I am into the park early as we are set to have another hot day. It appears the grounds keepers, dog walkers and tourist all had the same idea. A large juvenile Cardinal in the tree above me on the Carriage Road calls out sending me on my way. I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails to the top of Hot Springs Mountain Trail where I am greeted by sound of blowers.
Seeking silence I headed straight over to the Hot Springs Mountain trail. I stop here to say to the male population using the park; could you please put your cloths on, your sweaty nakedness on the narrow trails is unpleasant. The further I move along the trails the sound of Nature slowly begin to drown out the man-made noise devices. Wrapped in the peaceful green I move through the Forest to the song of the warblers hidden high in the Trees above me. A light breeze occasional passes through the leaves as I move through the Forest.
Even though the heat is building I decide to hike down the Gulpha Gorge Trail. I stop to visit with a large Short Leaf Pine Tree, the Grandmother of the Forest. This wonderful broad based Tree has survived severe damage and I had not stopped by for several weeks, I give her a hugs and head down the trail. When I reach the Goat Rock Trail I decide to take this route to the top of North Mountain. It is getting very hot and I am so happy to have a large container of water.
The Goat Rock Trail is beautiful in layers of green draped over the large rock formations along the trail. I can hear several people above me on the Rocks off trail. I hope they don’t fall as it is a very long was down onto more rocks. As I reach the top of the trail I am relieved to have not heard any loud screams or bone crushing sounds.
As I head down the Hot Springs Mountain Road to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail the temperature is climbing rapidly. I decide to head out of the park via the Floral Trail so I can get cold spring water. When I reach the bottom of the Floral Trail I see an insect on the other side of the trail connection. My first thought is that is is a Dragonfly but on closer inspection I see it is an interesting Black and yellow fuzzy insect. Special Thanks to my Twitter friends @dcenterphoto, @InvasiveNotes and @PineLilyFNPS for taking the time to help me identify this beauty. It is a Hummingbird Moth called a Snowberry Clearwing Moth. I hope I will see many more of these wonderful Insects in the park.
I am happy to reach the mineral water filling station in the park. Oh yes beautiful pure clean cold mineral water and it is FREE. I fill my bottle and have guzzle before heading home. Another gift from Nature, greatly appreciated.
Sneak out and play in Nature today!