Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quick Work

A tranquil Sunday morning Mirror Lake. There were some anglers taking advantage of the lake's fishing opportunities even this early in the day.

Visit #1075, Sunday 21 May 17, 7:45-9:40AM, 3.1 miles.
Temps in the 50's, mostly sunny and calm.

I was on-call so I didn't plan on any lengthy, far-reaching trail maintenance session today.

After last week's trail work, I noticed some new graffiti on the I-691 walkbridge. Since it appeared to be done in something other than spray paint, I thought I'd be able to use some sort of cleaner on it to make quick work of its removal. But neither Goof-Off nor WD-40 would touch it. Nor would my wire brush.  Next time, if I think of it, I'll try a stronger solvent such as mineral spirits.

Good thing I had a Plan B.

This was my first stop.

After the solvents and wire brush failed, I broke out a simple piece of 80 grit sandpaper, which has NEVER failed on steel. Boom; quick work indeed!

The only reason for the clump of paint on the sandpaper was the WD-40 I sprayed on the graffiti in my first attempt. Clogged sandpaper doesn't work well. Lesson learned, all the other graffiti was removed "dry" and the sandpaper worked like a charm.

While on the walkbridge, I noticed one of the two American flags placed last year by persons unknown, has been taken. To be fair it was beginning to get tattered so I'm inclined to think it wasn't stolen but rightly removed. Stay tuned this month because usually new flags are put up on the walkbridge around Memorial Day. I'll report if and when it happens.

After I eradicated the graffiti on the walkbridge, I turned my attention back to the trails and more litter collection. I also trimmed the trails of thorn bushes which grow like weeds once the temps reach the 60's or so.

There's been an ahem, a bumper crop of condoms this year in Hubbard Park. This is #5 for 2017 but who's counting?

I covered the trail all the way to West Main Street and Belmont Avenue, then turned around and hiked back to the park. A loop around the Soap Box Derby track and I was done, turning in my bag of trash for the week.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Back In The Saddle and Busy

The recent spring rains, including Saturday's impending rain, will definitely top off Merimere Reservoir and virtually eliminate the drought conditions of the past 2 years.

Visit #1073, Saturday 13 May 17, 8:45-11:05AM, mileage unknown.
Temps in the 60's with rain developing mid-morning.

Visit #1074, Sunday 14 May 17, 7:00-9:15AM, 4.4 miles.
Temps in the 40's with rain tapering off later in the morning.

My apologies for lack of a blog post last week. I had the flu and was glued to my couch. When I recovered in the middle of last week, I took a mountain bike ride through the trails below Castle Craig and found a number of trees had fallen from recent storms. This week, with the help of my occasional co-conspirator Paul Bernier, we were going to spruce up the trails.

Thanks to Paul for his assistance this week, and for manning the camera!

We started by following the trails on the south side of I-691 where we quickly ran into a fallen tree I didn't encounter last week. My chainsaw paid off here.

We hiked over I-691 via the walkbridge and discovered some new graffiti, which I'll address next week.

We reached the trails higher up and encountered the first of a few fallen trees which were encroaching on the trails.

The next tree had mostly smaller branches so I handed the loppers to Paul and let him get to work.

The next tree was closer to the Halfway House.

We returned to the parking lot and dropped off our trash bags for the week.

The last tree for Saturday was at the north end of Hubbard Park and due to the soon-to-start rain, we chose to drive to the north end for a shorter hike to the fallen tree.

But I wasn't done for the weekend. Since I was in a chainsaw state of mind...

In my last report, I found mountain bikers had been building a ramp off a large rock on one of the lesser-used trails. I intended to remove it.

Walking across the north end of Merimere Reservoir, I passed this gaggle of geese, including their future turd dropping progeny.

I started early Sunday morning in less-than ideal conditions, and had to ford the Maloney Canal, which was raging with runoff from Saturday's rain.

I hiked up the trail with the chainsaw and reached the feature.

I handily dismantled the ramp, while still under construction.

To warn mountain bikers their ramp was gone, I littered the area approaching the jump with brush. I have no clue whether they'll be smart enough to get the message.

When I reached the top of the trail, near the fork to East/West Peaks, I walked the road down, and picked up trash along the way. I brought the bag home for disposal.