Sunday, December 11, 2016

Cleaning Up The Loose End

It was cold out there Saturday.

Visit #1049, Saturday 10 December 16, 11:45AM-3:05PM, 6.8 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, sunny with a chilly breeze.

Visit #1050, Sunday 11 December 16, 6:40-6:55AM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the teens, dark with clear skies.

After last week's trail cleaning session, I was left with ONE trail that still needed to be inspected for post-windstorm damage such as fallen trees and branches. No chainsaw work was planned, just inventory to determine whether a chainsaw was needed at all.

My hike got off on a good foot; while picking up litter I found this non-litter item:

I wish ALL the leaves looked like that.

Up at the Halfway House, I found what looks like the remnants of somebody's makeshift sleeping pad.

That someone would carry a box of cardboard, and one of the ice packs, all the way to the Halfway House is odd. This box was from Blue Apron, the internet meal delivery service. I was hoping to learn who the addressee was so I could learn whether the box, and its contents, were stolen, but the shipping address was removed. Nevertheless, I collected it as trash and moved on.

I reached Castle Craig and immediately picked up the Blue Trai, then the road toward West Peak and the trail to be inspected.

I reached the trail, began my trip down, and reached what I was looking for.

Not a big deal; I swung it aside.

Further on I reached the next tree to be removed.

This hemlock required a little more wrestling to clear the trail.

And that was pretty much all I found within the 1/2 mile or so of trail.

At the very bottom of the trail, stashed at the base of a tree, I found this collection of Majorska Vodka bottles. There's a story behind all those bottles; I'd love to know what it is.

Remember the wreath I found last week? Compare last week's ornaments with this week's collection, and you'll see a difference.

Wonder why? Well, this note, attached to the bottom of the wreath, explains all.

Is it, or is it not, too hard to believe that people cannot suspend bad behavior for at least the brief period of the holiday season? I could only shake my head in disbelief.

Last year, the same group of people that assembled the wreath also put together a little Christmas tree adjacent to Echo Point. I was heading that way as I walked the road back to Hubbard Park, and was curious to see whether they would do the same thing this year. I was pleasantly not disappointed.

It's neat to see a tree such as this where it would be most unexpected. Take a walk on the road around Merimere Reservoir and see if you can spot it!

As I returned to Hubbard Park, my trash bag was near full and must have weighed 20-25lbs.  when I found this coffee cup.

Now, when I find these cups, which is all too regularly, I like to read them if I can to gain insight into the drinker. I examined this one.

Large coffee + 4 sugars + 4 creams = 10 Calories (Large coffee) +60 Calories (sugar) +
 80 Calories (cream) = 150 Calories. That's 10 Calories more than in a 12oz. can of Coke.

Not to be outdone in the Calorie/coffee wars, I shortly came upon today's coffee champion.

FIVE creams?! SIX sugars?! At what point does it cease being coffee?! I imagine people driving up to the window (because NOBODY gets out of their cars-that would burn calories!) and saying, "I'll have a large cream and sugar with coffee...") By the way, that's 200 Calories.

By the time I reached the water treatment plant, I had burned too many calories myself because my bag of trash was so heavy, so I left it there. I sort of planned this; the weather forecast is for snow/rain Sunday night into Monday, and I didn't foresee the Meriden Parks Department having the time amidst the bad weather to pick up the bag had I left it earlier roadside, so I left it where it would be certain to be collected with ease on Monday.

I walked back to the parking lot and dropped of my second bag of litter.

But I wasn't done.

While walking on the road back to the park, I discovered some new graffiti on the I-691 underpass. It was pretty unsightly, so I decided to return Sunday morning to remove it.

I woke up in the cold and dark for a couple reasons; to address the graffiti AND to stop at Neil's Donuts in Wallingford. I planned to stop there soon after they opened (6AM) and avoid the crowds.
Well, even 6:15AM is too late-the parking lot was full and the line was ALREADY TO THE DOOR! Speaking to the customer in front of me, I learned it only gets worse on Sunday mornings.

I arrived at Hubbard Park while it was still dark, and had to wait until there was some semblance of sunrise. Then I walked the short distance to the underpass to begin work. Here's what I had to erase:

I failed to examine what the graffiti was drawn with so I didn't know what would attack it best. I came armed to the teeth.

Turns out the graffiti was chalk or crayon-based, and WD-40 made quick work of it all; maybe 5-10 minutes total.

I expect the sheen will disappear in short order.

Now it was time to go home and reward myself for waking early and being successful! No coffee was involved...

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