Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Same Old Stuff

Contrasting to last week, this week's clear skies gave you a real view.

Visit #1099, Sunday 24 September 17, 7:20-10:10AM, 6.0 miles.
Temps in the 70's, reaching an unheard of for fall mid-80's today, sunny and mildly humid.

During last week's hike, I noticed some graffiti on the ironwork inside Castle Craig, where I rarely go. I also noticed trash in the spillways at the north end of Merimere Reservoir. Hiking the same route as last week was the only way to tackle both, so the agenda was cast in stone.

And good thing, too. Because in the past week, a tree had fallen into the trail at the South end of Merimere Reservoir. Had I hiked a different route today I might not have found this tree.

While a chainsaw is needed to remove this properly (that'll come next week), all I had with me were loppers and hedge clippers. I trimmed it as best I could with the tools on hand, and will leave the heavy work for later.

At the Halfway House, I checked on my defoliation of the perimeter. Looks good.

Reaching Castle Craig, I planned on spending some quality time painting over graffiti on the iron work. But my plans were quickly thwarted by early morning hikers visiting Castle Craig. Who the hell is in Hubbard Park hiking so early?!

I had a can of black spray paint burning a hole in my stash that I wanted to expend, but it wasn't going to happen here, or today.


I did what I could. Here is just one before/after shot.

I also removed stickers where I could.

I pointed myself down toward Merimere Reservoir. Enroute, I came upon my Find of the Week, gauze and a bandage, complete with oozing body fluids, oh boy!

To help you recover from that disgusting photo, I treat you to a heron looking for breakfast while perched on "The Alligator" at the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

The only way to access the spillways at the north end of the reservoir is to wait until they are dry, and approach from the reservoir side. I picked up all the trash and discovered some graffiti.

Not only did these rank amateur graffiti artists tag something no one else is going to see (What's the point of graffiti is no else will see it?), their parents' tax dollars were wasted: Not only could they not spell "authority", they left out not just one, but TWO letters!

With that can of spray paint still itching to go to work, I haphazardly covered up the graffiti for no other reason but to expend the can. Some day when I have real graffiti to cover, I'll revisit this and cover it properly.

There was more of this in the spillway, but you get the idea.

I returned to the park surprised I collected so much litter considering I hiked the exact same route last week.

It's expected to be fabulously warm today as well as through mid-week, so get out there and partake of it!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Unexpected Surprises

It was a warm and muggy Saturday morning.

Visit #1098, Saturday 16 September 17, 7:40-10:35AM, 5.9 miles.
Temps in the 70's; foggy, humid and warm.

Is today's title redundant?!

Every hike in Hubbard Park offers up something unexpected, and is a good reason to keep coming back.

I hiked up to Merimere Reservoir and up to the Halfway House, to check on my defoliation work. No surprise there; I only sprayed the area a few weeks ago when the litmus test will come next year.

It was a sweaty slog up to Castle Craig. On the trail up I came upon some graffiti. Although minor, it was an eyesore. I was prepared with spray paint.

At Castle Craig I did something I rarely do; climb the stairs to the top. With the chowder-like fog there wasn't much of a view beyond the flagpole.

So, I didn't stick around and left to clean up the road down to Merimere Reservoir. I immediately noticed the foliage is starting to encroach on the road again.

I took 10 minutes, and my loppers, and trimmed up the strip.

The road down was fog shrouded but cooler because I wasn't working hard, and I was walking downhill. In light of the conditions, I planned it that way.

And there were more unexpected surprises.

While picking up trash along the banks of Merimere Reservoir, I was surprised by your garden variety empty bag of dope.

But the biggest surprise was down at the north gate near Merimere Reservoir.

That bollard was recently installed to inhibit motorcycles and maybe mopeds from traversing the park after hours. I've seen this happen quite a bit, most recently in April. I've seen GROUPS of riders pass through after hours to hang out at the peaks.

The gap was easily wide enough to pass the state budget.

At that time in April I had suggested to Chris Bourdon at the Meriden Parks Department to close the gap. While the design doesn't seem quite moped-proof, it should do well to deter motorcycles. We'll keep an eye on it. Hats off to the Chris and the Meriden Parks Department for their effort!

I walked the road back to the parking lot, picking up trash as I went, and that was no surprise.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Have Paint, Will Travel

The clouds and sky tell the story; it was a day so glorious you needed to just sit and look stupid.

Visit #1097, Saturday 9 September 17, 2:30-4:30PM, 2.2 miles.

After last week's graffiti hunting expedition, I thought I'd better check on the rocks at West Peak which have repeatedly been covered in graffiti in the past few years.

Unfortunately, I was not disappointed.

(Interesting side note: I was at Walmart on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington this week. In the hardware section, the spray paint is behind glass, under lock and key. Gee; I wonder why?...)

I was on-call, so rather than hike to West Peak, I drove. This enabled me to carry two different colors of paint, a bonus.

Here's what I found.

These genius graffiti artists must be new to the practice for they actually put both first and last names up. I wonder if Canty and Olivia should get a visit from the local constabulary...

I had to plan the order of painting so I wouldn't paint myself into a corner.

After the painting was complete, I returned and policed the parking lot and trails of trash. Then drove over to Castle Craig.


I'd previously covered over some graffiti on the klieg lights at Castle Craig, even though 2 of the housings no longer contained lamps. I mentioned that maybe they would look better if I completely painted them. Well, now was as good a time as any.

Not complete jobs but better than nothing.

Afterwards I cleaned up the parking lot and surrounding area. Since I drove up to Castle Craig, I was able to take my trash bags with me.

But I wasn't done for the weekend.

While at Castle Craig on Saturday, I spotted graffiti on the electrical transformer cabinet. I didn't feel like opening my paint can again and totally forgot I had other means to remove it. So I returned on Sunday with spray paint to finish off what I started.

During today's drive to the peaks, I got a pleasant surprise.

This new sign is PERFECT. I can't tell you the number of people I've had to direct to the correct peak. My compliments To Chris Bourdon and the Parks Department for the sign.

The question is, was it installed with tamper-proof bolts...

I leave you this week with another photo that should prompt you to just sit and look stupid.