Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lumberjack, Week III

The view south of Merimere Reservoir, while Paul collects trash along the shoreline.

Visit #894, Tuesday 2 September 14, 6-7PM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the high 80's, high humidity.

Visit #895, Saturday 6 September 14, 8:45AM-12:45PM, 8.1 miles.
Temps in the mid-80's, wilting humidity.

As I reported of last week's escapades, I ran into some new graffiti on the walkbridge over I-691. I chose to take on this task on Tuesday while also getting in some bike riding. I grabbed the mountain bike and headed over after work. I did not want to cover over the bridge's original color so I tried something different; I used sandpaper, 150 grit to be exact. It's not as fast as I'd prefer but it's remarkably effective and leaves the original paint pretty much intact-that epoxy is tough. Besides last week's ramblings, here's what I cleaned up.

It's dirty work but somebody's gotta do it.

I ran out of paper and had to resort to my own magic marker to cover the remainder. It's not pretty; I may return another day to properly complete the job.

Saturday would be the third consecutive week using my chainsaw to keep the trails clear. I was fortunate to have the assistance of Paul Bernier on Saturday. He doubled my usual productivity collecting trash and led me to a tree down across a hiking trail his Active Singles group would be hiking on the following day, Sunday.

We started at the playscape and walked the road toward Castle Craig. By the time we reached the north end of Merimere Reservoir, we had collected 2+ bags of trash and left them at the jersey barriers. I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department to collect the bags Monday.

I say 2 PLUS bags because the blue bag in the background came pre-loaded with my Find of the Week, which I failed to photograph. Inside the reusable Goodwill shopping bag was a... 

...Sunbeam Stand Mixer, either unloved or unworking, probably both. There was also a garage door opener. Go figure.

At the north end of Merimere Reservoir, Paul pointed out to me what he calls the "alligator" in the reservoir.

 The alligator only appears when the water level is low.

Once we crossed the north end of the reservoir, I noticed this gate is missing its lock.

I'll notify the Meriden Parks Department of this as well.

When Paul and I reached the fork to East Peak/West Peak, we left our 3rd and 4th bags of trash that we would collect on our return trip.

Then it was over to the Blue Trail high above Merimere Reservoir and a long hike to the fallen hemlock.

Paul is standing in the middle of the trail, which curves up to his left.

I easily dispatched this tree then felled another nearby, dead hemlock, which looked like the next candidate to block the trail. In the photo, you can see the first hemlock after I cut it away behind Paul and to his right.

At this point we performed an about face and made a long trek to pick up our trash bags and return to the park. The humidity was absolutely oppressive on Saturday. If you look closely at Paul's pants, you can see the sweat line of demarcation just about mid-thigh. I doubt there was a perm'd hairdo in the world which could withstand Saturday's humidity. And watch that sweat line creep lower as our hike moved on...

Paul and I hiked down and over I-691 and the trail back to the park, the trail I rode my mountain bike to the walkbridge on Tuesday. Well, on Tuesday the trail was clear but between Tuesday and Saturday a small tree had fallen across it. Rather than cut it up, Paul and I managed to swing it clear of the trail.

The crown of the fallen tree extended well to the left of the photo.

Take a look a Paul's pants now and you'll see the sweat line has progressed considerably. The humidity was a real factor on Saturday. 2-21oz. bottles of water weren't nearly enough.

I planned this route back to the park because I wanted to clean the parking area for the trails which is on the northwest perimeter of Mirror Lake. I had been eyeballing this area for a few weeks and was surprised the city hadn't maintained it. As a result, I managed to fill a 30 gallon trash bag with multiple empty six-packs of glass bottles, among other trash.

Back at the park, I dropped of the last of Saturday's collection.

Thanks again to Paul Bernier for his help. I hope clean, clear trails made a positive impression on the CT Active Singles Group. To get an idea of the group's hike that day, view the photos!

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