Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finished Business, and a Whole Lot More

Visit 825, 26 October 13, 10:00-11:45AM, 2.7 miles.
Temps in the low 50's, sunny and very windy.

Visit 826, 27 October 13, 10:00AM-1:00PM, ? mileage.
Temps in the low 50's, sunny.

With the help of Paul Bernier this week, I was finally going to be able to finish cleaning the perimeter of the parking lot at West Peak.

I was on a tight schedule which allotted 2 hours for work so in order to be productive, I decided to drive Paul and myself directly to West Peak rather than hike up there. Good thing too, for on the way up we discovered a hemlock that had fallen into the road. I stopped the car and Paul and I took care of business.

At West Peak, we collected a couple 30 gallon bags of trash and since I had the car, could save the Meriden Parks Department a little work and take the bags away, not to mention leaving the area nicer looking without the trash bags standing guard in the lot.

We drove over the East Peak/The Castle, and not only policed the parking lot but the Blue Trail nearby and roughly 1/4 mile of road. Unfortunately, we found a couple things we couldn't tend to- a large patch of scattered glass from a broken car window and sad to say, someone had toppled the monument documenting the history of the Castle.

The slab was too heavy for Paul and I to lift so I planned on contacting the parks department to give Mark Zebora a heads up.

Despite our findings Saturday, we were very productive, collecting 4 bags of trash between the 2 peaks. Thanks to Paul Bernier, the hardest working ally I've ever met. 

Here Paul poses with our Saturday haul:

You would think that'd be the end of my weekend but there was a whole lot more. I was contacted earlier this week by Dwight Needles of the Meriden Land Trust. He had been contacted by the Asian-American Society of the University of Connecticut of Greater Hartford. They were interested in a hike in Hubbard Park and were hoping for a tour guide, or at least maps.

Dwight and I were able to oblige and it worked out well; he was only able to lead the group to just shy of the Castle; I took over the lead from there.

With Dwight leading the group I was able to collect a bag of trash by the time we reached the water treatment plant and deposited it at the gate.

The group paused at the south end of Merimere Reservoir to admire the view, while Dwight copped a seat.

Dwight left the group shortly after reaching the Halfway House and I escorted them the remainder of the hike. Knowing I would be returning to the Castle parking lot, I let the bunch take in the sights while I wisely thought to bring a dustpan and broom to sweep up the broken glass I found on Saturday.

And better yet, someone(s) managed to upright the toppled monument between our work on Saturday, and today. Perhaps someone with CrossFit training, used to flipping tires ;-) .

Between our trash bag collection, the glass sweeping, and the reset monument, a good deal of potentially wasted time by parks workers was saved. Time better spent on other duties.

The group was starting to run low on energy at this point and their lofty hiking ambitions met the reality of their legs. Rather than take the trails over to West Peak, we walked on the road. Once there, most considered the views at West Peak superior to those at the Castle.

They also considered the descent from West Peak down to lower elevations more treacherous, choosing  the "butt method" of locomotion down the trail.

Any hike is a good hike where I don't have to carry bodies back to the parking lot. Today was a good hike. They were an appreciative bunch and welcome back anytime to enjoy the views they couldn't see today.

I dropped a final bag of trash and called it a day.

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