When I woke up this morning I looked out the window and discovered the clouds were low on the mountain. I knew I would have to hustle drink my lemon with honey, get dress and get up there before they started to lift. Less than an hour later I was across the street and heading into the park. No birds were in the air, but I heard a Carolina Wren in a nearby bush and caught a glimpse of a male Cardinal in a tree before he slipped up under the leaves.
I hiked non stop up the Dead Chief to the Short Cut Trail trying to reach the top before the fog lifted completely. There is something magical when you are in the forest when it’s foggy. Sound is softer and the winter colors seem more intense in contrast the to gray. My hike on the Hots Springs Mountain Trail was serene in the fog and silence, hiking meditation.
As I neared the Gulpha Gorge the fog was lifting and I decided to hike up the Goat Rock Trail for a bit of cardio in the drizzle. The dark sky made taking detail photos near impossible, it was frustrating as thee were so many Wildflowers blooming. When I reached the top of the 1.1 mile trail the wind picked up and the clouds began to clear. Yes, I decided to hike back down the trail and photograph all the lovely Violets.
Today I saw my first Common Dog Violet, it was so small I nearly missed it’s delicate bloom. So few are out I was excited one had survived the battering wind and rain of the night before. Further down the trail were clusters of beautiful Bird-Foot Violets. Spectacular Purple blossoms that looked so Sstriking spreading out down the side of the Trail. Of course I had to stop and look at each new patch of them.
I hiked back up the Gulpha Gorge Trail and reconnected with the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. I passed two birders as I headed toward the Upper Dogwood Trail, both never stopped looking up binoculars scanning the trees. I glanced at my Watch, realized I had been out nearly four hours and needed to pick up the pace. From the Upper Dogwood I took the Lower Dogwood then the Floral Trail down to Hot Springs Mountain Road. Along the road side I spotted more white Wildflowers, gorgeous Sleepy Beauty. The wildflowers are so wonderful, Nature creates a new garden of blossoms each day.
Thank You for taking time to come with me on my hike.
Love to You ALL!