Sunday, February 15, 2015

The City Goes To Town

And the snow keeps comin'...

Visit #937, Saturday 14 February 15, 2:05-4:00PM, 5.2 miles.
Temps in the 20's, moderate snow, 3" expected through the overnight.

After last week's report card on how well the City of Meriden maintained the road around Merimere Reservoir and up to Castle Craig and whether the road could be easily traveled by hikers, I decided to see what difference a week made by traveling the road for a second consecutive week. That is, a week with more snow.

First, a tip of the payloader bucket and plow blade to the City of Meriden Parks Department-Last week I reported a mound of snow blocked hiker access to the gate down at the park end of the road. Well, Mark Zebora and his crew took my observation to heart and cleared the snow, making it readily accessible to walkers and others.

Also, the mystery of the open gate at the water treatment plant, also reported last week, has been solved. The Water department finds it difficult to open the gate when blocked by snow so if snow is forecast, they leave the gate open for easy access. I'm Leonard Nimoy, and this is "In Search of..."

More credit goes to the Meriden Parks Department-I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the north end of Merimere Reservoir. Last week I reported finding access to the park from Park Drive in Berlin required walking through about 100 feet of unplowed road. I understood why it wasn't plowed and didn't expect it to be any different this week. However, it was cleared on both sides, for easy access on Saturday.

Traction this week was a little bit more slippery than last week as there was more of an accumulation of snow and it had experienced a couple good thaw and freeze cycles during the week. After a while, I chose to put the crampons on my boots for ease of walking although the unequipped could easily have found better traction on the road's edge.

Despite the cold temps and falling snow, I wasn't the only one on the road. Ignoring the unpredictable slippery spots, a runner passed me, as well as a cyclist on one of those new "fat bikes".

The difference between a mountain bike and a "fat bike" are the enormous tires, as this example shows:

A fat bike would be ideal for riding some of the trails down on a day like Saturday and I was curious whether this cyclist had that in mind.

When I reached the fork in the road to Castle Craig/West Peak I was surprised to find the road to Castle Craig was NOT plowed as it was last week.

Seeing this, I decided to follow the tire tracks of the fat-tired cyclist, which pointed toward West Peak which WAS plowed, to see whether he rode the trails back down. I barely reached half way to the radio towers when the cyclist came toward me. My curiosity met, I turned around and headed toward Castle Craig through the snow.

Of course, if the road wasn't plowed, neither would the parking lot be clear. That meant only the hardiest of outdoors types could take in the views.

And today that didn't include just me. I ran into a couple that snowshoed up to Castle Craig to take photos in the falling snow.

I pointed myself toward the trail downhill, below Castle Craig, where I found a small avalanche had wiped out the path of what few footprints there were in the snow.

Who would have thought you could have a snow avalanche in Hubbard Park?

I walked the trails back to the parking lot. On today's trek, I did happen to find 3 pieces of trash, one of which was unfortunately someone's scarf.

I dropped off my meager findings for the week and called it a day.

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