Blue skies smiling at me

Great Egret over Honker Dam

Last Sunday afternoon was one of several near-perfect hiking days this spring. Not only does it finally feel as if spring has arrived, but also as if summer is breathing down its collar. 

The Honker Lake Trail, a part of the Nature Station Trails at Land Between the Lakes, is one of our favorite spots. It is listed as 4.6 miles, but we usually wind up stitching together somewhere between six and seven miles of great day hiking with decent elevation changes and beautiful vistas.

Last weekend, the trail was a bit wet in places, but if you haven't picked your way through a soupy spot or trudged on through some mud or pulled off your KEENS and socks and waded in water, is it really an adventure? So, yes, all of the above happened and made for a great day.

For the past several years, until this winter, I had hiked with my iPhone as my only camera. I was lucky enough to capture some images I really enjoy, but after Santa brought me some new gear last Christmas, I vowed to start carrying my DSLR. The shot below is very similar to a shot I took last year, but my phone camera did not offer the reach of my actual camera. A couple of these guys slipped off into the water before I could grab the shot, but I was tickled to snap the remaining crew.

The Turtles - Happy Together
On the other side of the bridge, grandma (or grandpa) was enjoying the sunshine with a side order of solitude.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen the next two images. I must preface them by saying that I am a hiker who loves birds, not a birder. I don't have the right lens, the patience, nor the knowledge base to be a good birder. I follow the Tennessee Birding group on Facebook and I enjoy it immensely. Those people are good and they inspire me to be better. 

The two pictures below are of the male Prothonotary Warbler, but probably not the same guy, although I guess they could be. One picture was made at the beginning of our hike, the other threeish hours later at the end of our hike. As the crow (or Prothonotary Warbler) flies, though, probably not that far apart. His song and his color make me smile.

I always consider it a bit of luck to see a butterfly, serendipitous if it actually lights long enough for me to get a picture. I have ID'ed this one as a male Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus). If you are an expert and disagree, please correct me.

Spicebush Swallowtail

About mid-trail, there is a long narrow concrete walkway that runs between Lake Barkley and Honker Bay. We have hiked this trail many times, but Sunday was the first time we had ever seen the walkway entirely under water. Was probably comical to the younger set watching both us and the couple crossing after us remain upright on that narrow, algae slick path. Hey, we made it without getting us or any of our gear wet. 

As evidenced by the top shot of the Great Egret and this last shot looking out over Honker Bay, there was not a cloud in the sky. 

Nothing but blue skies do I see.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time.

Mona B


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