Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four-Peat Pete

A rarely seen view of Merimere Reservoir. Read on and discover why.

Visit #896, Monday 8 September 14, 6-7PM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the mid-70's, cloudy.

Visit #897, Thursday 11 September 14, 6-7:30PM, 3.6 miles.
Temps in the 70's, cloudy, humid, threatening rain.

Visit #898, Saturday 13 September 14, 6:50-7:40AM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the 50's, cloudy.

Visit #899, Saturday 13 September 14, 12:40-3:10PM, 3.9 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, cloudy with impending rain.

Four visits in one week?! As long as I can throw some cycling in the mix then it doesn't feel like a job, but fun.

It began on Monday. During last week's trail clearing and tree dropping, I neglected to take the cut pieces and line the trail as is my long term plan. But the heat and humidity of last week can make you cut corners just to get out of there. So I felt my work was incomplete. I returned via mountain bike on Monday to arrange the logs appropriately. This particular trail is not rideable for mountain bikes so there was a lot of hike-a-bike. Once on site, the task took a mere 5 minutes. You can see my bike in the background.

Finished, I pointed myself back in the direction I came from, toward the road at the north end of Merimere Reservoir. Enroute, I could see the eastern shore of the reservoir and spotted something you would not see from the road. Time to investigate.

What I spied was the tarp you see above. The tiny peninsula offers a secluded spot to camp on the shore of Merimere Reservoir without being seen unless you were on the Blue Trail on the western hillside. The introductory photo to this week's blog shows the view south from the campsite.

Lacking the gear to clean this up, I vowed to return later in the week.

So that's what I did on Thursday. After work, I walked north along the road and picked up trash on one side. Just shy of the north end of the reservoir I ducked into the woods and to the camp site where someone had used the "wind curtain" to create a lean-to, then abandoned it.

This area is apparently well-known considering the amount of trash I picked up in such a small area. When I was done, I left 2 bags at the north end of the reservoir, which were promptly picked up the following day by the Meriden Parks Department, thanks to Chris Bourdon.

My find of the week occurred on this outing:

I'd be excited if I were a beer drinker, but I'm not.

As I walked the road back to the park I picked up trash on the other side of the road and deposited the bag before I left.

Now I was free to pursue my original plans for this week.

Last week, I detailed my approach to dealing with graffiti on the I-691 walkbridge. Sandpaper was effective but somewhat time consuming. I wanted to see if I could expedite the process. The squeeky cogs in my brain began to turn and I came up with a series of options I would field test to find a winner.

So early Saturday morning I once again grabbed my mountain bike and rode to Hubbard Park for a face-off between solvent, spray paint, and sandpaper. Here were the contestants:

I'd previously tried covering up the silver graffiti with my magic marker when I ran out of time and patience. The results were less than satisfying to me, hence the comparison test.

First, I hit the art with acetone.

All that did was partially remove the magic marker.

Next, I tried the sandpaper, starting with the 60 grit.

I didn't do a complete job because I figured the spray paint would surely cover this quickly and thoroughly. Wrong.

You can see some of the art bleeding through and the color is less than an ideal match.


I finished the session by removing a couple other spots of graffiti.

I was done and outta there even before the early risers.

At midday I returned for more routine trash and trail duties. I walked a counterclockwise route, stopping at the south end of Merimere Reservoir and hiking over to I-691. From my earlier bike rides through the park this week I knew where I'd find the trouble spots, which is why I hiked this particular route.

Enroute, I found these logs on the Main Trail which I tossed into the woods.

Once over to the trailhead on West Main Street across from Belmont Avenue, I deposited a filled trash bag along with a chair frame and a 55 gallon drum. I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department to pick up the items.

My next objective was a small tree which was leaning across the trail. Because of my earlier recon trips, I brought my bow saw to remove the tree.

Back at the park, I dropped of the last of my trash, including the box you see.

Here's hoping for a more leisurely schedule next week...

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