I started the day with Bubbles in the park, a stray bubble floated past me as I walked in the park entrance. When I was at the top of the entrance ramp a cluster of bubbles landed on the branch next to me. I never expected to start my hike with the Lawrence Welk treatment, all that was missing was the accordion music.
Change is good and the bubbles inspired me to hike up the peak trail to the top. I could feel the temperature dropping and I looked up to see the cloud cover increasing. I popped my big brimmed hat on my head, I was thankful to have thrown it over my shoulder.
The closer I go to the top the cooler it began to feel, at the Pagoda the sky was ominous and the land below dark. As I turned to leave I heard the familiar cackle of a Pileated Woodpecker, one quick snap of the camera and it was gone. As I had not been down the Dead Chief Trail toward the the Gulpha Gorge is quite a while I thought it was a perfect idea for a change day.
The air temperature was still dropping as the wind gusts became stronger so I headed out at faster pace to keep my circulation up. Down the short cut Trail over to the Dead Chief heading east, the wind seemed a bit calmer which was a relief. All the wildlife seemed to have vanished off the trails, I did not blame them the wind had bite. The weather forecasters did not bother to tell me the park temperature was going drop as strong winds built up as the morning progressed. They had all shown a happy sun with a tiny cloud and upper 40s temperatures. What had been the perfect hiking attire and layers at 09:30 was inadequate by 11:00, I decided cut short my longer hiking plans.
When I neared the top of the Dead Chief Trail Bend and T was treated to the sighting of a male and female White-Breasted Nuthatch. I was so excited to see them, it was a joyous gift. As I exited the Dead Chief Trail I was hit by the full force of the North wind. Pushing forward against it I reached the Peak Trail in time to see the back side of a Red-Bellied Woodpecker in an odd position on the tree. It did mean I was able for the first time to get a clear shot of the red belly it is name for.
When I reached the Hot Mineral Springs Cascade at the Park entrance I found out were all the bird were. The place looked like it was having a Spa Day for Robins, Sparrows and Cardinals. They were all dipping their toes in to stay warm, I would have loved to join them to defrost. The rising steam everywhere made in the perfect bird sauna.
Thank You for hiking with me today… Love Nature, it wants to Love You Back!