Sunday, June 18, 2017

Being Lazy

A humid, foggy blanket hung lazily over Meriden on Saturday. Sunday was more of the same.

Visit #1084, Saturday 17 June 17, 1:45-3:25PM, 2.1 miles.
Temps in the 70's, humid/light rain.

I was on-call so I couldn't stray far on foot. In my enforced laziness, I drove up to West Peak. Last week, Paul Bernier and I had discovered some trees on the Blue Trail near West Peak which needed some attention, so I brought my chainsaw along.

First order of business was to remove a couple trees which appear to have been "Coloradoed", or at least the Hubbard Park version. These are the 15th and 16th trees I've found like this.

I didn't expect they'd re-root themselves, so I cut them off at their bases.

About 200 yards further down the Blue Trail, a large tree had fallen creating a trail bottleneck.

I removed just enough of the trunk to restore the trail to full-width.

I executed an about face and returned to my van. I dropped off the chainsaw and shifted into trash collection mode. I cleaned up the area around West Peak and the parking lot. Then I drove my on-call/lazy self over to Castle Craig to do the same.

About the time I arrived it started to rain lightly. While picking up trash around the parking lot, a wedding party arrived to take photos at Castle Craig. During the photo shoot the wedding party broke out into a round of "Stolat!". Being of Polish descent myself, I recognized the song. I didn't join in because I wasn't dressed for the party, however ;-) .

For the interested, here's the song:

It was while cleaning up the Castle Craig area that I came upon 2 "Finds of the Week".

I didn't dare go looking for the Cinderella that belonged to these slippers; she'd be in for quite a shock at the prince who found them!

Looks like someone wasn't so enamored of the their job at Burger King.

I finished cleaning up the area, and unlike the Meriden FIre Department employee who couldn't be bothered with taking a bag of trash from Castle Craig, lazy me put the bag in my van and drove it home so Castle Craig would look a little neater.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Heat Is On

That turd dropping gaggle of geese I first encountered in May was spotted on the shores of Merimere Reservoir on Sunday. That's not the only repeat encounter I had this weekend. The goslings have grown quite a bit.

Visit #1082, Saturday 10 June 17, 8:15-10:15AM, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

Thanks to Paul Bernier for joining me this week in keeping the trails clean. Paul and I started earlier than usual because of expected high temps during the weekend.

In the past couple weeks I spotted broken glass on the trails and in the parking lot at West Peak. Our route would take us past all the spots to clean up. Broken glass can especially be a problem for dogs.

We were roughly 2/3 the way to Castle Craig when we stopped to sweep up the first of the glass.

As Paul and I made our way up to Castle Craig, I spotted some new graffiti but I wasn't equipped to deal with it; it would wait until Sunday.

Once at the top, we walked the road over to West Peak. Enroute we found this car front fender part which was abandoned.

I placed it in a visible spot and planned to notify the Meriden Parks Department Monday to pick it up. Hopefully, sticky fingers won't move it, which happens often.

At West Peak, I swept up 3 separate areas of shattered glass and put them in my trash bag. They may not look like much but they were much more unsightly than the photos depict.

Paul and I then followed the trails down and over I-691.

In May I reported about one of the two flags which are typically displayed on the walkbridge over I-691 had been removed. In this case it's the flag over the eastbound lanes. I promised to report when it would be replaced by the mysterious person that installs these flags about the same time each year. Well, this week the missing flag was replaced.

Further on along the walkbridge I spotted some repeat graffiti. I first found and removed the same markings the same week I discovered the missing flag.

Paul and I returned to the park and dropped off our bags of litter for the week.

Later on Saturday I returned to Hubbard Park while on a bike ride and brought my pocket dynamite-sandpaper.

Here's the repeat tag I mentioned above, on the bridge:

Here's a better view from Saturday morning:

And here, it's gone:

I inspected the remainder of the bridge and found some more graffiti:

The other graffiti bugged me enough to pack both a gallon of paint AND spray paint and return to the park Sunday morning. Temps were expected to reach the 80's on Sunday so I got an early start.

I hiked up to the Halfway House and broke out the spray can:

Once dry it should flatten out and fade nicely.

I hiked up to Castle Craig, stopping at the other graffiti spots and taking care of business, perhaps following the path our can of red spray paint did.

Like Rock-Paper-Scissors, Brown covers Red.

And Gray covers White.

