Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Housekeeping

A thin sheen of ice struggles to cover Merimere Reservoir.

Visit #839, Tuesday 24 December 13, 8:10-11:00AM, 5.5 miles.
Temps in the low 30's, mostly sunny.

Visit #840, Thursday 26 December 13, 9:10AM-12:15PM, 6.1 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, mostly cloudy with some light snow squalls.

Visit #841, Saturday 28 December 13, 2:10-4:40PM, 3.0 miles.
Temps in the 40's, mostly sunny.

Christmas Week usually means extra days off. Good time to catch up on some off-season chores in Hubbard Park.

The balmy weather of the last week melted all the snow from December 14th's 6" dump. That worked out great for me.

After reporting of "NAER"'s shenanigans of the past couple weeks, I felt it would be wise to be prepared if they were truly persistent. So, I carried my gallon of paint in my backpack this week just in case.

Well, NAER slacked off and didn't provide me with more work. What DID happen is, with all the snow gone, it revealed the graffiti that was beneath the snow banks at the jersey barriers that I was unable to cover on my previous trips, linked above.

Today's route took me on the road all the way to Castle Craig then back to the park via the trails.

I didn't even think this opportunity would present itself, so this was a Christmas gift if there ever was one.

I went to town and finished the job I began a couple weeks ago.

I then continued walking up the road to the Castle picking up trash. Quiet as can be.

Once at Castle Craig, I made my way via the trails back to the park. On the way down, I performed my annual cleaning of the slope below Castle Craig, since people have a habit of tossing their garbage over the wall. I hardly finished, but did have to use a 30 gallon bag for my work.

I returned to the park on Thursday, walking clockwise, over I-691, scouring a couple lower trails, then working my way up toward Castle Craig. On the way up, I continued my annual cleaning of the slope, collecting another large bag of trash.

At the top I hiked the Blue Trail north, high above Merimere Reservoir. I seldom take this trail because few people do and therefore there's little trash to collect.

Cooler temperatures of the past few days increased the ice layer on Merimere Reservoir.

Once at the north end, I walked the road back to the park, checking on whether NAER was active with their graffiti; no. Passing the gate at the south end of Merimere Reservoir, I discovered that the lock on the gate, which was replaced as recently as two weeks ago, was cut AGAIN. I found both cut locks:

 I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department to let them know what happened.

Back at the park I dropped off my bag of trash.

But wait folks, there's more!

You would think I had enough after two days of just picking up trash on the trails, but Saturday's weather was too nice to pass up.

I had 2 items on my agenda. One was to continue policing the slope below Castle Craig, except today I'd work the high side of the trail.

The other item pertains to graffiti I discovered on this rock a few weeks ago.

A little internet sleuthing revealed who "BJB" was, (here's the obituary) and why others decided to tag this rock.

Cliff's Notes version: A woman committed suicide in Hubbard Park. This rock is adjacent to the trail near where her body found.

This isn't the first time I've found memorials to people in Hubbard Park. I found this a couple weeks after the person's death in 2010.

I painted over the graffiti, then moved on to picking up trash below Castle Craig.

The paint doesn't flow well at 40 degrees but trust me; it looks better from 20 feet. Maybe I'll redo the job in warmer weather.

After filling a large bag with trash, I headed back toward the park. On the Green Trail, almost near the reservoir, I found a couple blankets abandoned in a shallow gully. The location, as well as the way the blankets were arranged, clearly points to someone trying to sleep out in the cold in Hubbard Park. Most likely just one person, and they weren't camping; probably homeless. I'll guess they slept on one blanket and covered themselves with the other.

There are trails within 100 feet of here, in two directions.

I collected the blankets, which were frozen and heavy, and dragged them to the water treatment plant where I left them, along with my trash bag. I'm pleased to report I took a bike ride through the park on Sunday morning and Meriden Water Department personnel had picked up the items by 8:45AM.

Happy 2014!

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