Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween Edition

Visit #979, Saturday 24 October 15, 7:30-9:25AM, 4.1 miles.
Temps in the 30's; mostly sunny, with clouds forming.

I had a plan today but won't discuss it since in practice, it didn't work out. I'll wait until the project is finished to reveal all.

I was on-call so I couldn't stray far. I started at the gate and walked the road all the way to the north end of Merimere Reservoir, collecting trash as I went. I carried a full complement of trail tools because earlier trips up the road revealed some trash snarled in thorn bushes along the roadside. I cut as needed to retrieve it.

My Find of the Week was the wheel trim ring you see in the photo.

Slightly off topic: I hope you're prepared for Halloween. This being my first Halloween as a homeonwer, I get to give out candy. I may have gone too far. First, I bought candy that I would like because if I don't hand all of it out, what would I do with the leftovers?

So I ordered Hersheys snack-sized Chocolate bars and full-size Hersheys Special Dark bars. I bought in bulk; 6lbs. / 200pcs. of the regular chocolate and 3 dozen / 3lbs. of Special Dark bars. Except I mistakenly clicked on the Special Dark bars TWICE! So I've got 12lbs. of candy. I keep performing "quality control" on each type to ensure their freshness but if I keep it up, it won't last until next Saturday!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Channeling My Inner Norm Abram

Visit #978, Saturday 17 October 15, 3:15-5:45PM, 3.5 miles.
Temps in the 50's, sunny and dry.

A couple weeks ago, while trawling the trails, I discovered some sticky fingers had pried a couple boards apart at the Halfway House. This week I wanted to repair the damage.

I hiked a clockwise loop, over I-691. I brought a full complement of trail pruning tools because one particular trail was experiencing an overgrowth of thorn bushes. Somewhere along the way, between trimming and picking up trash, my wristwatch fell off, never to be found. I wasn't too surprised because the watchband had separated a couple times recently. I think I lost it climbing over a fence to retrieve some trash. This required a trip to Target after Saturday's session. Good thing I don't wear expensive watches.

You think losing a watch is bad-how about losing THIS:

Yes, that's right folks; someone lost their briefs. I no longer wonder why employers can't find qualified workers-if they can't remember their underwear they probably can't remember how to do their jobs, either. My lost watch pales in comparison.

I trudged onward, reaching the Halfway House. I spread out my suite of tools and set to work.

Screws were spaced 8" apart, 7/16" from the edge. Eight screws on each of two sides. Should be a little more secure than those brads. I've done this before on another one of the pillars and it's still holding up fine.

Finished, I took a few minutes to enjoy the foliage and the view of Castle Craig from inside the Halfway House.

I headed back toward the park but I was starting to bonk. Pete needed food. I dropped off my trash bag and staggered over toward the bandshell...

...because as luck would have it, there was a food truck festival going on in Hubbard Park and when I finished at 5:45PM, it was still in progress. So...

I steered toward the highest calorie, highest cholesterol item I could find, the Poutine.

Burp! Now it's naptime!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

In Search Of Graffiti

Visit #977, Saturday 10 October 15, 7:30-10:30AM, 5.2 miles.
Temps in the low 50's, sunny and dry.

Fortunately, Friday's rain moved out early enough to allow sufficient drying so I could paint.

I'd been walking the road from the park to Castle Craig or West Peak for so many consecutive weeks. During those weeks I spied some relatively new graffiti which needed attention, so walk the road again it would be.

In picking up trash along the way I acquired a piece of tire tread which was too heavy to cart all day, so I made an early drop off of my first trash bag at the water treatment plant.

With the sun rising later and later, you get to catch a glimpse of South Mountain casting a shadow on the western slope of Merimere Reservoir. The fall colors don't disappoint despite the dry summer.

Now it was on to some real work.

At the spillway at the north end of Merimere Reservoir, I covered over the new taggings.

This tag spells "bomb" but what the other characters mean, I have no idea.

I defused the bomb.

Still on the road but much closer to Castle Craig,  I attacked some more graffiti.

These last two pieces were on a trailhead well off from the roadside, and reported to me earlier by a local hiker.

Done with art class, I headed over I-691 and back to the park, where I deposited my second bag of trash.

Next week, I channel my inner Norm Abram.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Was There A Full Moon Last Week?!

That's the only way to explain all the wackiness in Hubbard Park.

Visit #975, Saturday 3 October 15, 7:45-10:00AM, 5.1 miles.
Temps in the low 50's with a raw, spitting rain.

Visit #976, Sunday 4 October 15, 7:20-9:20AM, 3.8 miles.
Temps in the high 40's, sunny, dry, and breezy.

A full moon alters people's behavior plenty. Add in a lunar eclipse, and it's nutsy-ness unleashed, for an entire week.

Start with a hiker falling and dying in Hubbard Park. I can't understand how someone can get so far off the trails that they go over the edge, UNLESS they're trying to commit suicide. Details in the newspaper report are understandably vague but without updated information, we may never know.
(7 Oct 15 Update: Meriden Police have ruled the incident an accident.) 

During Saturday's foray into Hubbard Park, I walked by the south end of Merimere Reservoir and spied some trash. The sterile water, surgical gloves, and soiled towel lead me to believe they were connected to the fallen hiker and the emergency services workers sent to help the injured.

Later that week, I received a call from a frequent visitor to Hubbard Park who advised me of a tree past the north end of the reservoir, which had fallen and was leaning over the road. They considered it a safety issue. I e-mailed Mark Zebora of the Meriden Parks Department to advise him and he promptly sent a crew out to investigate. I never saw the tree beforehand and the parks crew did such a good job removing it that I had a hard time locating the site. Here's my best guess:

Thanks to Mark and the parks crew for clearing that tree up so quickly.

I ventured on in Saturday's rain mainly to check out that tree. The rain kept 99% of the people away, me being the 1%. Oh, how I wish I were part of the 1 percent...

Someone took exception to the Tea Party slogan, "Don't Tread On Me".

By the time I reached the north end of Merimere Reservoir I had filled one trash bag and left it there for later pickup.

Picking up trash around and in the spillway, I discovered more lunar madness in the form of new graffiti. I plan on photographing and eradicating it next week.

I reached Castle Craig and hiked the trails down back to the parking lot. Along the way I discovered one tree branch and one tree had fallen across the Green Trail.

And the lunar craziness continued at the Halfway House; I found vandals had pried a board away from one of the pillars. I plan to repair the damage within the next 2 weeks.

I dropped off my second trash bag and went home to dry out.

What with the graffiti and the Halfway House damage, I had the next two weeks planned out for me. I needed to get ahead of the game. So, I returned to Hubbard Park on Sunday under much nicer skies to at least clear away the tree and the branch.

I then turned around and walked the road to the north end of the reservoir and retrieved the trash bag I left Saturday morning.

I brought it all the way back to the park to dispose of in the trash can at the playscape.

As I was photographing my trash I looked at the fence and found this last piece of full-moon craziness:

It's a pager for a volunteer fireman for the Woodbury FD. It still worked! I brought it home, searched for the phone number for the department, and managed to get in touch with the fire chief, Janet Morgan. She thanked me and asked that I deliver it to Meriden Fire Department headquarters on Broad Street to firefighter Ryan Murphy. Turns out Ryan is also a volunteer for the Woodbury FD which meant I would not have to drive far to get this pager in proper hands. Upon dropping it off with Ryan, I suggested he make the owner sweat a little bit before the pager "reappears". I'm a devious guy.  Ryan said this was a task right up his alley...

Bummer that I won't get to watch this unfold!