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March 21-22: Mountainar, AR to Millington, TN

One regret I have related to this blog is that I did not share what birds we heard each day. With the Merlin app, you can record bird calls and the app will tell you what birds you are hearing. For instance, during a one-minute recording this morning at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, we heard: tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, golden-crowned kinglet, Carolina chickadee, black-capped chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker, Louisiana waterthrush, ruby-crowned kinglet, northern cardinal and pileated woodpecker. Wowza! What a great place for birding. Hopefully you can hear the recording here.

Vast expanses of Virginia bluebells stretched across river bottomland.


We once again lucked out with this visit. I only booked a night at Meeman-Shelby Forest based on location and availability of 50-amp hookups for charging the car. Turns out "Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is a 12,539-acre hardwood bottomland area bordering the mighty Mississippi River 13 miles north of Memphis featuring mature Bald Cypress and Tupelo swamp. Most of the facilities are on top of the majestic Chickasaw Bluffs that rise from the bottomlands and are covered with large oaks, American beech, hickory and sweet gum. There are 10 state Champion Trees and two National Champion Trees as well as endangered and protected plants." according to the park's website. Anyone who knows Glen and me know this type of place is perfect for us!

The moss-covered tree trunks were so striking.

It was hard to know where to look, surrounded as we were by so much grandeur and beauty.

We didn't spend much time trying to figure out what trees were what - instead we just enjoyed the beauty.


We were thrilled to see all the gorgeous trees, many towering 150 feet high or more. In spite of a rainy visit, we fit in a hike last night and a morning-full of hiking today. Spring is about one or two weeks ahead of the last place we stayed, so we saw lots of spring ephemerals, including more trillium and mayapple than I've seen in my entire life.

Sweet little oxalis grew amidst mosses, along with Virginiia bluebells.

The large-flowered bellwort were also quite plentiful in the woods.

The mayapples numbered in the thousands (millions??).


The facilities were a bit rustic here, but we would come back just for the excellent hiking and tree-peeping. The campsite was average and we ended up pitching the tent on the blacktop parking pad, due to the rain and sogginess of the surrounding ground. Glen used his rock hammer to dig a little ditch along the side of the parking pad to make sure the pooling water wouldn't overtop the pad and flood our tent. All went well and we packed up an only slight dampish tent this morning.

Rusty-colored fungi stood out here and there along the Chickasaw Bluff Trail.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) tree saplings in flower proliferated across the forest floor.

Our campsite before the rains picked up was only slightly soggy.


As I write this, we continue traveling east, looking forward to seeing Terry tomorrow at Crockford-Pigeon Mountain in Georgia.

Life is good.

6 Comments


mary.westervelt
mary.westervelt
Mar 23, 2023

Interesting that, while photos of the SW featured the long view of rock and sky, the eastern ones feature close-ups of emerging spring. I miss the NM views. Look forward to New England spring!

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Mary
Mary
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

Yes, there are not many long views in the bottomland forests where we were.

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What glorious photos of emerging spring! The mayapple forest is magical...so many little green umbrellas. I guess this is another 'visit again!' stop for your next trip.

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Mary
Mary
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

I think you are right, Anne. 😊

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jeffayers57
jeffayers57
Mar 22, 2023

Didn’t your friend Terry used to be in AZ ? Nice to see the forest flora come to life hasn’t happened here yet except for the crocuses ,listened to the bird calls it must be nice to have a app that can identify the bird species just by recording them ! You guys are certainly a student of nature,!

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Mary
Mary
Mar 22, 2023
Replying to

Yes, that's right - the same Terry.


The Merlin app is super easy to use - and it's free.

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