The Bike Ride

There is a trail in Athens Alabama. One that we decide to ride our bikes on. I haven’t ridden my bike since last summer. Actually I don’t own a bike, I just ride one of the boys. This trail isn’t just any other trail, it once was a train track and the city of Athens turned a 10 mile portion into a trail for hikers, bikers and horse back riders. It runs from Athens, Alabama thru a little town of Elkmont to the Tennessee Border. They call this idea Rails to Trails. It’s a clever idea!

My friend Philippa picked me up early one Thursday a few weeks back and we loaded the bikes in the back of her mini van and we made the hour plus drive to Athens. We started out with plenty of water, bug spray and a sack lunch.  I loaded up my new camera too. We had until 4:30. How far would we go? Our plan was to go as far as we could and still have time (and energy) to make it back to the van. We had our gps units too because we had some geocaches to find. You didn’t think we were just riding our bikes for exercise?

In case you don’t know what that is…Geocaching is a outdoor activity where you use a GPS unit to find geocaches that have been hidden by others playing the game. Geocaches are containers that typically hold a pen and a log book for you to sign and date. But they can be all sizes from a large Tupperware container to a tiny cell battery size. Then you log in your experience on the computer to share with others. Geocaches are hidden all over the world to places you go to everyday or in neat places you never would have known about otherwise. It’s great for anyone that loves to; explore or hike, be in nature, loves history, or is geeky or adventurous, or just curious. It’s a very family friendly activity.  In fact that is how I met Philippa, we were both looking for a cache one evening trying to be the first to find it and we’ve been friends now for many years. There are 4 of us girls that geocache together. I will post some of our adventures together. We do fun things like this trail!

At the start of the trail we saw a few walkers and a few other riders but then we had the whole trail to ourselves. We stopped and took pictures and had water breaks. We found geocaches hidden along the trail. On the trail we rode pass loads of honeysuckle in bloom and the smell was just summer! We rode over the civil war site of the Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle. The trestle has been replaced but the historical society has a display here explaining about the battle. It was hard to imagine what it was like back then. There was a nice breeze and a canopy of trees covered the 2 lane trail. We rode 5.5 miles to Elkmont and had a picnic by a red caboose.  

After talking to a rider we met on the path, just coming back from the barber, he said the rest of the trail  was a little more difficult, so we decided we’d finish it another day. We rode 5.5 back to the van, making our whole trip 11 miles. Our back ends were so happy to be off those bikes and we slung them in the back of the van (the bikes) and headed straight for Sonic!

We came back a few weeks later bringing Brenda, another geocaching friend with us, packed with bikes, drinks and lunches and started in Elkmont and headed north. Another beautiful spring day and a cool front had just slipped in the night before making the temps stay in the low 70’s. It was another delightful start until we looked for the first cache, unfortunately I fell, NOT off the bike which was a good thing but I slid down trying to get up a hill and scraped up my leg and knee. But I soon forgot about it, when looking for the next cache I stepped in an ant bed. Yes, it seemed it was going to be one of those days.

Philippa and Brenda

This is where the ants got me.

Luckily the day did improve and we ended our ride with another picnic by the caboose. This is one of the reasons I love geocaching. I like to ride bikes, but I’m not a bike rider, and wouldn’t have known about this place otherwise.  What better way to spend the day then being outside on a beautiful day, taking pictures, learning about history and enjoying the blessings of friendship and getting some exercise!

We were just tired & needed a rest break!

Rails to Trails are Worldwide! Go here for more info for the Athens Rails to Trails.  Rails to Trails in the US visit this site. For International go here. Who knew they were everywhere!!

Hope you enjoyed my bike riding adventure and introduction to geocaching.