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View Full Version : Mousetail Landing State Park; Dec 30-31, 08



Bearpaw
2008-12-31, 17:00
Most Tennesseans think of west Tennessee as flat and hot and simply an extension of the Gulf Coastal Plain. But just east of the western arc of the Tennessee River, the West Highland Rim provide a line of hills that gives way to short climbs with occasional striking views. This is the case at Mousetail Landing State Park, near Linden, Tennessee.

The area may not be a Mecca for backpackers, but its 8-mile Eagle Point Loop Trail, in conjunction with several miles of mountain bike trails, provides more short climbs than one would expect of the region. Its two shelters are interesting and convenient, but the real treasure of this area is the view over the Tennessee River at Shelter #2.

I stepped off at 11 AM at the trailhead of the lollipop shaped loop.
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The first two miles are the stem of the lollipop and require a backtrack when coming out. The trail is easy to follow with decent tread and a mix of bright and fading blue blazes.
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My pack was heavier than usual as the literature I'd seen recommended carrying your own water in. There was a stream along this area, so I could have gotten some along the way, at least within a mile of the shelter/campsite. But with only a 3-mile walk to the shelter, the 12 pounds of water was no big deal.

Near the beginning of the actual 4-mile loop, the trail eases past the back side of Parrish Cemetary.
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Once on the actual loop trail, it was another mile before I reached Shelter #2.
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The view was very nice, both of the river itself and the migratory bird refuge on the other side.
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I strung my hammock and tarp and settled in for lunch.
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From here, I transferred gear to my flash pack and stepped off on the remaining miles of the loop. Blazing was a bit rougher in the areas north of the shelters, but it was still easy-going trail, skirting the river in some areas then heading up hills to Shelter #1.

Shelter #1 was similar to #2, but the full front was screen allowing more wind. It was also noticeably absent any views like #2. As I continued on, I ducked off the hiking trail and traced the mountain biking trails back to #2, so as not to retrace too much of my previous walking.

Once I returned to the shelter, I walked down to the river, to see if it could be a viable water source. It was a bit steep, but reasonable to reach. In a pinch, if I could overlook the pollution inherent to most large rivers, it might serve. It would definitely make for a nice swimming hole in warm weather.

On the way back, I also discovered a geocache. My hiking buddy Dewey Bear decided to try it on for size.
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Back at the camp site, I enjoyed the amenities as I set up for dinner.
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The 60-degree sunny warmth faded quickly as the sun dropped, but dinner with a sunset view was hard to beat.
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As evening swallowed up the light, I sat in the shelter, protected from the growing wind. Eventually, I headed to my hammock for the night.

In the morning, the 50 degree weather when I turned in had given way to 31 degrees. I pulled down my hammock and tarp and headed into the shelter, again enjoying the windbreak.

I ate a quick breakfast and packed and was on the trail again by 7:30. On the way out, I took a section of bike trail that passed by the front side of Parrish Cemetary. This offered me opportunities for more open meadows that took on the feel of country roads versus a walk in the woods.
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Eventually, the bike paths joined into the main paved access road in the park, passing by the car campgrounds. Nobody was stirring as I walked on by. I returned to my car by 8:30 and headed for home.

Just Jeff
2008-12-31, 18:20
Interesting read, Bearpaw - I like your trip reports.