Hot in Hot Springs the heat index is already 95 degrees when I leave for my hike at 8 am. On the Arlington Lawn a sweet Squirrel is searching for food in the dry earth. The weather has been August hot not the normal June hot. I am happy when I finally see it has found a breakfast morsel.
I head up to the the Tufa Terrace I see several lovely Squirrels foraging under bushes. On sweetie is sitting on a platform by the stairs grooming and watching photographing other Squirrels. Further up the trail I see a Brown Thrasher sheltering under a bush. The heat is beginning to dry the foliage and I wish it would rain.
On the Peak Trail I spot a pair of long ears in the grass being lit by the sun. I move very slowly so as not to scare this beautiful Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. As I am moving with little baby steps I hear a noise to my left and a second Rabbit is crossing in front of me. Two Rabbit in the same space might mean Baby Rabbits will soon emerge. I have a lovely time watching and photographing these beautiful Bunnies.
More gorgeous Asiatic Dayflowers decorate the grass below the steps that head up to the Dead Chief Trail. I head up the Trail and the heat is beginning to climb as I get deeper into the Forest, I stop again to drink some Spring Water and see a male Cardinal high above me fluffing his crest and carrying a seed. The Forest foliage is beginning to wilt as the heat continues. As I connect with the Short Cut Trail I can see more sunlight is able to penetrate the Forest canopy.
When I reach the top I am greeted by a lovely large Woodland Sunflower, it’s a beautiful yellow bloom. Increasing heat helps me decide to drink from one of the drinking fountains in the picnic area letting a little spill over into a small pool on the stones. In the increasing I pick up my pace and head over to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. As it get hotter less creatures appear to be moving about. Even though water has been scarce for weeks pretty Wildflowers in lavender and violet are appearing on the trail edges ( if you know what they are can you please let me know).
I continue on the Hot springs Mountain Trail to the Honeysuckle Trail, past the Wedding Chapel and down the Floral Trail heading home. Three hours in the heat has drained me, but it was still an amazing day in the park.
Nature is fragile and strong, we need each other to survive.
PS Rick and I were married in the Wedding Chapel on Friday June 18th at 8 am.