Sunday and as I head out a sidewalk regular calls out “You hike on Sundays too!”, I reply ” God is in the Mountains!” I head up the Tufa Terrace Trail when I enter the park, always excited by the surprises Nature shares with me. Today is flight school and I was blessed to see the baby Northern Mockingbird from Jul 11 flying from branch to branch and Tree to Tree with it’s mom. This baby has a beautiful voice I could not forget from out first encounter. It was a perfect start to my morning hike.
When I reach the Carriage Road I see a Male Cardinal, I set to take a photo, there is a flash of green and I have a brief glimpse of a juvenile female Summer Tanager. The amazing Male Cardinal is a glorious red nestled in the bright green. He spends several minutes shifting on the limbs in a steady breeze.
As I move to the stairs that lead up the Dead Chief Trail I see a lovely squirrel behind the fence in the hospital grounds. It is the first squirrel I have seen up close since the heat wave began about a one and a half weeks ago. I am so happy to see this small creature and enjoy watching it scale a tree and leap over my head to the other side of the trail. A Male Cardinal appears above me on the trail landing on a limb and it makes an X as I look up. A sweet Tufted Titmouse is looking down at me as I am photographing the Male Cardinal. For so long the birds seemed invisible as they were nesting and raising their young. I am so happy to hear their song and see them moving about the park.
As I near the top on the Short Cut Trail a tiny Black-Capped Chickadee is peering at me through a tangle of vines. My sighting is a wonderful morning surprise. Once at the top of Hot Springs Mountain I head along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. Just past the Pagoda I hear a lovely Cardinal song and while I am looking for birds above me a Male Cardinal lands on the ground next to me. He pick up seed and flies up into a Tree behind me.
I continue my hike and taking Upper Dogwood Trail when I reach North Mountain. It is unusual to be alone on the trail on a Sunday, I am enjoying the peaceful meditative Forest sounds. At the top of the Upper Dogwood I head down the Lower Dogwood Trail. The birds are all high in the Tree tops serenading the Mountain as I make my way to the Floral Trail.
As I near the bottom of the Floral Trail I am escorted by a beautiful Orange and Brown Moth. A final farewell as I leave the trail is a given by a sweet Tufted Titmouse. When I reach the Arlington Lawn I see a swarm of dragonflies speeding back and forth. In the bright sunlight they remind me of the golden snitch in the Harry Potter films. It has been another wonderful morning in paradise.
Take a moment to heal in Nature.