Sunday, October 15, 2017

Community Clean-Up Day

Visit #1102, Saturday 14 October 17, 9:45AM-12:00PM, 4.8 miles.
Temps in the 60's, overcast skies.

Seeing that Meriden was hosting it's annual Mayor's Community Clean-Up Day, I decided to host my own little clean-up in Hubbard Park, sans the neon t-shirt.

Thanks to Paul Bernier who joined me today.

We left the parking lot and hiked to Merimere Reservoir. Further up the trail, Paul spotted this painted rock.

The blue looks similar to that found on another rock painting I found in August.

As Paul and I made our way up the Blue Trail, we switched modes from cleaning up litter to cleaning up the trail from a fallen hemlock.

Paul did most of the heavy lifting. I manned the camera and the loppers, for the smaller branches.

At the top of the trail we found another fallen branch.

Wash, rinse, and repeat. A passing hiker had the privilege of being the first person to enjoy the result of our labors.

Onward to West Peak. Last week I encountered some graffiti down near I-691 which made me suspect I'd find more of the same on West Peak, which is why I wanted to head there today. Fortunately, there was nothing new to be found.

Paul and I cleaned up the West Peak parking lot and surrounding area. We left one trash bag there for later pick up.

Paul was under some time constraints so he left me at this point. I carried on to West Peak where I stopped to view the fog drifting over the area.

Hiking down and over I-691 via the walkbridge, I encountered a large number of broken eggshells. I'm guessing it was the result of an egg fight.

At the other end of the walkbridge I found the smoking gun. Clearly these weren't ordinary delinquents just having an egg fight but well-educated delinquents; they were smart enough to use the eggs before their expiration date.

At the south end of the walkbridge I found yet more biblical graffiti.

Whether it's new or overlooked from a previous visit, I'm not sure. That piece of sandpaper was itching to get to work.

The sandpaper reminded me there was graffiti on the bollards a few feet away, graffiti which had been there for years.

Amazed at how fast it eradicated "Romans", I was positively giddy at how quickly it worked here. It even removed the rust!

I ended my Community Clean-Up Day activities at the parking lot, where I dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

A friendly reminder to get your Halloween candy NOW. I've got mine! Stop by my place on Halloween, mention my blog when you say "Trick or Treat!" and receive a SECOND Hershey Bar!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Putting the "E" in Early

Visit @1101, Saturday 7 September 17, 6:40-8:50AM, 3.8 miles.
Temps in the 60's, cloudy and foggy.

This week I wanted to paint over the graffiti I found last week. I started so early because I wanted to return home in time to watch the last hour of the final "classic" one day bicycle race of the year, the Giro di Lombardia.

If you don't want to watch the last 30km. then at least watch Laurens de Plus' crash.

That hurts to watch no matter what language it's in!

First, I'd like to point out the extent I go to for your entertainment.

That tree I removed from the trail last week-the tree by Merimere Reservoir-it was wrapped in poison ivy. And just how do I know?...

Does my forearm look fat in this dress?!

Crossing the walkbridge over I-691 I encountered new graffiti. Now that I'm packing my graffiti removal kit, it was easy to deal with.

What I failed to account for is the condensation on the steel. Because of it, my sandpaper clogged easily. Remind me to bring rags next time. That's YOU I'm talking to!

Anyway, enroute to the graffiti, I came upon Colorado'd Tree #18 in Hubbard Park.

I reached the graffiti on the rock and pulled out the paint.

Then my "Spidey senses" started to tingle, which told me to check the backside of the adjacent rock.

This looks more recent than the date on the "Zone 2011" would have you believe. I think I'm going to have to check West Peak again. Stay tuned next week to see if I'm right.

I doubled back and picked up litter at the parking area across from Belmont Avenue, as well as the parking area in the northwest corner of Mirror Lake. I then looped around the retention ponds, returned to the parking lot, and dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

But that Colorado'd tree was bugging me, so I returned to Hubbard Park the same zero dark thirty on Sunday morning and went all lumberjack on it.

As I returned to my vehicle, the ducks were just getting into their morning laps.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Visit 1100, Saturday 30 September 17,  9:45-11:30AM / 3.3 miles,  and 1:00-1:30PM / mileage n/a.
Temps in the 60's, partly sunny and breezy.

I've been fortunate enough during my almost 20 year custodial tenure on the trails of Hubbard Park to have the help of friends. It accomplishes much and eliminates the tedium of doing it myself.

This week I had the fortunate opportunity to have the help of not one but TWO friends.

Thanks to Paul Bernier who joined me this week on my regular rounds.

We headed west toward the walkbridge over I-691. Enroute we ran into a hiker with his dog, Buddy. Well, little did I know when I called "Here, little buddy!" that Buddy was actually his name!

Anyway, I carry dog biscuits for such occasions but Buddy would have none of it out of my hands so I handed it to Buddy's leash-holder. BLH thanked Paul and I for our work and we parted ways. A couple seconds later, BLH called us back and said he had something for me.

He gave me a biscuit SO LARGE, I felt ashamed for the treats I carry. No wonder Buddy didn't like my biscuit; my biscuit wasn't worthy of Buddy's lips!

Paul and I soldiered on, embarrassed.

Things that I worry about: like the coffee cup I spied in the thorn bushes for the past several weeks but could not reach. This week I could, because I made someone else (Paul) go after it with the hedge clippers.

We reached the walkbridge over I-691 and discovered new flags had been installed. What makes this interesting is, the flags aren't usually put up in the fall but around Memorial Day, and they survive for a couple months. These new flags have extra grommets in the middle to help withstand the wind from cars on the highway. Whoever is installing them is getting wise. I've been following these flags for years and have yet to determine who is putting them up.


This is what graffiti would look like if Jesus was a graffiti artist. Except Jesus didn't read the King James Version Bible...

Further on up the trail I ahem, risked life and limb, to retrieve a shirt.

Nearing the Halfway House I was reminded of a couple dead trees, one of which was begging to fall across the trail. Since I had my chainsaw with me, I decided to preempt the fall and take out the dead cedar tree in the foreground as well. The remaining leaning tree is "not dead yet".

Down near Merimere Reservoir we reached my objective for the week.

Last week I trimmed the branches off this fallen tree. This week I removed the trunk.

Notice Paul with hand on chin and raised eyebrows, as he marvels at my impressive work!

We returned to the park and dropped off our litter for the week.

But I wasn't done just yet. It was only 11:30AM and I was scheduled to meet Friend #2 for more work at the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

I pre-planned to spend the intervening time to cover over the graffiti in the spillway at the north end of the reservoir, which I discovered and partially covered, last week.

So I drove to the north end, parked at the gate, and began work.

Tools of the trade.

I ran out of paint before I completed, but I accomplished much after squeezing the last drops out of the roller tray. The remainder can be left for another day.


Now it's time to meet Friend #2.

Pal Elmer told me he and his wife rode their bikes to Hubbard Park last week, and as they entered through the north gate, encountered a cycling couple leaving the park. The woman said that, as she maneuvered through the recently installed bollard-

-she cut her arm on the pivoting post.

See the similarities?

Horrors! Elmer wanted to put an end to all the bloodshed, so we met at the north gate for yet more manly tool operation. He brought the tools and made all the sparks; I just got to watch :-( .

Note Elmer's proper safety gear, and the cool look of indifference from a professional!

Of course this was to be a team effort, and I put my artistic touches on the finished product. Smoother than Mel Torme...Go ahead; drag your butt across it and remove all doubt.