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Hobo finds art in the park

By Howard Baker, RN BSN

Contributing Writer

While hiking, Hobo the Wonder Dog had an odd feeling of being watched. Along our travels we found some interesting art along the trail. We all have read or seen news coverage of elephants and apes who paint. I have also heard of birds who make art. I believe the sounds of nature and the landscapes of our country are all forms of art. Walking in the mountains is just as rewarding as walking through a fine art gallery. The sounds of a babbling stream along a mountain trail. Birds singing a cheerful call — a waterfall in the distance completes the ensemble with a stillness that moves you.

Nature is a never-ending picture show — even without sight these moments in nature are beautiful. Even if you do not believe animals can purposely create art — or even by accident; it is easy to see how animals complete the beauty around us. The Knoxville Zoo has also had its animal artists participate during their “Art Gone Wild” events. I for one believe animals are more creative than most give credit.

Hobo the Wonder Dog and I came upon a totem pole of sorts possibly crafted by a woodpecker. We might have missed this rustic work of art had we not been listening to the rapping — tapping — and tattooing of a woodpecker in the distance. The rainy weather caused the streams to sing louder as frogs and toads begin their calls in the stiller waters.

The feeling we were being watched became stronger as we started down a trail less traveled. At first glance I thought “no” that isn’t a tree looking back at me — then yes it was—with two well defined eyes, complete with nose and mouth. Too high for man to reach and too unstable to climb. Who crafted these eyes looking at me — a woodpecker by chance?

Hobo the Wonder Dog and I came across this work of art somewhere along the Wilderness Road Trail in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. We promote good dog etiquette when in the park and support the Seven Principles of “Leave No Trace.” Hobo and I want to be able to hike the trails of our parks together and we want you to be able to do the same. Hiking with your dog is not a right—it is a privilege. Please keep Fido on a leash no more than six feet in length. Dispose of your dog’s waste by burying at least six feet off the trail — and again “Leave No Trace”.

Respect our Parks and all the many forms of life you will encounter along the way. Take only pictures and leave only your footprints along the forest trails so, we can all enjoy the many wonders and works of art nature creates.

Life is better with a dog — woof!

Hobo the Wonder Dog, Your guide to travel, health and fun. Please follow Hobo on Facebook at Hobo the Wonder Dog or contact us at: howard@howardsbaker.com.