Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pennies From Heaven, The Dollars Went To Hell

Visit #988, Saturday 28 November 15, 7:20-10:30AM, 5.8 miles.
Temps in the 40's with light rain developing.

Visit #989, Sunday 29 November 15, 6:05-8:00AM, 5.0 miles.
Temps in the 40's, partly sunny.

Last week I supplied a teaser, saying I spied something in Merimere Reservoir which would be this week's subject. I loaded up my backpack and set off to extract this long sunken "treasure".

But I couldn't find it.

Last week I made sure to orient myself to a reference point so I could easily locate the item. In fact, the item was in 2 pieces, a door and a cabinet. I pulled the door from the receding shoreline and placed it in the road, directly across the road from my reference point but could neither find the door nor the cabinet. I even walked the shoreline and came up empty. I asked the "park regulars" I encountered. They all saw the door last week but not this week.

I was starting to think there was somebody out there as nuts as I was (not likely) who removed BOTH items. It was messing with my head.

I gave up after 15 minutes and walked to the north end of Merimere Reservoir, picking up trash as I walked.

As perhaps a consolation prize, I found this on the shore of the reservoir:

But wait; there's more!

I tossed the tire into the road to retrieve on the return trip; I wasn't done looking for that box, yet.

And then, elsewhere along the reservoir shoreline, I hit the motherlode:

54 cents.

And there's always your standard pair of briefs.

Anyway, I turned around at the north end, determined to find that damn box! I prowled the shoreline again, finding it harder to believe there was someone else out there stealing my trash.

I was right.

I found the door on the opposite side of the road where I left it last week. But it was nowhere near where I would find the box. That took another 15 minutes and 200 yards of separation. Next was the task of hauling it up to the road. That necessitated a comealong and roughly 50 feet of rigging.

I asked one of the hikers you see in the background to help me get it over the fence as the box weighed roughly 100lbs.

I gathered the tire, door, and box and stacked them for later pickup by the Meriden Parks Department.

And just what is it, you ask? It's a dollar bill exchanging machine. Someone (most likely more than one due to the weight) must have stolen the machine, extracted the money, and dumped the thing in Merimere Reservoir many years ago.

And if that's all you think is in Merimere Reservoir, I'm about to set you straight.

I've heard rumors of submarines being sighted in the reservoir which obviously sounds ridiculous, until Saturday.

As you can see by the exposed hull, it's a nuclear powered submarine.

Retrieving the bill exchanger was Chore #1 of 2. I dropped off my first bag of trash at the water treatment plant and headed toward Chore #2.

Enroute, I found this package label, which reinforces my suspicion there's a homeless person living in the woods of Hubbard Park. Couple the axe with the survival knife packaging  I found recently and it fits.

Anyway, I hiked over to the walkbridge over I-691 because I spied some graffiti I'd missed which was an exact copy of graffiti I painted over in August.

You can see by the concrete it had started to rain. I was concerned my spray paint wouldn't stick or would be trampled by all the hikers I saw, but a return visit Sunday allayed my fears.

At the same spot I picked up a nice sized microfiber towel courtesy of Camp Sloper.

I turned around and returned to the park to drop off my 2nd bag of trash for the day.

During Saturday's expedition, I received a report of graffiti seen along the road up to East/West Peak. In fact, just like the "I U Raye", this graffiti was a repeat of graffiti I found in October and covered up.

My schedule said I would have to tackle this on Sunday morning, so I set off before sunrise to get it over with.

Covering up clocked in at 8 minutes.

Good thing I was out on the road this morning. I found this tree had fallen across the road. It could not be moved further off the road so I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department and ask them to cut it up.

Another unique find this week was this Polaroid-type photo.

I crossed over I-691 and returned to the parking lot to drop off my last bag of trash for the week.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Restoration of Echo Point

Parking in Hubbard Park on Saturday was out of the question. Parking on Reservoir Avenue, outside the park gate, was your only option.

Visit  #987, Saturday 21 November 15, 8:30-11:20AM, 5.8 miles.
Temps in the mid-30's, partly sunny.

Thanks are in order to Chris Bourdon of the Meriden Parks Department. He had the traffic cone and trash bag picked up which I left on the road last week.

With the Meriden Parks Department crew in full-throttle mode getting Hubbard Park ready for next week's Christmas display,  the access roads to the park were closed. Limited parking next to the skate house meant few could enter the park. Determined to fulfill my weekly duties, I found a spot on Reservoir Avenue. Astute observers paid attention to the No Parking signs on the north side of the road and parked on the south side.

Remember last week and mention of my Current, Soon To Be Revealed Special Project? Well, that project is finished.

Echo Point is located on the road around Merimere Reservoir. I first heard the name when it was mentioned to me by someone in their 60's, so it's been in existence for at least that long. It's also been neglected for all those years.

