Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Visit #1218, Saturday 26 October 19, 6:40-9:15AM, 3.0 miles, 3.1lbs. of litter.
Temps in the high 50's, sunny. That is, after the sun RISES!

First, in reference to the painted rocks I continue to find along the trails. An informed blog follower told me this local trend began in Wallingford, although I can't find any reference to it.

In a recent blog post, I lamented the graffiti being painted on the road in conjunction with the many fundraising walks/runs that take place in Hubbard Park and around Merimere Reservoir. Also last week, I tried covering the graffiti with spray paint but it wasn't very effective. I returned this week to do a better job.

I started before sunrise so the paint would have a chance to dry before any early morning walkers/joggers/cyclists passed by. Believe it or not, I saw all three, before 7:30 in the morning! Coincidentally, there was an actual running event being held on Saturday; I can only hope the paint dried in time!

I drove to the location of the farthest graffiti I was aware of, and worked my way back toward the park. It was so dark when I began that I had to use my camera's flash to capture the photos.

Here you can see where I tried with spray paint a couple weeks ago, but ran out of paint.

I returned to the park a painted over the last sign.

I then turned my attention back to the trails, hiking a short counterclockwise route from Merimere Reservoir to the I-691 walkbridge and back to the park.

It was while cleaning up the recent wind damage on the trails that I discovered this hanging branch, but at that time my travels didn't take me to this spot. This week I was able to trim the low branches.

On the return leg to the parking lot, I found a watch cap. I'll wash it and drop it off at Goodwill. This is the perfect time of year to start wearing one, so someone should get a good bargain.

I returned to the park and dropped off my trash for the week.

Next week, the road to East/West Peak will be closed for the season, making it more enjoyable for the many people who use the road for recreation.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Windy City

There's a squirrel buffet in Hubbard Park. 'Tis the season to start hoarding.

Visit #1217, Sunday 20 October 19, 7:45-10:15AM, 5.1 miles, 2.9lbs. of litter.
Temps in the 40's and rising quickly, sunny.

Two weeks ago, Meriden experienced some high winds, felling some branches and trees as I discovered on last week's hike.

Well, while I was away this past week in the Original Windy City, Chicago, Meriden was fighting to lay claim to that title as I learned upon my return. High winds and rain meant possibly more fallen trees and such, so I thought it would be wise to check out the trails in advance of Sunday's hike.

On Saturday I rode my mountain bike in Hubbard Park to inspect the trails to help plan Sunday's route.

I did find a couple fallen trees I was previously unaware of, which made the ride worthwhile. The weather on Saturday made it enjoyable.

On Sunday I arrived with my chainsaw to take care of business, and ran into a fundraising walk for liver cancer. It was a mob scene, which I suppose is a good thing if it supports efforts to end liver cancer.

I hiked up to the south end of Merimere Reservoir, to the first fallen tree, which I discovered last week. The event organizers were setting up a checkpoint along the road, as you can see by the van in the background.

I diced this tree up and cast the pieces aside, and hikers quickly took advantage of the open trail.

I followed the trails below Castle Craig to my next tree. On Saturday, I was able to move part of it as it broke while doing so. The stub sticking in the trail had to go.


Still on this trail, I came upon yet another of the many painted rocks I continue to find along the trails. This rock is giving us a little clue as to who's behind the work and where they're from.

Up I hiked, to the road leading to Castle Craig. I turned onto another trail that leads down to Merimere Reservoir, in search of the last of the fallen trees. Along the way, I discovered a very old campsite. What caught my eye was a cinder block, which was pretty much the only cinder block within a mile, perhaps the radio equipment buildings at West Peak. Situated as it was next to a ring of stones, it must have been used as seating. Look at the lower left of the photo, and you'll see the rusted remnant of a can, presumably formerly containing food. I have to wonder how long ago this little campfire site was used, and how far they carried the cinder block.

I reached the last tree, cut it up, and easily flipped the stump out of the way.

Reaching the north end of Merimere Reservoir, I walked the road back to the park.

Along the way, I ran smack dab into the multitudes of fundraising walkers, some wearing Halloween costumes.

The organizers used signage to mark the route versus spray paint on the road, which I complained about last week.

I reached the park and dropped off my trash for the week.

By the way, the foliage was near peak on Sunday, and forecasters predict it will peak sometime this week. Do get out there and enjoy the colors of autumn!

Sunday, October 13, 2019


 Visit #1216, Sunday 13 October 19, 7:40-11:20AM, 5.1 miles, 15.6lbs. of litter.
Temps in the low 60's, sunny and pleasant.

Last week I noticed a lot of spray painting on the road from the park, around Merimere Reservoir. Most of this is the result of charity running/walking events. While I understand the intent, the more the painting accrues, the more it becomes an eyesore.

I took it upon myself to paint over the markings this week, but found spray painting over other spray painting was ineffective. I'll probably return with a better approach in a few weeks.

I'm going to suggest to the city they tell event organizers use removable signage or chalk for their route markings.

Here I tried using gray spray paint over the existing marking. It did not blend in the road to my satisfaction. Besides, I ran out of paint...

Along the road I found this exhaust pipe. Rather than leave it for someone to pick up later, I carried it for the rest of my hike as sort of a workout exercise.

This seemed to be the week to find artistic rocks. I have found similar artifacts in the past.

My other goal today was to clean up litter tossed into the spillways at the north end of Merimere Reservoir. I had to wait until the spillways were dry, which occurs maybe once a year.

 I picked up the trail and hiked up toward Castle Craig. Along the way, I found a tree fallen across the trail. This means next week will be a Power Tool Weekend!

Aurora lost her goldfish. I set them free.

Reaching Castle Craig, I cleaned up the parking lot then followed the trails down. At the Halfway House I found yet another painted rock, this one in the form of that awful sweet, candy corn.
Clever, but yuck!

At the south end of Merimere Reservoir on the main trail I found another fallen tree. You can see from the photo how close it is to the road. I had forgotten about the high winds we had last week. This fallen tree extends far to the left of the photo.  A second fallen tree makes it easier to justify carrying the chainsaw next week.

 I can't wait for next week's chainsaw filled revelry!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Peace and Quiet

Rain would be a threat all day Sunday, but it came to nothing.

Visit #1215, Sunday 6 October 19, 9:20AM-12:10PM, 5.2 miles, 19.6lbs. of litter.

I was craving some peace and quiet on Sunday, so I chose a hiking route that would take me far from the noise and commotion of urban life. Hubbard Park has many trails that can fill my prescription, and yours.

I gathered my gear and quickly hiked over I-691, distancing myself from the drone and rumble of highway traffic. I hiked up to West Peak,  where I covered over some graffiti a couple weeks ago. I wasn't satisfied with the color I had at the time, so I returned with spray paint that was a better match.

It will dry to a flat finish and be almost indistinguishable from the pre-existing brown.

I picked up trash around the area then headed to a much quieter trail. So quiet, you could hear the remnants of the Big Bang.

On the way down, I came across some rare, Woodland Oysters. As oysters migrate south for the winter, they will make stops along the way when they get tired of flying and want to bed down for the night. Problem is, while resting they are subject to predators as this unfortunate flock discovered.  😏

Just before reaching the road, I found this stool on the trail. How it got there or why, I don't know.

It was light enough to carry back, but now I had both hands full.

Further on, I found this slug picking up some vegetables at the farmer's market.

Back to the noise of civilization, I quietly dropped off my trash for the day.

P.S. Did you get your Halloween candy yet? I did, and if I keep sampling it to ensure its quality, there won't be any left for the trick or treaters!