Saturday, September 28, 2013

Primo Hiking Weather Is Here

Visit #821, Saturday 28 September 13, 9:40-11:15AM, 3.5 miles.
Temps in the mid-60's, sunny.

Yeah, the leaves are dropping like a bad rumor. Temps are perfect and the sun is bright. Why aren't you out there?!

Having spent the last few weekends cleaning up the road sides to the Castle and West Peak, I had to get  my butt back onto the trails where it belongs. I covered most of the trails below the Castle. There were quite a few people out on the trails despite the relatively early hour.

I walked a clockwise loop from the parking lot, over I-691, on to the reservoir, and back via the soap box derby track. On the way, I trimmed back some thorn bushes which were encroaching upon the trails.

I spotted these various berries and thought they'd make colorful photographs:

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


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not "Nipped" in the Bud


Fall colors are just emerging. View from the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

Visit #822, Sunday 22 September 13, 9:10-11:15AM, 2.4 miles. Temps in the low 70's, clearing skies after overnight and morning rain.

I thought for sure I'd be able to sleep in today and have a pass on my weekly duties since it was still raining at 4AM. But the morning light pushed in a high pressure front and cleared the area, leaving me few excuses.

Last week's report found me walking from the Castle down the road to the sharp bend at the bottom. This week I started at the park and walked the road to meet where I left off last week.

During my sessions in the park, I often notice trends, patterns, or habits of people as judged by the trash they leave. One that sticks in my mind is, when I walk the road I often find those small bottles of alcohol called "nips". Too many times I decide I'll count the number I pick up only to forget my decision and lose track. I also suspect dear reader, that you'd probably not believe what I tell you.

So this week I came up with another of my brilliant ideas and photographed every nip bottle I found. So, for your weekly entertainment, here's my collection from walking the road roughly half way from the park to the Castle...

I'm inclined to believe, by the number of Smirnoff bottles that they originated from the same person, but I'm not paying for DNA testing to prove my theory.

By the time I reached the turnaround point, I'd collected a heavy bag of trash.

Since the road was open, I left it there and retrieved it with my car after I returned to the park. I opened another bag and walked back to the park, picking up trash from the opposite side of the road as I did last week.

Back at the park, I deposited my second bag of trash, then headed back up the road in my car to collect the first bag, nipping in the bud any possibility of people being offended by the sight of a bag of garbage on the side of the road. BA DA BUM!

Fall is here so get out and enjoy the perfect temperatures.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

From The Top

Today's view of Mirror Lake from just below the Castle.

Visit #819, Saturday 14 September 13, 1:00-3:30PM, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the 70's; another silly beautiful dry, sunny day.

Virtually every visit to Hubbard Park I start at the parking lot by the pool. Today, the space between my ears was replaced with a brilliant thought; why not start at the top?

I was on-call so I had use of the company truck. The road to the Castle was open. I had ridden my bike up to West Peak and East Peak earlier in the week and noticed too much trash on both sides of the road.

The cogs in my head started to turn...

My bike ride up to West Peak on Tuesday revealed the TV's and trash bag I left near the parking lot had not been picked up yet by the Meriden Parks Department, and critters had already started clawing their way into the bag. A friendly e-mail to Mark Zebora and somewhere in the interim between then and today, the mess was hauled away. Thanks!

I parked at the Castle parking lot and policed up the perimeter and nearby surrounding grounds. There was a constant stream of vehicles coming and going. Despite the amount of time I spend in Hubbard Park, I had no idea the area around the Castle was so popular.

That's my truck on the far right.

I walked the road all the way down to the bottom of the climb cleaning up one side, then turned around and walked back up, cleaning up the other side of the road. When a bag was filled, I left it.

After returning to the parking lot at the Castle, I retrieved my truck and as I drove down, I stopped and picked up all the bags. That way there would be nothing unsightly for park visitors to see.

In the end, I collected 5 bags of trash and one hub cap.

Sometimes a plan just comes together!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Television, the Drug of the Nation

Visit #818, Sunday 8 September 13, 1:30-3:35PM, 5.2 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, perfectly sunny and dry.

Little known fact; I don't own a TV. My disdain for it was stimulated today.

The Blue Trail cuts across West Peak and the radio towers. I wanted to clean up the Blue Trail on the far side of the radio towers for about 100 yards.

I took the walkbridge over I-691 and hiked directly up to West Peak. On a silly gorgeous day like today, it still had fewer visitors than over at the Castle, which made the area peaceful as well.

On the way up the steep Blue Trail, I found the remains of a snake burlesque show.

Once at the peak, I cleaned up the area around the rocks, the nearby trails, and the western perimeter of the parking lot. I was pressed for time and all the cars were parked along the parking lot's eastern edge so I left that alone.

At the entrance of the parking lot I deposited my first garbage bag even though it wasn't quite full. I expected to find enough trash on the Blue Trail beyond the radio towers to fill a second bag. My plans were soon scuttled.

At the trail head I found someone had dumped 2 CRT televisions and a computer monitor. The largest, a 32" TV, was too heavy to carry so I had to drag it about 200 yards to join my first bag of garbage. This consumed precious time.

Obviously, the people that dumped the TVs have watched too much of the drug of the nation, which can lead to this behavior.

I left the pile for the Meriden Parks Department to pick up after I notify them.

I walked the road to the trail down otherwise known as The Virgin Mary. Once down below, I took the  main trail to the Halfway House, headed down to the reservoir, then back to the park via the Soap Box Derby track.

Back at the park, I deposited my 2nd bag of trash.

You can now return to your normal program, already in progress...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Labors

Visit #817, Sunday 1 September 13, 9:30AM-1:15PM, 6.9 miles.
Temps in the 80's, cloudy, with humidity over 80%.

The humidity made this the 2nd "sweatfest" of the season. I received a report last week of a fallen hemlock across a trail and, along with some unfinished work, wanted to bring the chainsaw and take care of it all in one shot.

The Red Dot trail parallels the road to the Castle on the eastern side of the road, and that was where my first objective was. I took the walkbridge over the highway and it was a long trek uphill to the start of the trail.

Once on the Red Dot it was all downhill to the reservoir where I not only found the tree of report but another one as well.





Off the trail and back onto the road, I was amazed at the amount of trash I'd collected in such a relatively short hike on particularly lightly used trails. I had to drop my first trash bag at the north end of the reservoir and start a second bag:

I performed some other "freebie" chainsaw work on the Blue Trail from Hubbard Park to the Chamberlain Highway then did an about face and returned to the park.

I then pointed myself back toward the park proper via the road. The Meriden Parks Department apparently trimmed back the brush from the roadside, which revealed a lot of hidden trash. I didn't even reach halfway back to the park when I had to leave my second bag of trash, in a cooler I'd found abandoned in the brush as well.

I filled my third and last bag by the time I reached the playground.

While there, I noticed the lower tiered water fountain has a plugged drain.

With my labor done, it was time to enjoy the rest of my Labor Day holiday. I hope you enjoy yours as well!