December 13, 2018

Melton Lake Greenway and Emory Valley Greenway

  • 9.62 miles
  • 2:56 duration
  • 720 foot elevation gain
  • 25 geocaches found

I had begun logging the caches in the Tennessee Star on October 15 when I spent a day geocaching in the Oak Ridge, TN area with my California friend Trixxster (Trixxie). We were able to log a little more than half of the caches in the star geoart that day, some by car and some on foot.

Since I had a meeting in Alcoa on this morning, I decided to bring my bicycle with me and tackle the rest of the hides and complete the geoart. I ate lunch in the truck on the way to Oak Ridge, and then hopped on the BAT-bike to begin my journey.

I began on the Melton Lake Greenway Trail at the same spot we started our walk on the previous trip, but working in the opposite direction. The weather was mostly sunny and 55°. I stopped to log the first few geocaches, but then decided to skip a few during a downhill section. I theorized that I would want to stop the uphill climb coming back to rest, and stopping to find caches would give me a breather. Besides, I wanted to catch up to and take a photo of a barge that was making its way along the lake.

Barge on Melton Lake

When I reached the intersection of the Melton Lake and Emory Valley Greenway Trails, I knew that I would need to take the EVGT to find the rest of the caches in the geoart. However, there was a specific cache further up the Melton Lake trail that I wanted to find first, so I rode an extra mile up the trail to it.

Last February I had made a trip to this area with Porknbeans (Jane) and her geopup Mags. We had come in search of several challenge caches that you must meet certain requirements before logging. For example, one required that finders had previously found a geocache more than 3,000 miles from home. During that trip, Jane logged a cache that required that you have logged caches on every day of the calendar year. At the time, I did not qualify for that cache because I lacked two days in July. Since I had filled in those two days since then, I know qualified for the cache. Jane had signed my name on the log sheet last February, but I wanted to make it official, stamping it with my name on the log.

My name on the log from last year

I then rode back down the trail and crossed the street to access the Emory Valley trail. I stopped near the beginning of the trail to scout a cache that I knew I would not be able to log on this trip. To access the log sheet for this cache, you must use a bicycle pump to bring the pressure to a certain level so that it will shoot the cache container out into the air. It is positioned so that it will land in the lake, so you must also have a boat or be prepared to swim to retrieve it. I had my bike pump in the truck, but would not have had the means to retrieve it from the lake, so this was simply a recon mission. I learned that even if I had everything I needed, the cache was in such disrepair that I wouldn’t have been able to log it. I hope that it will be repaired soon.

Awesome, but non-working, gadget cache.

I then rode to the far end of the Emory Valley trail, and began making my way back, logging caches on my return trip. Some were found easily, while others took a great deal of searching. I had to replace a few soggy log sheets along the way.

One section of the trail ran between a stream and a street named Cascade Lane. I never saw a cascade in the creek, but I did see a blue heron at one of my stops. This was also a popular trail for dogs and their people to walk.

Blue Heron in the creek.

Once back on the Melton Lake Trail, I finally came to the uphill section I had been dreading. I ended up having to walk my bike up part of it, as I didn’t have the leg strength and balance to pedal to the top.

I arrived back at my truck in just under three hours, loaded up the bike, and then drove to a park to find two more of the caches in the series. Once I had done that, I had found all of the still existing caches except one that we had not been able to find on our previous trip. It had not been found since we had DNF’d it, so I did not attempt it again. I hope to return one day to find it and several other caches in the area, including the gadget cache that I had scouted out.

Nearly completed star geoart

As I headed toward home, dusk began to descend. It was another great day of geocaching.

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