The park was void of bird song and nothing appeared to be moving. As walked along the Tufa Terrace to the carriage Road I could hear faint rustling in the bushes. The first movement I noticed was on the Dead Chief Trail, a small squirrel was preparing to preform an amazing feat. In a rapid succession he/she jumped from the tree to a wire, ran down the wall, swung over to a pipe and into a hole on the side of a currently abandoned building. The event was so mesmerizing I was lucky to capture the pre jump and the tail in the hole.
Further up the trail I could hear a Red-Bellied Woodpecker but could not see him. His voice rang out as I hiked up the hill through a beautiful winter wonderland. So cold I could not imagine anyone would want to be out in it, except for me. As I crested the top pf the hill the sky was an amazing blue against the dark trees. Heading over the Pagoda I met John a retired Methodist Minister hiking to remember or forget a little his wife who had also love to take photos.
At the the Pagoda the view was a deep cold blue cast, framed in snow branches. The cries of my elusive friend the Red-Bellied Woodpecker resonated through the cold air. Hippy Mike appeared with the lovely Sarah, who ran up to say hello, greeting me as an old friend. They were touring all their favorite view spots in the park. The thought of Sarah left a still lingering smile on my face. The frosty trail before me glistened lighting the way for a Northern Mockingbird to land on a rock to my left, looking back, shaking a tail feather he/she headed into the bushes.
The hike along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail was glorious decked out in snow. My enchanted forest, a place to feel free. I paused to take in the beauty, my eye caught sight of a sweet Brown Creeper happily hopping up and around a tree. As he flew off I caught site of a Black-Throated Green Warbler, Fox Sparrow and a Female Slate-Colored Junco. Delicate little birds traveling in a mixed flock. Near the trail head I could hear the faint call of a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.
I hiked up the Hot Springs Mountain Road to the North Mountain Overlook. The view was as always therapy for the eyes, lifting the soul. The wind changed from a breeze to a roaring freight train and I knew it was time to start heading home. Back down the road to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail the wind was causing the trees to sway, moaning against the force of the Nature.
I hiked quickly to the trail head then over to the Peak Trail. The wind against my face was brutal and nothing was moving on the trail but me. No birds, no small mammals, only the sound of the wind and the trees creaking. When I reached the bottom the only birds in site were Robins and they had gathered on the carriage road trying to find food and shelter. I wondered how the other small creatures were faring.
I exited the park wishing I could have stayed longer, but knowing it was getting too cold for me to delay returning home.
Love Life, Love Nature and find your Inner Child.
PS I was really being followed by a Red Head LOL and only discovered this truth when I edited my photos.