As I step out the door this morning the skies are gray and the clouds not only block the sun but obscure the view of the Tower. I am hopeful the Sun will prevail, but carry my rain hat just in case I am incorrect. As I reach the top of the Tufa Terrace ramp a lovely female Cardinal briefly lands in the Tree above me. She is carrying a beak full of pine needles for rebuilding her nest perhaps.
When I reach the Peak Trail a Juvenile Cardinal is singing to the new day as the sun is highlighted by parting clouds. In the sunlight I notice a beautiful sandstone rock with beautiful veins of quartz. I Love how new things are revealed everyday in the park.
From the Carriage Road I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails to reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain. I cross the picnic area as a family begins grilling an outdoor breakfast. Some food just smells better when its being cooked over hot coals. I feel a pang of hunger as I begin hiking on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail. I can hear a flock of small birds traveling high above me through the Trees. I love these sweet mixed flocks of birds I often encounter in the park. This one is comprised of Black-Capped Chickadees, Juvenile Orange-Crowned Warblers, Juvenile Tufted Titmouse and Great Crested Flycatchers. My favorite moment was looking up to see a Juvenile Titmouse hanging upside down staring at me.
From the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I hike up the North Mountain Loop to connect with the Upper Dogwood Trail. On the trail I can see debris from the storm last night. When I reach the Lower Dogwood the erosion on the Lower Dogwood Trail makes the hike a bit slower as I navigate the newly exposed jagged rock surfaces. On the Floral trail the skies begin to darken, a tiny delicate orange moth zooms past and grips a pine needle that is under a leaf. The perfect umbrella as short rain shower passes over the Trail.
Delight is all Nature shows you.