Sunday, November 19, 2017

Unfinished Business

Skies were clouding over, with rain beginning in the afternoon. A nice day to stay inside, except we didn't.

Visit #1107, Saturday 18 November 17, 10:30AM to 1:30PM, 3.7 miles.

Visit  #1108, Sunday 19 November 17, 12:00-1:00PM, mileage n/a.

Paul Bernier joined me on Saturday as assistant and project photographer.

Covering all the trails after a storm cannot be done in one week. There were yet trails to be cleared of fallen trees, three weeks after the storm, and I ran out of gas last week, leaving yet more unfinished business.

This week we would cover the Blue Trail as it climbs the western face of Merimere Reservoir, then hike another trail back down to the north end of the reservoir, forming a big loop.

For the most part, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

My project photographer was a little rusty off the start, and failed to take a Before shot. I just finished pushing the cut tree off the trail.

Reaching Castle Craig, we followed the road to another trail that would lead us back down to the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

At the trailhead, we found this stenciled graffiti. I searched all the gang and hate group symbol databases and could not find a match. Closest I found was the Aryan Brotherhood, but it's not close enough to warrant an association. I'm puzzled as to why someone would bother to carry the stencil as well as to put the mark where we found it.

The trail head was a few steps away. We turned right and went in pursuit of more fallen trees.

Done on the trails, Paul and I walked back to my car and took our litter bag with us.

I dropped Paul off at home and returned to Hubbard Park to finish off where I ran out of gas last week, across the street from Belmont Avenue.

Walking toward I-691 and the last tree for the week, I spotted some new graffiti which I'll hopefully take care of in the near future. While not part of the park but on the highway side of the fence, it's visible and close enough to be an eyesore. Funny thing though; it's obscured by brush as you drive on I-691 east and not really visible. Must have been painted by newbies.

Back to the last tree of the week.

Here you can see the tree resting on the cable guardrail.

But there was still more unfinished business. I returned to Hubbard Park via mountain bike on Sunday to get in some miles, cover that graffiti, and check one more trail in Hubbard Park for storm damage. The mountain bike comes in handy because I can cover a lot of ground quickly.

Enroute to the graffiti site, I discovered the Meriden Traffic Department replaced the stolen sign directing to East/West Peak.

Well, I expected Sign v2.0 to be more of a theft-resistant design. Instead, it looks like a duplicate waiting to meet the same fate. I don't think "different color" qualifies. It doesn't even have tamper-proof mounting bolts. I don't hold out much hope for v2.0 to last long either. Stay tuned.

Here's a closer, last look at the graffiti symbol.

High winds and colder temps made painting over it difficult, but I got the job done.

I left the scene and inspected the last trail, only to find a good number of trees to be cleared from this remaining trail. More unfinished business. 'Til next week...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hug Your Chainsaw

"Never hug a running chainsaw." - Confucious, Chinese Philosopher, 551-479 B.C.

Confucious was ahead of his time; roughly 2000 years, as the chainsaw wasn't invented until
1830 A.D. . 

While I would certainly follow his advice, it was cold enough on Saturday to consider doing otherwise just to stay warm. Which is why I ventured into Hubbard Park on Sunday instead.

Visit 1106, Sunday 12 November 17, 12:20-2:55PM, 4.2 miles.
Temps in the 40's, sunny.

After inspecting some of the trails last week, I returned with my chainsaw on Sunday to clear some of the trees which fell victim to last week's wind and rain.

You'll forgive me if I forgot to take some "after" photos. Trust that I did my job.

I started at the Soap Box Derby track.

There's a short loop of a trail further up the track, on the left, where I encountered a series of fallen trees.

Hiking away from Merimere Reservoir, I pointed toward the Halfway House and cleaned up this tree on the perimeter of the clearing.

It was while working around the Halfway House that a couple walked by and remarked that the brush on the hillside is growing such that soon the view south from the Halfway House will be obscured. If it keeps growing, I may have to call in a napalm drop.

Here's a comparison photo from October 2014.

And one from December 2013.

I'll see if I can't plant a suggestion in the proper places.

Finished around the Halfway House, I hiked the main trail until I found the arrows I mentioned last week. I covered them with brown spray paint.

And I found yet more of Hubbard Park's Christian graffiti vandal's work.

The persistence of a troubled mind. Sorry, James.

I crossed over I-691 to the largest tree of the day, across the trail leading to the small parking area adjacent to West Main Street and Belmont Avenue.

But alas, while cutting up this tree, I ran out of fuel for my chainsaw. Party's over.

I'm told there are at least 5 or 6 more trees on other trails which need attention. That will be next week's agenda. I returned to the parking lot and dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

Here's hoping the temps are warmer next Saturday, or I may ignore Confucious' words of wisdom.