As I head up into the park I realize I have not seen the Tufa Terrace Rabbits since August 18th. No Chipmunks on the Tufa, Lower Peak and Carriage Road either. As I reach the Carriage Road I can hear several squirrels making a screeching warning sound. Turning to my right I see movement in the brush, a cat appears and freezes when it sees me. I have seen it before on the Dead Chief Trail, curled up on the porch of the nurses apartments and photographed it on the Short Cut Trail. It needs to be moved away from the park environment to protect the smaller mammals and birds. Unlike a feral cat this one appears to live at nurses apartments on the hospital grounds next to the park. It is however a predator and I would like to find a way for them to keep it indoors. Suggestions for a note I could leave for the owner would be greatly appreciated.
At the foot of the Dead Chief Trail I stop for a moment to admire a beautiful patch of Asiatic Dayflowers. I always feel joy at the sight of these beautiful blue wildflowers. As I near the top of the Dead Chief Trail a sweet Chipmunk dashes across the trail and onto a rock before diving into a hole. I am always amazed at how fast they can move. A cool breeze travels down the Mountain as I head to the top on the Short Cut Trail. In the picnic area I spot two new receptacles for recycling cans and plastic, thank you NPS.
Along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail the beautiful breeze continues. My hike is peaceful and relaxing on this rare cool morning. I am surprised that I do not pass any other hikers on the trail it is the perfect morning to be here. I glance down and see a colorful leaf, it shows remnant drops of rain from the showers the day before.
At the trail head I decide to enjoy the breeze and head down the Gulpha Gorge Trail. Soon I connect with the Goat Rock Trail and take the winding journey up North Mountain. I Love the ever changing colorful lichen covered rocks, they are beautiful and decorate the trail edges along the lower parts of the trail. Near the top leaves have fallen from the heat and the colorful carpet combined with the lovely breeze makes it feel like the first day of Autumn.
Along the Upper Dogwood still alone I am content moving to the sound of rustling leaves and distant bird song. When I reach the Lower Dogwood Trail I head down to the Floral Trail to leave North Mountain. At the Fountain a gorgeous Red Spotted Purple Butterfly lands to feed in the pollen along the wall. As I head home via Fountain Street a sweet Squirrel peeks at me from the side of a Tree.
Open your eyes to Natures many secrets.