Day after Christmas is always perfect for hiking off the excesses of the holidays. The cold blowing wind means I have the park trails to myself, which is rare on a Sunday morning. I am mindful that hiking in the winter months means layer up, hydrate and use sunscreen, the cold can drain your body quickly. Special thanks to my friends at Ouachita Outfitters in Hot Springs for helping me prepare for winter hiking. They are locally owned with a large variety of the best brands for all your outdoor needs. No they did not pay me or give me free gear to say this… great products, advice and service ALWAYS deserves recognition.
Those of you who regularly read my blog know of the ongoing saga of “The Brats” aka the juvenile Blue Jays. Today one of them was trying to ride out the cold winds in the bramble. So cold the sweet thing did not fly away or chide me for being on it’s favorite trail. They were hunkered down against the wind and this was the first time I had seen one of them subdued. It felt as if I had an unfair advantage in our ongoing dance in the Forest. Please note that the photos on display of this juvenile Blue Jay accurately show the obstacles of branches, vines and bushes I face to take many of my photographs. There are few areas in the park that the birds Love to hang out that don’t have a weave of growing and changing photographic challenges.
I Love observing the topsy turvy antics of a female Cardinal foraging for breakfast. Even though she was clearly aware of my presence she continued to feed. Looking at me from her vulnerable upside down feeding position I was careful not to make any movements that might be perceived as threatening. When I reached the the top of Hot Springs Mountain a Northern Mockingbird followed me across the picnic area. The wind was fiercely buffeting and ruffling its downy feathers, yet it still could not contain its curiosity.
Today the cold wind was mostly a blessing, it slowed down the movement of the birds… however we all had the that pinched cold expression in our eyes. I admire the bravery of the birds that stay with us for the winter. I respect the strength of their ability to survive the harsh winter months.
Love to ALL,