At the top of the entrance ramp a Robin is sitting atop a Tufa Rock after gathering nesting material. The many birds in the park are preparing for the nurturing of eggs. As I reach the Tufa Terrace I see Wild Columbine they are a spectacular Wildflower, lantern shape in orange with a yellow center. I hike up the Dead Chief, connect with the Short Cut Trail and see a lovely Squirrel having breakfast. It is the only one I have seen that is not jumping from Tree to Tree.
The Trail is covered is glorious shades of green and the once prominent rocks are now mere accents. As I reach the top I discover a beautiful Tree with Trumpet Blossoms in red, yellow and orange. Nature always has a lovely was of surprising me. In the picnic area I find a rare park species, the miniature Sheep Dog (see photo).
The hike along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail is green lines with purple and lavender. As the Forest foliage unfurls forming a new canopy the shade is filled with large patches of Birds-Foot Violets dotted with Oxalis. The barren landscapes of my winters hikes have vanished, repainted with leaves, vines and wildflowers.
I close my eyes when I reach the Upper Dogwood Trail, the sound of the songbirds makes my heart joyous. Slowly opening my eyes I see a beautiful Black Swallowtail Butterfly on a leaf in front of me. As quickly as it arrived it soars away on the breeze trailing across North Mountain. Further along the Trail I spot an odd puff ball, my first thought is that it is a plant. On closer inspection I wonder if might be a spider nest, a web appears to be coating it’s surface.
Reaching the Floral Trail I am surprised to see a Dragon looking across the path. The new greenery has turned the winter logs into a mythical being. The Floral Trail has a new guardian to protect the small creatures of the forest. As I near the bottom of the Trail a lovely Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly casts a shadow as it flys high above me in the Tree tops. I turn back to see the beautiful Forest before I leave and the butterfly lands on a plant to the side of me. It’s delicate wing has been torn and I am astounded by the way is is still able to fly.
Thank You for hiking with me in the Forest today.
Love to You All,