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When I head out the door for my hike a large X appears in the sky above Hot Springs Mountain as the sun crests the Trees. I figured it was a sign that I should hike up to the top of of HSM this morning. I giggle thinking about it being like the “Bat Signal”. I look down to see a sweet male House Sparrow watching me take my photographs. It is always wonderful to see friends.
In the half light of morning I spot a Chipmunk climbing on the Tufa Rock as I climb up into the park. The cooler weather is likely making their world a more comfortable place. I have missed seeing the Chipmunks of Hot Springs National Park. Even the mushrooms are multiplying in celebration of the change in climate.
I reach the Carriage Road and am greeted by a glorious Moonrise against a perfect “Arkansas Blue” Sky. A Juvenile Blue Jay is perched high above me singing to the first light of morning. I lovingly call the Blue Jays “The Brats” as often they follow me through the park giving up my location to the other creatures in the Forest. This makes taking photographs of the wildlife difficult. Other days they follow silently, they are not sure if I can be trusted.
The Dead Chief Trail is glowing with the morning sun against the Autumn leaves. Fungus is forming on an old rotting stump at the top of the main incline. My hike up the Short Cut Trail is bathed in the golden light filtering through the changing leaves. It feels as if the sun is kissing the Forest.
All along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail Nature has taken out her paint brush to transform the Trees. There is a glorious array of colors and I adore the childhood feeling of shuffling and crunching the leaves that are sprinkled all along the path. You cannot feel old in an Autumn Forest.
When I reach the Floral Trail I can see another wonderful Downy Woodpecker. This little beauty is busy pecking and I Love it when it rests it’s head on the branch to listen. My heart feels lighter as I watch his work. I head down Fountain Street and see a splash of red all along the sidewalk. These are the seeds of the Magnolia bursting from the many pods that have been falling the past month. The red seeds have a fragrant fruity aroma a perfect memory for the end of my hike.
Play Outdoors today!