Sunday, March 29, 2020

Another Power Tool Weekend

The Covid-19 pandemic gets serious in Hubbard Park.

Visit # 1239, Saturday 28 March 20, 7:00-10:30AM, 5.9 miles, 9.9lbs. of litter.
Temps in the low 40's, clouding up in anticipation of afternoon rain.

I received a call last week from a regular hiker who enjoys Hubbard Park telling me of a fallen tree across a trail near Castle Craig. After hearing his description of the tree's location, I remembered it as something I had long since found and forgotten. Time to take action.

I started early in part so as not to disturb the larger numbers of people who hike during the middle of the day. Those numbers have increased significantly with the cabin fever being felt by people who are practicing "safe distancing"  due to the Covid-19 virus. I also was aware of rain forecast for the afternoon and for Sunday, and wanted to avoid it.

Hiking behind the water tank, I found two saplings that suffered from unusual, uncalled for damage.

Peculiar, and unnecessary. I cut both of them at the base.

I reached the Blue Trail and hiked my way to the tree which was reported to me.

You can see the Castle Craig parking lot in the background, for reference.

It was a quick, easy job.

Packing up, I followed the Blue Trail along the ridge line of Merimere Reservoir.

I found this painted rock along the trail. This isn't the first time I've come across such rocks.

I turned it over expecting to see more than green paint. I was right. It was hard to decipher.

Further on, I found Season of the Missing Glove 2019/20 #16.

Chugging further along, I found more use for my chainsaw.

The trail descends moderately, reaching the north end of Merimere Reservoir. I picked up the road and walked back toward the park.

Enroute, I found my second winter hat within 3 weeks. When Goodwill reopens after the state government eases pandemic restrictions, I'll donate both hats.

Here's a sample of the increased number of people walking in Hubbard Park as a result of Covid-19
and the social distancing being requested of the public. There were many such clusters of people on the road.

I dropped off my trash for the week, at a deserted playscape.

If you're practicing social distancing and need a short term cure for your cabin fever, I can't think of a better prescription than a hike up to Castle Craig.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Stir Crazy Weekend

A cheerful sight, needed during these difficult times of the pandemic.

Visit #1238, Sunday 22 March 20, 7:40-10:15AM, 5.0 miles, 8.6lbs., of litter.
Temps in the high 20's, sunny skies, with a biting wind from the north.

That daffodil above is one of the first to pop. Virus or no virus, the daffodils will bloom.

One thing I noticed in the midst of the virus-MANY more people are out on the trails and the road in Hubbard Park. Obviously, all the government recommendations to practice social distancing is making people stir-crazy, and I'm surprised this has prompted people to do something they normally wouldn't do-take a hike. This was confirmed by a phone call I received from someone up at Castle Craig the previous day.

They said the number of people they were seeing was easily 3X the number they would see on any other weekend, which was surprising since the road was closed to vehicles.

I wasn't looking for people Sunday morning, but I did spot this early morning mountain biker on the trail.

I was in search of graffiti I tried removing a couple weeks ago.

Enroute, I found some gold. Or at least it seems to have the VALUE of gold now.

I reached the beehive fountain, where my sandpaper did a pretty good job then, but I wanted more.

I brought a couple solvents to see which worked better.

I applied with a scrub brush but frankly, I didn't see much improvement with either. We'll have to call sandpaper the winner here, and the results aren't that bad.

Up the trail I went, then walked the road down toward Merimere Reservoir and my next test.

Last time I had a hard time reaching the graffiti, so today I built and used my latest invention, The Big Q-Tip.

The Big Q-Tip and lacquer thinner were the winner here.

I forgot to take an After photo, but trust this graffiti is gone, without removing the yellow sign paint.

On the back side of the sign I had some difficulty. I think the Big Q-Tip was absorbing all the solvent.

I wanted to reach that with some sandpaper, so I put on my thinking cap and dug into my bag o' tricks.

Now this shortypants was rocking! Sandpaper put the icing on the cake.

Heading back to the park, I ran into all those stir crazy people, but it certainly was eerie seeing the playscape completely empty.

Next week: a Power Tools Weekend®.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Nothing Stops The Daffodils

Even the Coronavirus pandemic can't stop the daffodils, but it can stop the Daffodil Festival, a 42 year tradition in Meriden.

