I am starting my blog today with my hike the night before with my Husband Rick. I am currently hiking twice a day as we build Rick’s strength as a part of his recovery since having a heart attack. The evening hike was highlighted by a lovely sighting made by my Husband on the Lower Dogwood Trail. A lovely family of Raccoons appeared below us, 2 adults and 3 babies. Their brief presences stay will be in our hearts forever.
A cool breeze greeted me for my morning hike keeping the temperature hovering around the Upper 70s. This was a fifteen degree drop from the morning temperatures of the past 3 weeks. I decide to hike out to the Gulpha Gorge and see how it had changed since this past winter.
When I reach the Carriage Road a Juvenile Brown Thrasher is sitting on a tree branch singing to the first light. At the steps leading up to the Dead Chief Trail a Male Cardinal is cocking his head an looking at me. I hike up the Dead Chief to the Short Cut and around the mountain on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail.
From the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I connect with Gulpha Gorge Trail and hike down to the Gulpha Gorge Creek. The NPS Campground is beginning to fill up with trailers and RVs nestled in the green along the Gulpha Creek. In the creek I spot beautiful fish that look more like something I would expect to see in the tropics. These are beautiful Longear Sunfish, golden body rimmed in turquoise.
The creek is peaceful and I love the watching the reflection in the gentle ripples. Through the arch of the bridge I can see a glorious lush world of reflection. I wish I had a raft to sail under the bridge and into this beautiful garden of water. As I hike up the Gulpha Gorge Trail Stairs and I know I need to come back here more often.
I hike home on the Dead Chief Trail and am greeted by a vibrant Orange Moth. It is a quiet journey and I am surprise with all the tourists I have not seen any other hikers of my journey home. As I near the last leg of the trail I hear a branch snap mid sip of my water. I look around and catch a glimpse of a deer as I holster my drink bottle. It is a brief look at a graceful creature that snorts loudly at me just before it leaps deeper into the Forest.
As I stroll down the stairs onto the Carriage Road a beautiful brown and orange Moth lands on the path before me. A glorious site to finish my hike in the Park. Seek out the beauty of Nature and she will sooth your soul.