Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kickin' Back

Visit #960, Saturday 27 June 15, 12:00-4:00PM, 6.9 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, with rain expected to begin late in the afternoon.

During the week I called a trusted informant who frequents Hubbard Park to see if any of the trails suffered tree damage as a result of last week's storm. I was told the trails were clear, which saved a lot of time on my part inspecting them for fallen trees and branches.

 The same source told me there was a lot of trash in both the West Peak and Castle Craig parking lots. Now I had an agenda.

Early Saturday morning, 6:30AM in fact, I struck out on my mountain bike to ride in Hubbard Park and check out some other trails for storm damage. While the trails were clear, I found what would be my Find of the Week near the radio towers at West Peak. That firmed up the route I'd take today.

From the parking lot I walked to Merimere Reservoir and picked up the trails to Castle Craig. At the Castle, I cleaned up the parking lot and surrounding area and left my first bag of trash.

I then walked the road to West Peak to retrieve that Find of the Week.

This must be someone's idea of "kicking back in Hubbard Park".

The early morning mountain bike ride paid off because seeing what I was up against I knew what to bring with me to make moving this recliner easier.

Just like last week, I used my handy-dandy comealong strap to assist.

I engaged in a little "Anytime Fitness" workout, performing a loooong set of cable rows.

This was easier than just plain dragging the recliner as it kept the chair from toppling over.
After roughly 200 feet, I reached the parking lot. I gave my second bag of trash a comfortable perch.

I then proceeded to clean up the parking lot, depositing a third bag of trash in the same cushy spot.

At this point it was starting to rain oh so lightly, as you can see in the above photo.

Shortly thereafter I came upon my second Find of the Week.

Looks like Nicholas (I redacted his last name and address) is making the rounds of our judicial system. Note how the names of the Wheeler Clinic employees lack last names; I guess some of the pre-trial intervention-ees have a habit of taking action against their intervention-ers. Good luck Nick; hope you remembered your first appointment!

Hiking down from West Peak, I reached the wooden walkbridge only to discover Find of the Week #3.

When I found envelope addressed to "Jon" I thought for sure I'd find a Dear John letter. Fortunately I, and Jon, had a happier ending.

Reaching the walkbridge over I-691, I discovered as I predicted, that one of the two American Flags affixed to the fencing, has been stolen. We'll see if the remaining flag survives until July 4th.

Back at the park I deposited my 4th bag of trash.

With the July 4th holiday directly in front of us please remember; safety first!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Art of Bluffing

Visit #959, Saturday 20 June 15, 12:00-3:15PM, mileage unknown.
Temps in the mid-70's with mild humidity and cloudy skies.

I had the opportunity to ride my mountain bike in Hubbard Park on Friday and recon the trails. It's an efficient way of judging the status of things as well as getting a workout at the same time. The ride paid off as I found a tree had fallen across one trail and would need to be removed. Now I would know which trail to hike and what tools to bring.

Things started off innocently enough, walking from the park to the south end of Merimere Reservoir. While picking up trash around the south end of the reservoir, a young man, tattooed up both arms, an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth, carrying a selection of fishing rods and a backpack, parked his car against the gate, and proceeded to walk toward me.

When we crossed paths, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Fishing isn't allowed in the reservoir.
Him: (Laughs) What are you gonna do about it?
Me: I guess I'll call the police.

Well, that prompted a quick U-turn by the tough guy so now we're both walking in the same direction, toward his car.

Him: Don't talk to ME like that!
Me: What did I say that offended you?
Him: You know, a lot of people fish here; you'll have to camp out if you want to catch all of them.
Me: I don't expect to catch all of them, just those I see.

He took his tattoos, his cigarette, and his fishing gear and left.

Problem is, I don't own a cellphone! But in today's society, it's presumed pretty much everyone does. It was a spontaneous bluff. I should play poker...

After that entertainment, I continued on the trails, picking up trash and trimming where necessary.

I reached the tree which had fallen across the trail.

Too long and clumsy to carry, with a small canopy at the top. That's why the recon ride on the bike paid off; I knew what to bring to easily clear the tree from the trail.

I connected to the tree with my web strap using a cow hitch and with a minimum of wrestling, dragged the tree off-trail.

I cleaned up the remaining trails and deposited my trash at the playscape.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The "V"

Visit #958, Saturday 13 June 15, 7:15-10:00AM, 4.8 miles.
Temps in the mid-70's with increasing heat and humidity.

Summer has arrived and with it, higher temperatures. I wanted to avoid the quasi-heat wave we were having so I set out early on Saturday morning.

As I reported last week, there was a tree which had fallen across a trail near the walkbridge over I-691. I planned on removing it, and it would require the services of my chainsaw.

But first, I had to get there.

I started by picking up trash around the dirt parking area at the northwest corner of Mirror Lake, where I came upon my first Find of the Week.

Well, either Libigrow is popular or we have a serial user in Hubbard Park, as I reported recently on finding another packet of the product.

I walked west on the trail and reached the fallen tree.

 The small branch added at the base of the tree was placed there by mountain bikers to aid riding over the log. I say just remove the log altogether.

With that goal achieved, I walked the remainder of the trail to West Main Street then turned around and headed back to the park via other trails, collecting trash as I went.

I reached my van and deposited my first bag of trash.

My chainsaw would no longer be needed; time to switch tools.

 Next, I headed over to Percival Park Road and walked toward the north end of Merimere Reservoir, to pick up trash and complete Part V of my Five Year Plan. Now that the west side of the road is complete, I plan to begin trimming around the parking lot at West Peak. I expect to begin around the July 4th holiday.

Enroute, I discovered there must me some unwritten rule that it's okay to leave your doggy poop bags on the steps of the building by the retention ponds. I guess it's inside knowledge.

Then I came upon my second  Find of the Week.  E.T. lost the antenna for his Phone Home device. It was in rough shape, too.

Here's how it looked when it was new!

As I walked north, I paused by Echo Point and trimmed branches away on the near side of the guard rail. The view is being obscured by trees growing downslope on the far side of the guardrail. I'm toying with the idea of restoring the view by clearing out the trees below. We'll see.

At the north end a did a U-turn and picked up trash from the opposite side of the road.

If you traced the route I traveled today you'd find it sort of formed the letter "V" hence the title of this week's post!

Back at the parking lot I dropped off my second bag of trash.


Sunday, June 7, 2015


Park an antique automobile around Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park, add a little Photoshop, and you're taken back in time...

Visit #957, Sunday 7 June 15, 9:40AM-12:00PM, 4.4 miles.
Temps in the mid-70's, perfectly sunny and dry.

I didn't have any great plans for today, but something always makes my outings interesting, such as the car above.

I threw some tools in my backpack on an idyllic day to cut down a very skinny tree which I thought was leaning too much over the Green Trail. Of the three trees on the left, it was the worst of the bunch.

No Photoshop was involved in THIS photo, just a bow saw and some elbow grease.

I then hiked over to the Halfway House where I found someone had stockpiled some wood for their campfire but didn't use all of it.

That wasn't the only thing that was er,  hot at the Halfway House.

Okay now...

I hiked some of the lower trails, pruning and picking up trash as I went. Pointing toward the walkbridge over I-691, I wondered whether I'd find the American flags attached to the fencing. One is displayed above the east bound lanes, the other over the west bound lanes. You see, I've been finding them there for several years, always attached around Memorial Day by some person I've never seen. They usually last until about the Fourth of July. Either they're stolen or burned by then.

I was not disappointed.

I pointed myself back toward the park where I deposited my trash.

Here's a teaser of my planned work for next week's episode. Hint: It involves a chainsaw.

Until then, maintain.