Hot Springs National Park: 2011/2012 no winter, 2012 early spring and and endless triple digit summer. December 12th 2012 spring Wildflowers appeared and December 17th 2012 spring Leaves were unfurling. Then global warming sent us a blast of winter on Christmas Day 2012. Ice coated the landscape followed by six inches of snow. Even though the power went out at 5:00 pm I began planning my next day hike in the snow and ice. (blessed we only had to go 48 hours with out heat)
All paths up Hot Springs Mountain from the Promenade, Carriage Road and Tufa Terrace Trail were closed due to Tree falls or breaks. In the end I head up the Hot Springs Mountain Road as the width made it passable on foot even with the fallen Trees. I think it may take a month or so to clear my fallen friends of the Forest… Due to downed and live wires I had to limit even that part of my journey.
The peak trail entrance above the stairs had vanished under the weight of the broken and collapsed Trees and Bushes. Trees looked like fingers folded in prayer under the weight of the snow and ice.
The Dead Chief Trail head was covered in bent bushes and fallen Trees. A lovely Mockingbird sang a soulful serenade as I surveyed the damage.As I enjoyed the view of the snow on West Mountain a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler sat on an ice covered branch buffeted by the cold wind. I was thankful to have 3 layers of North Face and Patagonia hiking gear.
Much Love to ALL!
PS Keep an eye out in the photographs in the gallery for the Abominable Tree Monster roaming on West Mountain…