cultural axiom, but I am happy to be a unofficial test case.
On the Canyon Trail not long after I entered the park I noticed an unmarked trail that has been blocked by two logs. I stepped up on a big Rock to have a peek, as I balanced for a better look a mixed flock of Warblers and Juncos landed in the Trees around me. Breakfast was being served, berry clusters were being enjoyed by the small birds. They bent their bodies and reached for the tasty orbs dangling from the slender branches. I followed them to the Oak Trail and continued up the Mountain.
Hiking late morning into afternoon, when I ran out of liquid I knew it was time to head home. It was a successful fitness test. Two climbs up and around West Mountain made me realize how fortunate I am to live so close to Hot Springs National Park! It is a the best therapy, gym and church all in one glorious Nature filled package. I am truly blessed to be living here with my beloved husband Rick.
I must share with you what I saw on my way home through the Hot Springs Historic District. There is a western theme photography studio and in their window is usually a pile of colorful feather boas. Today peeking at me from the feathers was gray, white & tiger stripe cat with brilliant yellow eyes. The contrast of bird feathers and a small cat was too good a photography moment to pass up.
Stay tuned for my next blog… new park, trail and views :o)