Sunday, September 11, 2016

Accomplish The Mission

Visit #1035, Saturday 10 September 16, 7:40-11:00AM, 7.6 miles.
Temps in the 70's, cloudy and humid with a brief downpour.

Earlier in the week I received a call from a park "regular" reporting a branch down on certain trail. There was also a branch at the parking lot at West Peak which was suspiciously bent and hanging low over the pavement. I planned to hike a route which would enable me to remove both of them.

As I started at the park and walked up the road, I soon met Ken, a Meriden resident and park regular who, like me, picks up trash in Hubbard Park. And I thought I was the only one.

Ken's technique differs from mine in that he walks the road up to the north end of the reservoir and back. Enroute, any trash he finds he places on the opposite side of the road, and places into his trash bag on the return trip.

Ken told me earlier this week he found the REMAINS OF A MATTRESS AND A PORTABLE TABLE SAW someone daringly tossed out of their vehicle onto the side of the road. Ken dragged the items to a conspicuous spot in the hopes city workers would find them. Apparently they did, and further on our walk up the road we came upon our Find of the Week; the last parts of that table saw.

Ken said he'd try and carry that back to the water treatment plant on his return trip for easy pickup by the city.

Ken and I parted ways at the north end of Merimere Reservoir. Before I joined the trail I stopped to marvel at the low water level. It's even lower than 2015.

I had to pick up some trash on the shoreline and I can assure you; while it LOOKS like solid ground, it's still gooey.

Once on the trail I couldn't for the life of me find the branch the caller complained about so I had to guess. I made a few cuts here and there but nothing stood out. You probably think the same thing.

At the top of the trail I found Len is at it again with the same hijinks, placing branches across the trails.

I removed everything.

I joined the road again and headed toward West Peak. At the fork to East/West Peak, it began to rain reasonably hard. My scrawny self can't handle rain, even at 70 degrees and I wasn't wearing much more than a very thin base layer. I was afraid I would have to scrap the second part of my mission today and keep moving to avoid hypothermia. Then I had an idea...

I turned one of my large trash bags into a rain poncho. I was now wet and unfashionable, but I was toasty!

I hung my first trash bag on the fence. Keeping it off the ground will hopefully keep animals from getting into it.

The more I think about this bent branch, the more I think it was "Colorado-ed", New England style. This is the 14th tree I've found and the 5th tree so far this year. There's no other explanation as to why it would bend like this.

It took a good 20 minutes to saw through this tree, but I accomplished my mission.

Due to the rain and the time spent cutting down this tree, I planned on skipping cleaning litter from the woods to the right of the trees, but when I saw how much was there, I couldn't dismiss it. So I filled a second bag and hung it with the first bag.

I hiked the Blue Trail down from West Peak and pointed myself back toward Merimere Reservoir. Down near the reservoir, I found two fallen trees I couldn't move easily as well as more of Len's shenanigans. I'll have to return next week with the chainsaw to clear things up.

I returned to the parking lot to unload what little trash I found on my return trip.

As a parting shot, I say goodbye to a pair of work gloves which served me well.

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