Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mousetail Landing State Park II

Lady Finger Bluff Trail 2.7 miles                                  Outcasts Total Miles: 1352.89
Mousetail Overnight Trail 8.0 miles
Mousetail Day Loop 3.0 miles
Total Miles: 13.7 miles

Troy was out with tooth surgery.  Marco and I headed out through the rain.  We had issues with ducks and frogs, but made it through the storm with the Outcast Mobile speeding West.

By the time we got to our first hiking trail the weather had cleared.  From Interstate 40 you can follow signs all the way to Lady Finger Bluff except for the last two turns.  When the road turns to dirt, your next two turns are to the left and the trail is on the right.

Gnarled old cedars, limestone outcrops, fresh water springs and spectacular views of the Tennessee River make up the views of Lady's Bluff, a TVA Small Wild Area.  They have markers on the different trees that have the names of the trees on them.  We had to laugh at the one with the stump next to it.  I guess they need to either find another tree or plant one next to the sign. 

The Tennessee River below Lady's Bluff was once known as the "narrows." As you can watch one barge stop downstream while another passes through the strait, it should be easy to see how this portion of the river got its name. Two barges cannot pass through here as they can in other stretches of the river.

There is supposed to be a loop at the end of the trail, but after the bluff it just kinda fades out.  So we turned around and headed back.  There is a tree up there with two plaques on it from people that have climbed the bluff.

The next hike was to be at Mousetail Landing State Park.  We tried to take the short cut down McKnight road, but the slab was too deep for even the Outcast Mobile to cross.  We had to go back to 438 to get to the park.  There are no signs for Mousetail from Interstate 40 to the park.  Google shows it in Linden when it  is actually on the Tennessee River.

We packed up and headed out on the eight mile overnight trail.  We kicked up some deer and one other hiker with his dog.  We had stopped for a snake when he walked up to us.  We visited with him a while exchanging stories before heading to our shelter #2 for the night.  The last time I was here we got to see nothing but fog.  This time there is a great view of the river from the shelter .  We collected firewood and then got food going.  It was going to get down right cold tonight so we got lots of wood.

Later that night we got to hear owls and coyotes carrying on.  We saw a Coast Guard ship and barges going down the river.  Even got to listen to a couple through the night.

The next morning we got up to fog.  It was burning off as the sun came up and we got on the trail.  We completed the loop going past shelter #1 and headed back to the car.  On the way we passed our second hiker and visited with him.  He was prepping to hike the Appalachian Trail next year.  We were swapping stories with him when a Bald Eagle flew by.  Now that is exciting!

After we got to the car we headed out on the Day Loop trail behind the office.  It goes up and follows two ridges with access to the campground and picnic pavilion area.  We kicked some deer here as well.

Back to the car and off to Waffle House!  We will rate all these trails as moderate because of the ups and downs.