View from the Keystone Trail of Reelfoot Lake.

View from the Keystone Trail of Reelfoot Lake.

Just because I like the name; for some reason it reminds me of horror stories I read as a youth. And, this is the first of the four parks I’ve hiked so far where I have yet to meet a soul while hiking. And I hiked three trails today!

And one of the trails was so creepy that I picked up a sharpened bamboo stick I found along the way and carried it until I was done (which was good because I ended up using it to scrape the mud off my boots!) No pictures on that trail–too bleak–lots of fox and coyote tracks on that trail along with their hair/feather-filled scat (no, not dog, as mine were the only human prints) and lots of deer/raccoon/’possum tracks, as well.

And so many birds today from eagles and hawks, ducks, herons and geese, to dove and woodpeckers. Definitely a birder’s paradise (I even saw an eagle catch a fish). But, the only mammal I saw, other than the ubiquitous squirrels, were a few groundhogs.

Now, at the Visitors Center, I saw a lot of snakes in cages, including a pretty impressive timber rattle snake, but had a moment with a pretty little round-eyed owl who “talked” to me while staring into my eyes, head tilted to one side. Owls have mesmerizing golden eyes. I also met a kite named Shadow, who also made noises at me. Cool birds.

So, Reelfoot Lake–in the northwestern corner of Tennessee and bounded by Missouri and Kentucky–was formed by an earthquake in 1811 that changed the course of the Mississippi and the terrain thereabouts to what it is today. Beautiful, but still winter bleak at this point, place.

Oh, and I saw turtles, too . . .

Turtles sunning themselves at Grassy Island.

Turtles sunning themselves at Grassy Island.

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