It was a beautiful morning in the park and waiting on the Promenade to start my hike was a lovely Female Cardinal. She flashed me a quick glance as she held a bit of food in her beak. With my newly minted smile I decided to go to an area I had not visited since 2009, a little strip of the Honeysuckle Trail. The last time I was there it was a wonderful place to see squirrels, and today was no exception. A nervous and rightly so squirrel was hunt in the leaves from breakfast. Every few minutes a crow would fly over and the little gray squirrel would flatten itself to a tree. It seemed to be a tough morning for foraging in such an open area.
There were a lot of people out on the trails and several stopped to take a photo of the little squirrel when they saw me with my camera. It was wonderful to see do many people enjoying the park on this lovely spring like morning.
I decided to hike to the top via the Peak Trail then connect with the West side of the Hot Springs Mountain Trail Loop. I have never see any small mammals on this section of the trail, but today I saw both a Chipmunk and a Squirrel. The warmer weather that brought out all the hikers also encouraged the smaller creatures to venture into the open to forage. It was interesting to note the mammals were venturing out farther, however the birds were now staying up in the highest tree or deep in the vines and thickets.
From the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I connected to the Upper Dogwood and discovered a small patch of pretty bird-footed violets. These were the first wild flowers I had seen in this area and they added wonderful color to the forest trail. I was also happy to see Rocks I have never noticed before.
At the top of the incline I switched over to the Lower Dogwood and enjoyed the peaceful scenery of this out of the way trail. As I neared the half way point on the trail I noticed a small tree beginning to blossom. I have no idea what it is, if you know could you please tell me, it has a beautiful blossom.
On the south side of the trail loop I found glorious Wood, Gnarled Roots and more Rocks. All along the trails I could hear the rustling of leave as small lizards darted about. There is more cover on the Upper and Lover Dogwood Trails so I have been unable to photograph one here, yet. As I was focusing on a log I heard a loud bark and discovered I was being stated at by a Terrier without an owner. I looked up the trail and saw I man up a head, the little dog ran to catch up but first stopped to mark the forest as his territory. The man was carrying a leash he had no intention of using, unless he got caught. (Consider Yourself Caught!)
My hike continued on the Floral Trail where I discovered more Wood and Rocks. I exited the trail onto Hot Springs Mountain Road and discovered an lovely patch of Wood Anemones on the side of the road. The lovely whites blossom were the first of this type I have seen this springs. It was the perfect end to a hike in the forest.
Get out and play, feel the Love of Nature.