The temperature is already 86 when I get up at 6:20 a.m., so I am rushing to get out by 7:25 a.m. to hike before it gets much hotter. My plan is for a quick hike up Hot Springs Mountain and back down. A jogger passes me as I head up the stairs into the park. When I reach the Promenade a small group of people is approaching and we take different paths up the Mountain.
When I reach the junction of the Tufa and Peak Trails I see and unusual insect. Special thanks to @PineLilyFNPS on Twitter for identifying this as a Banded Net Wing Beetle. As I reach the Carriage Road the Bird song is amazing, you can listen if you click here. Close your eyes and be transported into the Forest. Moving slowly along the path I watch as a Mourning Dove lands in the Tree above me, but does not stay long.
I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails at a record pace, the heat increasing with each segment of the inclines. When I reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain I stop to drink some water, the sweat is poring down my face. I stand wondering which way I should travel to continue my journey. I decide to take the Hot Springs Mountain Trail on the west side of the mountain. As I head down the trail I meet Bobby (Husband of Liz) he tells me there are many deer on the North side of North Mountain resting in the shade. The group includes both a twelve and eight point Buck.
I of course speed hike the 2.5 miles over to the location Bobby specified on the Upper Dogwood Trail. I arrive in time to view an eight point Buck strolling deeper into the forest. It is an amazing sight. As I am hiking away I have a conversation with two older gentlemen and they indicate they have seen the deer resting near where I am. Tomorrow I will have an early hike onto North Mountain hopefully for a glimpse of the deer herd.
I head home along the Lower Dogwood Trail and then down the Floral Trail to the leave the park. A beautiful blue Butterfly lands causing a brown and tan Moth to move further away. I always love the sun on the wings of these glorious residents of the park. It has been another wonderful way too hot morning in the park.
Please take a break and commune with Nature.