The heat advisory is back and it is going to be 106 degrees today, when I leave at 8:00 a.m. it is already 90+ degrees. A Motorcycle Rally is in town and they are already out revving their engines when I leave for the park. I had hoped I would get in my hike before they started, no such luck. When I reached the top of the Tufa Terrace Ramp I see a flash of reddish brown. On closer inspection I see sweet Chipmunks climbing up the Tufa Rocks. A jogger in flip flops runs up to me and the Chipmunk ducks for cover. It pops back out after he passes and vanishes again when he decides to reverse direction.
I cross the Promenade to connect with the Tufa Terrace and I am happy to see one of the Wild Rabbits. A couple appears on the opposite end of the trail and the Bunny does a vanishing act. I decide to take a stroll back around the lower area of the park in hopes if I return the sweet Rabbit will as well. A blessing I return to watch two hop out of the bushes. The smaller one has healing head wounds now, it had been weeks since I had seen the two of them together. I am always amazed at the injuries the beautiful creatures of the forest survive. It is a lovely moment as I know they have seen me but they allow me to continue to photograph them until a large hiking party approaches.
When I reach the Carriage Road a female Cardinal is singing to the rising sun. I search high in the Trees and finally spot her in the high branches above me. She is fanning her tail and belting out a sweet morning song. Her song carries me along the Carriage Road. I hike up the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails to reach the top of Hot Springs Mountain.
I am sweating as I reach the top and stop to drink a lot of water and dry my forehead. The heat is intense, I am trying to decide if I should have a short hike or go around the Mountain. I decide to take the long way home, and Nature rewards me for staying longer in her home. As I begin my hike on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I spot a little Chipmunk about to hop into it’s burrow. Then a black Cricket lands on the rock next to me. Special Thanks to Arky Mark for identifying this beauty!
Further along a flash of green flies across the trail and lands in a Tree just ahead of me. As the sun flickers through the leaves I get a better look at this beautiful bird, it is a gorgeous female Summer Tanager. She hops from branch to branch and I am able to see her clearly. I am spellbound by her antics as I am sure she can see me. When I near the trail head I can hear a warbler and look up to see high in a Tree and tiny Black and White Warbler. As the leaves came out it became more difficult to see the tiny warblers, this is a joyous moment.
I connect with the Upper Dogwood, then the Lower Dogwood and finally the Floral Trail to leave the Mountains. As I head home on Fountain Street a lovely Butterfly lands in front of me to say goodbye for the park. It has been a sweaty blessed day in the Park :o)
Live, Love and Play in Nature is will heal your heart.