Here's what it looked like earlier this year.


It's name comes from the fact that you can truly produce an echo from the spot around the railing. But the view was being consumed by the trees. I decided I was going to try and restore some of that view.

All these had to go.

I had actually finished the majority of the cutting last week having done it in installments, and just needed to trim a few saplings.

I walked the road north, picking up trash as I went. I reached Echo Point and in five minutes, it was done. Granted, there are no leaves on the trees now, but the view is much more open now.

I'll revisit the spot next summer and post a comparison.

From the opposite shore of the reservoir, you can see all the trees I dropped.

Finished trimming, I walked to the north end of the reservoir and turned around. Teaser: Heading south along the road I spied something in the reservoir that the low water level has revealed. Next week's post will be all about it.

I returned to the park with a full trash bag and dropped it off before heading west to clean the trails between West Main Street and I-691. I was surprised to find so much trash considering the road has been closed to vehicles for a few weeks.

My other special assignment for this week was to remove some stickers recently placed in various places on the walkbridge over I-691 and at the gate across from Belmont Avenue. This is not the first time I've encountered this exact same sticker, so we have a serial stickerer on our hands in Hubbard Park. Thank goodness they purchased quality vinyl stickers; they came off easily in one piece.


At the Belmont Avenue end I turned around and covered a few more trails enroute to the parking lot, where I deposited my second bag of trash.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Before The Crack of Dawn

Visit #984, Tuesday 10 November 15, 6:05-7:30AM, 2.7 miles.
Temps in the low 40’s, cloudy with rain developing later in the morning.

Visit #985, Saturday 14 November 15, 6:00-8:35AM, 4.9 miles.
Temps in the low 40’s, partly cloudy.

Visit #986, Sunday 15 November 15, 6:05-9:15AM, 6.1 miles.
Temps in the 30’s, sunny and warming up to the 50's.

I hit Hubbard Park three times this past week and every day I started before dawn. No one I know would argue against my need for beauty sleep; this week gave me a serious surplus of ugly but seeing the park awaken each day was worth it.

Tuesday, a scheduled dentist's appointment gave me a few hours to squander in the morning. I thought I'd sneak into the park before anyone else might stop and question what I was doing.

Last week I reported the signs at the gate to the road being tagged with graffiti. While I reported this to the Meriden Parks Department, I didn't think they'd get to it within my impatient time frame, so I decided I'd take care of it myself.

Researching the best methods of removing magic marker from signs, I packed for bear:

Turns out I was wrong about the Meriden Parks Department. They jumped on this faster than a prom date and when I arrived, both signs were clean. A tip of the hat to the Meriden Parks Department for their quick response.

What to do with all the time I had on my hands now? Why not take a short hike and pick up some trash on the trails?

Dawn gave way to cloudy skies with rain forecast later on that morning. The forecast was spot-on.

Find Of The Day were these TWO empty packages for survival knives. The blister packs were suspiciously hidden behind a tree.

Each knife "Includes: Sewing Kit, Safety Pin, Buttons, Fishing Line With Hook, Matches With Flint Paper, Compass, and Carrying Sheath". Someone planning for Armaggedon? A Boy Scout who litters?

I dropped off my trash for the day and beat the rain.

Saturday morning I again started before the sun had it's coffee and read the newspaper. I wanted to continue with my Current, Soon To Be Revealed Special Project. This necessitated finishing before anyone else walked toward the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

I progressed on my Current, Soon To Be Revealed Special Project and continued north around the reservoir, picking up the Blue Trail rising high above Merimere Reservoir. I don't hike this trail often because it sees very little trash.

Reaching Castle Craig, I turned down hill where I spied my Find of the Day.

Unlike Donald Trump's ego, I was able to deflate the ball so it would fit in my trash bag.

Along the way Saturday, I ran into a hiker who told me of a tree fallen across another trail at the north end of Hubbard Park. Since I will be on-call the next two weeks and won't be able to venture far into the park, and I didn't want the fallen tree to appear ignored, I chose to return to the park before dawn AGAIN on Sunday. This would give me another opportunity to use my chainsaw on my Current, Soon To Be Revealed Special Project .

As I walked the road in the waning darkness, I spied this long submerged traffic cone which was uncovered by the receding shoreline of Merimere Reservoir.

Reaching the north end, I dropped off the traffic cone with a small bag of trash for later pickup by the parks department.

Then I turned my attention to the trail with the fallen tree.

After clearing the trail I decided to burn off the remaining gas in my chainsaw by dropping any dead hemlocks along the trail so I wouldn't have to worry about them later. It would no doubt save me a few future trips to keep the trail clear.

I returned to the park with a small bag of trash then headed home to catch up on that lost beauty sleep.