Sunday, January 26, 2014

Amusing Myself

A cold day awaits the runners at tomorrow's Tradition Run.

With the cold weather and snow covering the ground, I didn't expect much traffic or litter on the trails so I walked the road to Castle Craig to  make sure it was clean prior to tomorrow's Tradition Run. Light snow with maybe 1" accumulation was forecast for Saturday night, and Sunday's temps would be in the 20's. The results will be a lot of runners' and walkers' stories for those that braved the weather to participate.

Obviously, I wasn't going to find much trash myself, so I used the opportunity to amuse myself with a couple minor graffiti/housekeeping chores in the back of my book. I stopped at the hardware store and bought a couple cans of spray paint.

I've participated in the Tradition Run before and can testify that the last pitch is a brutal slog.

At Castle Craig, I followed the trail down and tended to my first piece of graffiti.

Even within this semi-sheltered area the wind was gusting pretty stiffly, directing my paint other than where it needed to go. While it looks glossy in the photo, it should dry flat.

I followed the trails to the walkbridge over I-691 and tackled the last couple spots of graffiti on my agenda.

Update: in last week's post I dragged a piece of highway garbage back to the park and mistakenly thought it was picked up later the same day. I was wrong. I'll report its presence to the Meriden Parks Department and ask them to pick it up.

My piddly small bag of trash for the week:

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Kindness of Others Part II

Winter sunrise from the Halfway House.

Visit #845, Saturday 18 January 14, 2:20-4:40PM, 4.9 miles.
Temps in the high 30's, sporadic snow showers, no accumulation.

Visit #846, Monday 20 January 14, 7:15-8:30AM, 2.75 miles.
Temps in the mid-30's, mostly cloudy.

Last week's route took me down hill from West Peak, where I discovered a small tree had fallen across the trail. It was still rooted to the ground and try as I may I couldn't break the bond.

This week's fun would take me back to the spot to finish the job.

The tree in question, and the tool of choice.

Five minutes of manual labor and the trail was good again.

Once up at West Peak, I walked the road toward Castle Craig. It would be my final session to make the area surrounding the Castle look nice in advance of the Tradition Run.

Since it was snowing lightly, when I discovered these ATV tracks, I knew they were recent. I wondered whether I would encounter any ATVs. Hmmm...

I took care of business at Castle Craig then walked the trail down. No sooner did I reach level ground when my wondering whether I'd see any ATVs was answered.

They were heading west on the Main Trail toward Southington. They must have ridden a loop because the gate at the south end of Merimere Reservoir was securely locked.

No matter how many times I'd walked past the Halfway House, I failed to see these tubes which I presume were left over from fireworks launching. I didn't have enough room to carry them all back to the park so I left three in plain sight, planning to return on Monday to retrieve the remainder.

Reaching Merimere Reservoir, I came upon Interesting Find of the Week #1:

So we know they vacationed at Disney Land/World but did they camp/shower in Hubbard Park?

It didn't take long before Interesting Find of the Week #1 was upstaged by #2!

I reached the park and dropped off my er, booty.

I returned early Monday morning, Martin Luther King Day, to retrieve the remainder of the black tubes.  Upon reaching the Halfway House, I discovered they were gone. Perhaps the work of another kind person who hikes in Hubbard Park. With that off the agenda, I walked down to the reservoir and back via the Soap Box Derby Track. With the extra time I decided to check something else off my To-Do list.

This large piece of highway debris has been lying around for years. I weighs probably 150 lbs. and was an eyesore.

I dragged it back to the park adjacent to the gate. I planned on notifying the Meriden Parks Department to pick it up.

But that same afternoon around 3:30PM as I routed my way through the park on my bike, I discovered the junk was gone. Work of another kind person, perhaps?

Interesting Find of the Week #3 was this unopened can of Crazy Stallion beer.

What made this find interesting was there were TWO cans in the bag and one was empty; beer drinkers don't usually toss their suds. I can only imagine the drinker discovered Crazy Stallion beer is otherwise known as Canned Bathwater. From the reviews I read online, it's pretty close.

I added the can to the mix and dropped off my last bag of the week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Kindness of Others

Looking east from West Peak.

Visit #844, Sunday 12 January 14, 10:00AM-12:40PM, 6.2 miles.
Temps in the low 40's, mostly cloudy.

Picking up trash can wear you down, but every once in a while something happens that rejuvenates my faith in man.

I thought the trails would be too muddy to navigate today and I hadn't been up to West Peak in a while so I chose to walk the road all the way up, collecting trash as I walked. Also, with the Tradition Run coming up soon, it'd be nice to have the route looking clean; next week I'll clean around Castle Craig to complete the course.

I had about half a bag after crossing the north end of Merimere Reservoir and at the rate I was going, thought I'd have to leave it somewhere and start another one. For various reasons, I prefer to not do that if I can.

Just then I ran into Jack Clancy, a local and regular walker in Hubbard Park. Out of the blue he asks if I'd like for him to carry my bag of trash back to the park. Boy, I sure would! Faith in humanity restored.
Thanks, Jack.

This freed me up to start a second bag which would probably last the distance to West Peak and back to the park. It did. I cleaned up the parking lot at West Peak and the peak itself, then made my way down and back to the park via the I-691 walkbridge.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year, And Well On My Way To World Domination

A unique view of Castle Craig from the steep slope below.

Visit #842, Tuesday 31 December 13, 12:35-2:20PM, 3.0 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, mostly sunny.

Visit #843, Wednesday 1 January 14, 2:05-4:05PM, 2.2 miles.
Temps in the high 20's, clouding up prior to a 6" snowfall.

I'm proud to say that with the arrival of the new year, this blog has reached 1000 views. Next will be my IPO. Move over, Facebook and Twitter; here I come!

This week was similar to last week in that the holiday meant more time off from work and more opportunity to tend to the park.

As you can see from the photo above, the slope below Castle Craig is steep. It's also comprised of large, loose rock. Walking on it is treacherous. During the course of the year, too many people toss their empty bottles and cans from Castle Craig, and the litter can become an eyesore when viewed from the trail adjacent to the slope. Now is the perfect time of year to clean it up.

It was perhaps my 5th or 6th visit to the slope in almost as many weeks. And a profitable one as well. For strangely enough, as far off-trail as I was combined with all the rocks, I managed to find a quarter.

And that's not all; while returning to the park after my work, I came into another windfall; a dollar among the leaves.

Another thing I noticed while returning to the park: the lock at the south end of Merimere Reservoir, which I had reported being cut TWICE in almost as many weeks, has been replaced thanks to the Meriden Parks Department.

Here's hoping third time's a charm.

This will likely be the last bag of trash I collect from the slope for the season.

I returned on New Years Day to police up a patch of land before the predicted snowfall. People park around the perimeter of the playscape and toss their empty containers and other trash over the fence, onto the hillside adjacent to I-691. I was able to make quick work of the strip of land on the left in the photo.

I finished so soon that I took the time to pick up trash on both sides of that road WITHIN the park. It would be buried under snow by tomorrow, so now would be the time to do it. I collected 7 bags of trash and a few larger items, and stacked them in a convenient spot for the parks crew to pick them up.

By the time you read this the ground may be obscured by snow and forcing me to take a vacation from my work, delaying my world domination...