Monday, November 17, 2014

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A rare view of Merimere Reservoir looking north from the western shore.

Visit #912, Saturday 15 November 14, 7:50-8:30AM, 1.3 miles.
Temps in the 30's, partly sunny.

Visit #913, Sunday 16 November 14, 7:10-9:30AM, 3.3 miles.
Temps in the 30's, mostly cloudy.

Visit #914, Sunday 16 November 14, 12:30-2:30PM, 3.4 miles.
Temps in the 40's, mostly cloudy.

This is the view that started it all:

See that white graffiti on the rock on the far western shore? I wanted it bad...

Several weeks ago I spied that paint all the way from the opposite side of Merimere Reservoir while walking the road north. Such an eyesore. It had to go. What could possibly go wrong?

I had also formed a mental checklist of graffiti I'd spied in various spots in the park and decided to focus on cleaning things up while picking up trash as well.

My tale of woe started Saturday morning. I was on-call.

I parked in the dirt lot at the northwest corner of Mirror Lake and started my walk, picking off graffiti as I went.

Gray spray paint said goodbye to Byron and Mary.

The flower.

I brought along a selection of earth tones. I probably should have used gray.

I reached the walkbridge over I-691.

Sandpaper took care of Alexia and Justin.

About this time, what could possibly go wrong, did. My work phone rang and I had to abandon my work for an after hours service call. The rock at Merimere Reservoir would have to wait.

Sunday morning rolled around and I decided I'd try to pick up where I left off.

Picking at this sticker on Saturday was painfully slow. Fortunately, I came up with a lickety split solution.

With my new technique I was a sticker removing fool.

60 grit sandpaper packed a powerful punch as well.

I was on a roll.

Crossing the walkbridge, I came upon a Find of the Week, an abandoned hoodie.

Say goodbye to Scott and Mariana too.

With all the small graffiti taken care of, I could now turn my attention to that rock on the western shore. With only distance between it and me, I hustled on the trails, picking up trash along the way.

Once on the western shore of a very low reservoir, I walked the western perimeter, eager to take my graffiti removing skills to that rock. What could possibly go wrong?

I never reached the rock.

My work phone rang AGAIN. This time I had to abandon my work to head to Clinton.

I dropped off the bag of trash I'd collected so far.

After completing that service call, I returned to Hubbard Park to put a period on my work.

I picked up where I left off on the western shore of the reservoir. I could smell blood. I reached the rock with the graffiti on it. What could possibly go wrong?

It wasn't graffiti.

It was bird poop. Lots of bird poop. Enough to appear to be paint, from across the entire width of Merimere Reservoir.

But to be sure, I had to see the other side of the rock up close. Which meant I would have to leap across the 4 foot gap between the shore and the rock, above. Then I would have to figure out how to get back to shore without swimming. What could possibly go wrong?

I didn't quite make it.

Afterward, I continued navigating the western shore, picking up trash, presumably from illegal fisherman, along the way. It was treacherous and slow.

Here's unique view of the spillway at the north end.

I reached the road and walked back to the park.

Just when I thought I'd never be able to outdo last week's Find of the Week, I surprised myself.

Wait for it.

Here it comes...

I swear I'm not making this up. The only things missing were the natives, some shrunken heads, and a boiling pot of oil. Give me time and I'm sure I find that stuff, too.

My bag of trash must have weighed 15lbs. by the time I reached the water treatment plant, so I decided to drop it off there.

Hopefully the masks are good juju and will ward off any evil spirits threatening the water. Either that or it will scare away the employees.


  1. My first thought upon seeing that rock was that the white stuff would be bird poop - I could have saved you some time and wet shoes!

    1. ...and the cost of two cans of spray paint. I can't win; I must be the Charlie Brown of Hubbard Park...