The change of time means the sun is rising later and the small mammals are all moving about in the park when I arrive. I miss the birds but know as the sunrise time changes I will begin to see their morning rituals again.
As I walked along the Tufa Terrace I stopped to take photos of a very busy Squirrel digging up their buried stashes of nuts. As always I was standing perfectly still and the dear Squirrel worked it’s way to where I was standing. It looked up at me, let out a little scream of surprise and ran up a tree. As I turned to give the Squirrel some space I saw a rabbit dive into the bushes. It was the first live rabbit I had seen in the park, a cream color, not the normal red and gray.
Four steps ahead and I was facing a little chipmunk. I was surprised because I knew it saw me, but it came out climbed up on a Tufa Rock. As a final gesture of trust the sweet creature stood up and looked at me. It made me wonder how many times it had watched me creep up the terrace these past months. The thought made me giggle as I made my way over to the peak trail.
I could not decide which way to go when I reached the junction of the Peak and Honeysuckle Trails. As I stood on the trail trying to decide a large group of talkative men headed up the Peak, I took the less traveled Honeysuckle. The sun was beginning to stream through the lower branches of the trees illuminating North Mountain, it was a beautiful site from the trail. Several yards from the rest hut on the Honeysuckle I glanced up to see a jogger bent over, he stood up and limped along the trail. He had run up the floral trail, a rapid assent that took it’s toll. I followed at a distance for half a mile to be sure he was going to be alright.
At the next trail junction I took the Upper Dogwood and connected to the Lower Dogwood Trail. I was nearing the trail junction and an odd musky odor filled the air. As I headed up the trail a large White Tail Deer darted up over the horizon. I now know if that scent fills the air again I should freeze and carefully look up wind, I would love to get a photo. It’s funny I never thought I would be trying to track a deer in the forest.
The hike along the backside of the Upper Dogwood Trail is a beautiful Nursery of Baby Buds and Leaf Shoots. It is a joy and blessing to see the rebirth of a forest. The hike is a heavenly journey each day seeing the delicate greens and pinks. It lifts my soul to inhale the scent of the leaves and blossoms.
Thank you for trusting me each day to lead you through the forests of Hot Springs National Park.
Love to You ALL!