I reached the fork in the road to East/West Peak and hoped to find my car part still on the concrete block. Alas; sticky fingers DID get to it and I found it in the road, again.

Here's hoping this time it will stay put until Monday morning.

I walked the road down, around Merimere Reservoir, and back to the park, collecting litter as I walked. I encountered one more spot of graffiti, but this time on the road.

I just beat the heat when I returned to the parking lot.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Visit #1078, Monday 29 May 17 (Memorial Day), 1:50-3:00PM, 3.2 miles.
Temps in the mid-60's, cloudy with drizzle.

Visit #1079, Tuesday 30 May 17, 6:30-6:45PM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the 60's, cloudy with intermittent light drizzle.

Visit #none, Friday 2 June 17, 6:40-6:45PM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

Visit #1080, Saturday 3 June 17, 11:10AM-12:50PM, 3.8 miles.
Temps in the mid 60's, partly sunny.

Visit #1081, Sunday 4 June 17, 7:15-8:00AM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the low 60's, sunny.

Whew; that's a lot of time in Hubbard Park in the last week! I wouldn't do it unless I could combine it with a bike ride, which is what I did on Tuesday and Friday.

After last week's trail search and destroy mission was left incomplete, I just had to return to the renegade trail and find where the trail ended. The light rain kept away people and the bugs, and made for a quiet hike.

 I picked up the trail, continued on from where I left off, and found another ramp the mountain bikers were building.

Only the sharpened eyes of a veteran mountain biker like myself would spot this as a construction. I dismantled it.

The trail eventually disappeared into nothingness, which must mean it was a work-in-progress. Even in the middle of nowhere I managed to find some litter, which I brought back to my car.

During the walk back to my car, I spotted some new graffiti on the railing on the spillway at the north end of Merimere Reservoir. The thought of hiking all the way to the north end of Hubbard Park for five minute's work removing it did not turn me on. But if I combined that with a bike ride I would be thrilled, which is what I did on Tuesday.

Armed with a small but lethal palm-sized piece of sandpaper, I scrubbed it all away.

I only noticed on a subsequent, undocumented mountain bike ride through Hubbard Park later last week that I'd missed other graffiti on the same railing. So that meant another return trip to Hubbard Park, which I did by bike on Friday.

More sandpaper...making a cameo appearance in the right of the photo:

At this point, I was tired of missing all the graffiti so I performed an inspection of the railing on the opposite side of the road. Good thing...

One has to wonder if that's a misspelling of "runner".  No need to worry about it anymore, however.

While I'm doing my thing, this guy was doing his illegal fishing thing in Merimere Reservoir

Alas, after all my graffiti eradication this past week, you would think I wouldn't find any more this weekend. Wrong.

On Saturday I didn't have much planned so I scoured the trails below Castle Craig for litter.

Enroute from the park to the trails, I came upon the recent work of Len, our Hubbard Park vandal.

I rode those trails on my undocumented mountain bike ride through Hubbard Park on Thursday and that wood wasn't there, and I know Len's work like nobody else. The long tree I previously cut up in April of this year. I don't believe the tree rolled across the trail by itself.

The most exciting thing I found on Saturday was Condom #6 of 2017.

I returned to the parking lot and dropped off my bag of trash for the week.

It was while returning to the parking lot and checking out something not documented, that I found our local graffiti vandal(s) "JK" and "Bomb" (I'm beginning to suspect they're the same person) are desperately trying for some sort of immortality as I found their tags on the BACKSIDE of the I-691 bridge supports. Why they would tag a location no one would see is beyond me.

This is roughly the 11th time since 2015 that I've encountered their tags. I returned early Sunday morning armed to the teeth to remove their memorial from even where the public won't see it.

My senses started tingling, and I suspected if I looked behind the OTHER bridge supports, I would find more. Gee; how did I know...

You can see my previous paint job to the right.

"CPR" must have joined "JK" in Hubbard Park as I found both of them on West Peak last week.

I used up the rest of the paint in my tray which is why the covered spot is so large.

And "JK" went bye-bye as well.

Sunday morning's work didn't involve a lot of distance. I finished painting and walked around the retention ponds and back to the park, picking up litter along the way. When I reached the gate across the road, which wasn't opened yet, I found this:

Looks like "Bomb" made a sticker or something similar from a piece of U.S. Postal material.

I actually plan of heading to Hubbard Park today on my bike; that would make it almost daily this past week. I never get tired of it, though.