Sunday, March 30, 2014

No More "Fending Off Boredom"

The last of the season's snow on Hubbard Park's trails.

Visit #856, Thursday 27 March 14

Visit #857, Saturday 29 March 14, 7:15-9:15AM, 5.5 miles.
Temps in the high 40's, impending rain this afternoon.

Last week I reported finding an orphaned letterbox and taking it home, in the hope of contacting the caretaker. By the way, here are the contents:

I did not get a reply, so I took it upon myself to follow the clues to the letterbox and try to place it back in its home. This is actually the very first time I've "gone letterboxing" or in my case, REVERSE letterboxing. I snatched the directions from the web site and with a little time before work one day last week, returned the letterbox to its rightful home-I hope.

 I covered it with some branches to make it less conspicuous to the casual observer, and I was done.

I'm also pleased to report the bag of trash and vinyl siding scraps I left at the gate across from Belmont Avenue last week were collected, thanks to the Meriden Parks Department.

On Thursday I decided to take a short mountain bike ride through the park to scope out some of the trails and give me an idea of where I should focus my labors the coming weekend. With the end of the snow and the warming temps, there is definitely an uptick in activity on Hubbard Park's trails as evidenced by the amount of trash I spied. That likely means for the rest of the season I won't be bored and hopefully neither will you, dear reader.

 After my short ride, I knew where to find the goods this weekend, as you shall shortly see.

On Saturday, knowing I'd likely wind up with a heavy load, I left my first, partially filled bag of trash at the water treatment plant.

I then hiked my way to all the trails below Castle Craig, planning a route with as little doubling back as possible. My main objective was the Halfway House. During my recon on Thursday, I'd discovered someone apparently spent the night there; someone who is not in very good health.

The night guest, who is a Meriden resident I'll only reveal as "Martin" from his abandoned prescription bottles (full name redacted from the labels), left his blanket and a leather jacket at the Halfway House.

He also felt he no longer needed to treat his epilepsy,

...nor his skin conditions,

But at least he followed good sterile protocols while caring for himself.

All this was too much for one trash bag so I wound up carrying 2 bags for the remainder of my counterclockwise trip.

Even though it looks wet outside in the photos, it wasn't raining at the time. My early start enabled me to beat the rainfall as was part of my plan.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who's The Nut Job?

Mirror Lake on a raw, early March Sunday morning.

Visit #855, Sunday 23 March 14, 7:25-9:15AM, 4.2 miles.
Temps in the low 30's, overcast.

Only a nut job would leave a perfectly warm bed early on a cold Sunday morning to pick up trash. Well, I guess I qualify! But what would make me so nutty?

Milan-San Remo, that's what.

Milan-San Remo is the first "classic" single day bike race on the european professional racing calendar. Held along the coast of Italy and 182 miles long, this is usually a race suited for the sprinters, and today's edition was no exception.

And I wasn't the only nut job as today's Milan-San Remo was held in a constant, raw, rain and only nut jobs would race, let alone ride, in such weather.

Enjoy the final kilometers:

I wanted to get home early enough to watch the race on the internet so I shifted into nut job mode (which some would argue is normal for me anyway) and got an early start on my duties.

I was on-call so I stuck close to the park, starting adjacent to the playground and walking west, covering all the trails on the south side of I-691. By the time I reached West Main Street, across from Belmont Ave., I had a full bag of trash. I also discovered the lock to the gate had been cut. I left the bag, and stacked some vinyl siding I found lying nearby. I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department to pick everything up and put a new lock on the gate.

I turned around and pointed myself back toward the park. Enroute I discovered a letterbox that was apparently left in the open (they're usually discreetly placed). Not knowing where it belonged, I took it home and did a little internet sleuthing. Once I learned the identity of the owner, I e-mailed them to see whether they want me to "best guess" where it belongs from the directions, or place it somewhere for the owner to return it to its rightful location. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Back at the park, I found the unusual leftovers of a fire someone had perhaps started in one of the fireplaces.

Who knew there was an alternative spelling for "chimneys"?!

I stopped at my truck, dropped off the box and my second bag of trash, then opened a third. I walked from the Soap Box Derby Trail up to the reservoir then turned around (I didn't want to be late for Milan-San Remo!) and walked the road back to the park, depositing my collection for the day.

Quiz question: So who won Milan-San Remo this year?!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Winter That Just Won't Go Away

Looks like Merimere Reservoir will have ice in April. Amazing.

Visit #854, Saturday 15 March 14, 2:35-4:10PM, 4.3 miles.
Temps in the high 30's with a high, raw wind.

I walked the road almost all the way to Castle Craig then hiked a trail down and over I-691 and back to the park. Walking on the snow covered trails is slow and messy.

Trash remains light as the weather and snow covered trails deter most foot traffic.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Slow March of Spring

The snow that just won't go.

Visit #853, Sunday 9 March 14, 2:55-4:35PM, 3.3 miles.
Temps in the 30's with a raw wind. Sunny.

The snow lingers on the trails, limiting traffic and trash.

I walked a clockwise loop and saw no reason trekking far and wide; there would be little to find.

Most of the trash I picked up this week was in fact from within the park, including a flat screen TV that was dumped there. Who would have thought this technology was disposable already?

I may give the trails a few more weeks of a break before I return to them.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fending Off Boredom

Just a few geese waiting for some free grub.

Visit #852, Sunday 2 March 14, 11:05AM-12:15PM, 2.9 miles.
Temps in the low 40's, cloudy.

The last few weeks have been spent policing trails covered in snow. Snow covered trails tend to dissuade people from hiking on them, so litter is not to be found. You'd think I'd be happy. Instead, I'm bored. I shouldn't complain...

So to fight the boredom of not finding litter on the trails, I stepped outside my boundaries this week and stayed within the park proper. I walked all the roads in Hubbard Park that were free of snow and picked up trash.

From the lower pond to the playground, the water treatment plant, the former greenhouse, and around Mirror Lake, I managed to rack up almost 3 miles in just over an hour.