Sunday, January 14, 2018


View from Castle Craig. Mirror Lake in the distance; the Halfway House on the left. You can also see the main trail, with heavy snow runoff, in the foreground.

Visit #1118, Saturday 13 January 18, 10:30AM-2:55PM, 6.5 miles.
Temps in the 20's, sunny and breezy.

Well; last week's 9" snowfall was certainly short-lived. Daily temps last week reached the 50's, resulting in a drastic change in scenery.

With the Tradition Run being scheduled for Sunday, I thought I'd do a nice deed and make sure the road to Castle Craig would be clear of litter and any fallen trees or branches, which would be the result of Friday night's high winds. When I read of some electrical outages due to the wind, I knew it would be prudent to check out the possibility of storm damage. I also planned on removing the fallen tree I found last week on the trail near West Peak.

My hike started facing the wind and it was a raw wind, indeed.

You can see last week's melt retracted the ice sheet over Merimere Reservoir.

Just past Echo Point, I ran into the first tree which was leaning into the road. I'd noticed it previously but didn't consider it enough of an eyesore to require immediate attention. Today was different.

First I got it on the ground.

Then I cut it short.

More massive sheets of broken ice, the result of last week's thawing.

One brook which flows into Merimere Reservoir was flowing massively (cut me some literary slack here!). Usually this time of year it just runs like some senior, post-urinary drip...

Up the road was small branch which had fallen on the guardrail.

While cutting it up, one of the several runners I encountered that day came by. One wonders whether they were reconnoitering in advance of tomorrow's run.

I continue to find massive amounts of religious tracts at various places along the road. These over-zealous religious vandals even bother to bring pushpins to post their wares. I wonder if Jesus' disciples used pushpins?

Up the road I walked, picking up litter revealed now that the snow is gone. Near West Peak I left the road and hiked a direct route through the woods to the massive fallen tree.

Despite expending all the remaining fuel in my chainsaw, I could not complete the two cuts I made in an attempt to drop the tree to the ground. This dead, "punk" wood doesn't cut easily, either. Not only was the tree larger than my 16" chainsaw bar, I was also constrained by the water surrounding the trail as I didn't want to get my feet ice cold wet. So I left the job unfinished. I do have a plan to return next week, AND keep my feet dry in the process. Stay tuned.

I returned to the road and walked to Castle Craig. As I cleaned up the area, I came upon my Find of the Week.

I found this ham radio antenna, complete with coax cable and tuning capacitor, nestled in the rocks near the flagpole. I usually have a higher opinion regarding ham radio operators. After this, I'm not so sure. I moved the antenna to the spot you see so hopefully it will be collected in the morning in advance of the Tradition Run.

Taking the trails down from Castle Craig and back to the park, I continued to find religious tracts from our misguided evangelical.

Obviously not confident enough in their faith to leave their mailing label with their name and address attached, so I could contact them and discuss religion further.

Animals still need to eat during the winter.

I returned to the parking lot surprised at the massive amount of litter I picked up, considering the time of year and seasonal weather.

As I sit here typing, I see temps for the Tradition Run will be in the teens. The road to Castle Craig will sure be clean, but it will be cold, too!

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