Visit #1237, Sunday 15 March 20, 9:20-11:30AM, 4.1 miles, 11.2 lbs. of litter.

It didn't stop me from venturing out to Hubbard Park this weekend, nor did it stop many others hiking and walking their dogs in the park.

After painting over some graffiti last week on the I-691 walkbridge, I was curious to see if anyone managed to step in the paint before it dried, so I made tracks of my own from the park to the walkbridge.


Good thing I headed in this direction; I found some new graffiti on the end of the bridge which needed attention.

A little sandpaper and I removed it in a minute.

Now I know what you're askin': What's a "Hollaback Girl"? I had to look it up myself.

And then, I had to watch the Gwen Stefani video to see what all the fuss was about. This is the "clean" version. For the explicit lyrics version, go HERE.

I hiked over to the end of the trail across from Belmont Avenue, then turned around and returned to the park via the trails, picking up litter along the way.

I cleaned up the parking area in the northwest corner of Mirror Lake, and around the Soap Box Derby track and the retention ponds.

Reaching the gate, I came upon my Find of the Week, which I'll wash and deliver to Goodwill.

Since I was on-call this week I wasn't straying far from my van. I returned to the park with time on my hands so I took this opportunity to clean up the park proper, covering Mirror Lake, behind the bandshell, and along the brook running from the old petting zoo down to West Main Street.

I finished by cleaning the outside perimeter of the playscape.

As far as I know, you can't catch Covid-19 from daffodils so like many people did today, visit Hubbard Park before you go stir crazy from quarantine, self-imposed or otherwise.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Painting and Unpainting Weekend

Merimere Reservoir on a quiet Sunday morning.

Visit #1236, Sunday 8 March 20, 6:35-9:10AM, 4.3 miles, 7.4lbs. of litter.
Temps in the low 30's, overcast.

Today I set out to cover over graffiti I'd spotted while in Hubbard Park last week.

But, due to the location of the first piece of graffiti, I had to start VERY early in the hope the paint would dry before it was trod upon by hikers.

So I set out from the parking lot in darkness, heading to the I-691 walkbridge.

Looks like it was supposed to represent Earth, maybe?

I brought paint and a brush, and from set up to pack up, it took less than 10 minutes. I'll be curious to see during a future trip if anyone stepped on the wet paint.

I hiked further up the trail to the "Virgin Mary" shrine, where letters were recently added.

I first tried removing them with acetone and a brush, which worked on magic marker when I tested it at home, but didn't touch whatever this was. I then "broke" out a can of flat brown spray paint. I say "broke" because when I couldn't remove the cap with my good looks and charm, I used brute force and broke the spray can nozzle. Which I suppose is a blessing in disguise because it would alter the natural stone appearance.

Next I tried sandpaper, which performed admirably and followed up with Goof Off and a brush, although I'm not quite satisfied. I will return with a stronger solvent and try to finish the job.

I hiked up to the road near East Peak and walked down the road, collecting any litter I found.

Near the bottom of the road I reached the last of the recently discovered graffiti.

That "A C A B" is the same as that found at the Virgin Mary shrine. Acetone didn't work on either side of the sign. I shall return to take care of this graffiti as well.

With the last of the painting/unpainting chores done, I followed the road around Merimere Reservoir back to the park.

Enroute, I discovered the Meriden Water Department has been doing some work along the Maloney Canal. Reaching this spot must have presented a challenge because the equipment had to climb over the cable guardrail and cross the canal safely.

Closer to the park, I came upon my Find of the Week.

I suppose it's about time I found a bra; Lord knows I've picked up enough men's underwear to cover a Chippendale's review.

And even closer to the park, I found this list of prescriptions. I redacted the person's name.

Below are links to descriptions of the drugs should you be interested in what they treat.







Prohair HfA


I dropped off my bag of trash for the week and removed my painter's duds.

One last paint-related tidbit: You may remember last week I temporarily lost my hedge clippers and had to retrace my steps on the trail to find them. I feared that because of their natural wood color, that they would be hard to find.

Well, for that final painting tidbit, I hopefully put an end to losing my hedge clippers.

Easy-to-lose hedge clippers:

Impossible-to-lose hedge clippers (sunglasses recommended):

With Daylight Savings Time in effect, there's more time to enjoy the trails in Hubbard Park. Take advantage of it!