Sunday, December 27, 2015

Trees and Blundering

A peaceful day after Christmas in Hubbard Park. It was good to see the number of people out on the trails doing something other than pursuing day-after Christmas shopping.

 Visit #994, Saturday 26 December 15, 7:25AM-12:30PM, 9.5 miles.
Temps in the 40's, pushing past 50, partly sunny.

Last week I told of this week's plans to remove 2 trees across various trails which had fallen recently.

On Christmas Day I gave myself the best present I could ever want; a bike ride. I pointed myself toward Hubbard Park and up to West Peak, where I discovered 2 more trees which would need dispatching. I now had a route planned in my head and a full-schedule, as you can see by the mileage I walked.

My trash bag grew heavy quite quickly and knowing the journey ahead of me, I opted to leave it at the water treatment plant despite it being nowhere near full.

 Also on my agenda was to "undecorate" the tree at Echo Point made festive by others. Just like those who post "tag sale" signs but never take them down after the tag sale, I wouldn't bet a nickel these ornaments were ever going to be removed unless I did the job. As far as I was concerned, it was after the holiday and I was in the vicinity. My Hubbard Park schedule is unpredictable so there's no telling when I'd be back to clean up the tree, so I did it today.

 And speaking of tag sale signs, soon after passing Echo Point and the tree, I came upon this sign, which belongs in the same category. It too, was removed, for similar reasons.

Further up the road, I discovered our tree decorator didn't stop at trees; wreaths were fair game as well. Pretty creative too, what they did with this kudzu vine.

Along the way up the road, I picked up a discarded Dunkin' Donuts cup. The cup didn't surprise me; but I took an interest in the former contents.

With the number of additives in these drinks, coffee (this cup looks like it was tea) has become the New Soft Drink. And with the number of added calories (FOUR cream, FOUR Splenda which has 4 calories per packet that is; it's not a zero-calorie alternative), it's not like people are losing weight drinking this stuff. Likely the opposite.

Okay, so it piqued my interest and normally that would have been the end of it and you would not have heard a word nor seen a photo. BUT, I kept finding them and the results were the same!

Gee America, would you like some coffee with your sweeteners?!

I've commented on Dunkin' Donuts before. Today's findings have to make you wonder what percentage of Dunkin Donuts drinkers are likely to litter and whether there's a correlation. FYI, I didn't take photos of the clear plastic Dunkin' Donuts cups I found today, which would have increased the count. But they didn't have the menu of additives on the outside so I couldn't add them to the argument.

Anyway, I reached the first tree of the day.

By the debris in the road you can see the tree was across the pavement when I found it on my Christmas Day ride, but someone managed to swing it aside. I finished the job with my chainsaw.

It was just about this time that a Hubbard Park acquaintance walked by and the first words out of his mouth were, "Did you see what they did to that Christmas tree back by the reservoir?!"

When I telling him I did the deed and why, I was then treated to, as Paul Harvey would say, The Rest of the Story.

Turns out the people who started decorating the tree and the wreath are Hubbard Park regulars; a group of retired ladies who walk together on the road. I've seen them very occasionally but don't know them by name. I was assured, and I have no doubt, that they are a respectable group and would have had every intention of undecorating the tree and wreath after the holidays.

After starting the project, they inspired some park regulars to add to the tree/wreath on a regular basis as the holiday approached, hence the variety of ornaments I found.

Boy; did I feel like a cheeseball! I told the bearer of the news to apologize to the ladies on my behalf and tell them next year I'll be the wiser.

I guess I should have bet that nickel...

This cheeseball trudged on toward the top of the road and left a heavy bag of trash for the Meriden Parks Department to pick up.

Upon reaching the trailhead where Tree #2 was, I found a couple of old cooking pans; my Find of the Week.

Tree #2, before and after.

This trail leads all the way back down to Merimere Reservoir, where I picked up another trail leading me back up toward Castle Craig. Enroute to Tree #3, I found a tire lever, used to remove bicycle tires. Since I'm a cyclist, these come in handy and this lever will augment the incomplete set I have at home.

On to Tree #3.

 It wasn't just all hemlocks that were falling.

I reached the trail between East and West Peak and hiked down toward the lower trails nearer to I-691 where I dealt with the largest tree of the day, and it was oak. I had just enough gas in my saw to finish this job.

I hiked over the highway and back to the park. As a result of Saturday's work, my pair of gloves gave up the ghost. No matter; I found these gloves a few weeks ago while on a bike ride so they didn't owe me anything. They followed the trash bag into the dumpster.

See you next year!

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