Field Notes: The heat and humidity has returned with a vengeance to Hot Springs National Park. This morning it is 80 degrees with 80% humidity and a heat index of 85 as I head into the Forest. The hazy veil of humidity has returned and I am sweating after only a few paces out my door. Many people I pass as I head up the mountain are carrying rolled towels in an effort and keep their face and neck dry.
Vibrant blue and yellow wildflowers dominate the drying green Forest. Patches of blue Asiatic Dayflowers are popping up all throughout the park. Usually I have found them in small numbers around the few open steam vents on Hot Springs Mountain. The extreme heat and humidity has provided them the perfect climate to spread out across the park. I have photographed them on the Carriage and Hot Springs Mountain Roads plus the Tufa, Peak,Floral and Hot Springs Mountain Trails. For those of you who find yourself having allergies in the summer the culprit might be the lovely daisy shaped yellow aptly named Sneezeweed. The extreme temperatures have also given them a perfect growing environment and they are more abundant on the west side of Hot Springs Mountain.
Although I have not seen most of the multi-generational families of birds that once inhabited the slopes of Hot Springs Mountain, today was filled with some old winged friends. As I enter the park a tiny House Sparrow is peering at me from it’s perch on a branch at the bottom of a flowering bush. When I reach the Peak Trail I hear the familiar sound of whistling flapping wings. Only one bird take off could make this sound, in the Tree above a Mourning Dove is giving me a shy glance. When I reach the Hot Springs Mountain Road two molting Crows are perched on branches to my left. The new fuzzy head feather make their beaks appear larger. My old dancing partner looks at me in a moment of curiosity and recognition. The park Crows often travel in large family groups and I wonder how many of them survived the storm last week.
Much Love to All!
Thank you for visiting my blog,
PS: The heat today is amplified the aroma of my natural lemon eucalyptus bug repellant by Repel. I can confirm it has worked for me even in the densest parts of the Forest for more than four hours (I have yet to push it to the full six hours). It has been a relief this summer not to be covered in DEET when I hike. (this is an unpaid endorsement)