Monday, July 24, 2017

Digging Up The Past


Just a series of photos spanning West Peak, showing the haze from the mildly humid day.

Visit #1089, Saturday 22 July 17, 0930-1130hrs, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, sunny and mildly humid.

Thanks to Paul Bernier for joining me this week.

After reading a recent article regarding graffiti on a new building on Colony Street,  I was reminded of graffiti problems in Hubbard Park, so I decided to check on some I'd painted over recently at West Peak. That's where todays route would lead.

Paul and I hiked the trails from the parking lot up to Merimere Reservoir and to the Halfway House, where we encountered our Find of the Week.

Someone has planted TWO of these American Chestnut trees in the clearing surrounding the Halfway House. The reason my weekly blog entry is late is because I called the number on the tag hoping to talk to the person who planted the saplings, but they never returned my call.

This isn't the first time someone tried planting chestnut trees in Hubbard Park. In my pre-blog days, November 2008 to be exact, a number of saplings were planted adjacent to the Soap Box Derby Track. Below are archival photos of them.

They didn't survive because the bank they were planted on is mowed by the Parks Department. Oops.

The first attempt at introducting the chestnut trees to Hubbard Park was made by local resident Dick Kearney. While the phone number on the tags I found Saturday didn't lead to Dick, I wonder whether the two incidents are related.

I'll keep an eye on the new plantings and report on their survival.

Paul and I hiked up to West Peak where the graffiti has mostly remained at bay. We cleaned the parking lot and collected enough trash to leave a bag for later pickup.

We took in the panoramic view you see at the top of the post, then hiked our way back to the park and deposited our remaining trash for the week.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Visit #1088, Sunday 16 July 17, 4:15-5:45PM, 3.0 miles.
Temps in the 80's, sunny and dry.

I was on-call so today would be short and I'd be sticking close to the parking lot. I had to keep it simple.

I started walking on the trail behind the daffodils when I came upon this log in the middle of the trail. I'd previously cut this tree after it had fallen across the trail. It certainly wasn't stable when I originally rolled it off-trail, so it probably rolled back on its own. I moved it again.

Further on, I found this:

Looks like an um, quality product to me. From the photos on the package, can you guess who the intended customer base is? From my casual reading, this dope is probably used in a vaporizer, much like vaping nicotine.

I walked the trail to the parking area across from Belmont Avenue. Enroute I stopped to check on the flags on the I-691 walkbridge and discovered they both have been taken. From my records it happened within the past couple weeks.

At the Belmont Avenue trail entrance, I was reminded of a flag I'd seen a couple weeks ago but totally forgot about.

I saluted the flag, made an about-face, and started marching back to the park.

Nearing the northern parking lot, I came upon my Find of the Week.

I had no clue what it was.

My first guess-it was a sex toy. But I quickly discounted that. If it were, I would have recognized it immediately because uh, yeah; I saw one in a book once... ;-)

Then I thought it might be a medical instrument. Then I changed my mind; medical instruments would never be pink.

That's when I realized I was looking at my first selfie stick, although I had no clue how to use it.

I continued on, walking up the Soap Box Derby track. Nestled into some rocks I spied what I thought was the top of a coffee cup, but upon digging it out, discovered it was the smallest letterbox I've ever found in Hubbard Park.

I put it back for YOU to find.

I made a loop out of my walk and returned to the playscape to drop off my bag of trash for the week.
Simple as that.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

21 Reasons

Idyllic weather on Sunday morning in Hubbard Park.

Visit #1087, Sunday 9 July 17, 7:50-10:35AM, 5.3 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny and dry.

I had to finish trimming the roadside to Castle Craig, so a walk on the road to the top would be the agenda for the day.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering changes to Connecticut's bottle law in an attempt to increase revenue and help close the severe budget gap/deficit. I'm all for increasing the bottle deposit from five cents to ten cents OR MORE. It's obvious to me from my work in Hubbard Park that five cents does not seem to encourage compliance, so if litterers are going to throw their money away, then it might as well go to good use. And if compliance increases, then the park will be cleaner and I won't be bending over so much.

To prove my point, I photographed every can and bottle I collected today.
You see them as I found them.

Anyway, I walked the road up toward Castle Craig and trimmed branches along the left side of the road, as I had trimmed the right side already a few weeks ago.

At the top, I hiked the Blue Trail down.

It doesn't look steep in the photo, but it is.

At the bottom I hiked to the Halfway House and removed some graffiti which only needed some brisk rubbing.

Back at the parking lot, I deposited my trash for the week.

Today I also noticed the parks department replaced the non-functioning water fountain at the playscape.

Here's a closeup of the old fountain. Notice that it had a handicapped accessible secondary fountain.

Here's the new fountain. You can see the ghost image of the old fountain on the concrete. I'll presume there's a decorative casing to enclose this, otherwise I don't anticipate it will last long. I wonder whether there will be a replacement handicapped accessible fountain to join this one.

I can tell you one thing; I tested it and it worked nicely.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Graffiti Like Gypsy Moths

Almost as colorful as 4th of July fireworks.

Visit #1086, Saturday 1 July 17, 9:45AM-12:35PM, 5.6 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, sunny.

Gypsy moths have been a real problem this year in Connecticut. While I doubt it's related, graffiti in Hubbard Park has also been a real problem this year. If you won't peruse earlier posts from my blog for proof, then just read this entry.

I was fortunate today to have the help of Paul Bernier in tidying up the trails before the holiday.

We hiked a clockwise loop. I wanted to continue the roadside trimming I started last week by extending my route up to West Peak.

Enroute, Paul stopped in numerous spots to cut back the thorns which grow aggressively in the summer months.

Along the way while picking up trash, I came upon my Find of the Week.

I was hoping to pop one of these babies and do a Timothy Leary imitation, but Paul suggested waiting until I was home, near a couch and able to dial 911 when things went wrong. Before I did however, I did a little research and found DMG was not going "to take me higher".

As we reached the walkbridge over I-691, we ran into a host of new graffiti which wasn't there in the past couple weeks. Fortunately I carried some spray paint which covered it reasonably well.

Both sides of the bridge were tagged. I untagged them.

While I was painting over the graffiti, Paul was removing numerous newly planted stickers from the bridge, and did more pruning.

Done with our maintenance on the bridge, we hiked the trails up to my first planned stop.

Last week I reported finding these rocks mysteriously painted white. I covered them with gray spray paint but the color you see didn't camouflage the rocks well. I may return and try another solution.

We reached the top of the trail and my second planned stop.

I began to use sandpaper to remove the graffiti I found here last week but it was time consuming. Then I realized the gray paint would definitely do the trick quickly.

Paul and I reached the road and walked toward West Peak, picking up trash and trimming roadside branches that get in the way of hikers. Enroute I continued to find graffiti and paint over it.

Same color as the graffiti I found on the walkbridge.

We stopped short of the West Peak parking lot and followed the road to Castle Craig, where we didn't clean up the parking lot but left a full bag of trash for the parks department to collect later.

Paul and I hiked the trails down from Castle Craig back to the park. As we walked by the water treatment plant, I spied the planks I picked up last week and placed against the fence. They still haven't been removed. Go figure.

I caught one more piece of graffiti before we reached the parking lot. "JK" has been mentioned here several times before. He's about as widespread as Gypsy moths, and about as welcome.

We dropped off our trash bags and left to prepare for the holiday. Paul and I plan to keep all our fingers; we hope you do, too.