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The ice is the main obstacle to my getting into and out to the park each day. I must have looked like Buster Keaton holding the rail trying not to slide, my feet running in place. It is always wonderful to enter the park laughing. The Robins were behaving oddly, all clustered in a single tree at the entrance to the Dead Chief Trail. I had never seen them coming to roost in this location. The extreme weather in the park was changing the territory of many of the birds. The impending snow storm would cause still more changes to the living patterns of the park wildlife.
As I hiked up the Dead Chief Trail Sparrows, Warblers and Cardinals were nowhere to be seen on the second part of the incline. I wondered if the Robins had scared them away. It was usually busy, a grand central station of all the small birds darting back and forth. I had seen the the Red Bellied Woodpecker here just yesterday and that was a first as well. I followed the bend in the trail trying not to slip on the still present sheet of ice a the top of the second incline.
One tiny Black Throated Green Warbler appeared where the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails meet. It’s sweet song resonated through the forest as it peeked out from behind a branch. I was relieved to see and hear her. On the Short Cut Trail most of the ice had melted, only an a occasional patch still linger and I could easily navigate what still remained.
Up top the forest was silent, no squirrel chatter and no bird song. I headed over to the Pagoda across a field of crunchy ice to get a view shot and see if any Hawks were in the air. Plenty of view and zero birds of prey. Today I would hike the first leg of the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and come back the same way. I was not keen to repeat my ice adventure of the day before.
After completing the return trip back to the Pagoda I was heading up the knoll and a Northern Mockingbird landed on the rock in front to me. I was so startled I almost forgot to take a photograph. As she flew away a Brown Thrasher landed a few feet away. I carefully backed up so I would not disturb their foraging. As I moved along the path a Male Cardinal landed in a nearby tree and a Female Cardinal landed on the grass above me. Continuing to slowly back up I wondered if I was invisible.
I had though I might try hiking down the Peak Trail to exit the park. I hiked on the nearly clear pavement of the Hot Springs Mountain Road and was surprised to see a thick sheet of ice 15 yards wide standing between me and the Peak Trail. I knew I would have to exit the way I had entered via the Short Cut and Dead Chief trails. Half way down I heard an odd sound coming from the Hot Springs Mountain Road. I looked up just in time to see a skateboarder whizzing past. I guess he was enjoying the park being in lock down as much as I was, bet it was a great ride down the many twists and turns.
As always “Thank You” for joining me on my hike today!