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It is a brilliant clear autumn morning as I head up Hot Springs Mountain. Although many of the Trees have lost their foliage a few spectacular red leaves are hanging on. As I stop to enjoy the view of West Mountain there is a noise in the dried leaves below me. I turn to see a tiny White Throated Sparrow foraging for it’s breakfast. The first I have seen since early last spring.
The sun rises slowly as I head up the Dead Chief Trail on my hike up the Mountain. Glorious yellow leaves twinkle like golden drops of sunlight as a strong cold breeze pushes against my body. Hidden in the golden canopy above me is a lone Male Cardinal singing to the morning light. Further up the trail I am delighted to see two beautiful Yellow False Foxglove Wildflowers blooming on the side of the Trail.
As I am staring up at the beautiful foliage I catch a fluttering out of the corner of my eye. On a log to my side a tiny Carolina Wren is watch me as I am gazing up into the Forest canopy. Autumn Leaves float down on me as I hike up the Short Cut Trail. The colorful confetti looks spectacular raining down across the brilliant blue sky. I stop to enjoy the display, my face tipped up warmed by the sun as I am decorated in leaves of red, orange and yellow. I have a wonderful child like feeling with each step of my hike as I shuffle, kick and crunch on the leaf covered trail. I wish there was someone with which to have a leaf pile fight.
Continuing along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I see many of the Trees are already wearing their bare winter shapes. In the distance a small Tree stands alone red leaves vibrantly on display. Small and sassy it makes me smile as I photograph the beauty of it’s leaves.
As I near the rest hut on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail a chorus of bird song fills the air. High in the Trees a mixed flock of tiny birds are moving through the Forest. They are darting about so quickly and I am unsure which direction to look. I am barely able to spot an Orange-Crowned Warbler and a Tufted Titmouse as they land and fly off in what seems the blink of an eye.
A familiar loud voice echos above me and I scan the Tree tops for a favorite sight. Usually big bold and easy to locate, I am happy when I finally see an unexpectedly small juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Joy fills my hearts as they are my faithful winter friends often traveling with me as I hike through the Forest even on the coldest days.
It was a wonderful hike through the autumn Forest, thank you for visiting with me.
Love to ALL!