My beloved fiance’ Rick and I are getting married on June 18th :o)
Ahhh the humidity and 70 degrees at 5 am and 80 by the time I was out the door at 7:30. It appeared everyone had the same idea, get a hike in before it really heats up. For the first time since I began hiking in Hot Springs National Park my lens is fogging over from the heat. I am beginning to understand why the fungi are doing so well in the park.
On the Tufa Terrace I see a little fungus that looks like a fortune cookie and another that is like an umbrella. I head up to the Carriage Road and see a sweet Squirrel sitting in a Tree watch a Male Cardinal below gathering it’s breakfast. As I near the place where steam is normally venting, I look at the area to see why it is not visible. What I find are beautiful Asiatic Dayflowers growing in the warm earth around the vent site.
I hike up the Peak Trail and enjoy the green wrapping around me and the songs of the many birds high in the canopy. Each step is deep mediation and I become one with the forest with every breath I take. I Love the quiet of the early morning. When I reach the top a sweet Squirrel is leaping from branch to branch. It was a beautiful acrobatic feat!
I headed over to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and I am delighted to see so many beautiful wildflowers. Purple and White Carolina Wild Petunias, Scaly Blazing Star and Lance Leaved Coreopsis line the Trail edges. It’s a glorious feast of color against the layers of green against the trail.
“When you’re spinning round things come undone, welcome to earth 3rd rock from the sun…” It is now I pause to explain a series of events that occurred as I neared the end of the east side of the trail. A Pileated Woodpecker landed on a dead log and I took a couple of photos. As I was creepy forward I notice a chipmunk only 5 feet from the Woodpecker. Cool I thought maybe I can get them both in the same frame. The Pileated Woodpecker suddenly flew to a Tree near me, oh WOW I thought. As I am focusing the Chipmunk screams thinking the Woodpecker is a bird of prey. The scream scares the Woodpecker it spreads it’s large wing and flies down the trail. This in turn sends a Deer that was strolling down the trail toward me and it leaps into the Forest out of sight. I in turn stood mesmerized unable to focus on anything.
I continued my hike on the west side of the trail trying to process the domino effect I have witnessed. From there I hike to the Upper and Lower Dogwood Trails to connect with the Floral Trail. As I teach the bottom of the trail a black shadow zooms past my face. I try to keep it in my sight until it lands. It is an amazing black Dragonfly Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly with neon blue head and body (Thank You Kerri for the correct name). It’s sheer black wings look spectacular in the bright sunlight. As I exit the park I feel blessed to have had this beautiful morning in the Forest.
Treat your soul to a day in Nature!
Love to You ALL!