Sunday, August 28, 2016


Visit #1032, Saturday 26 August 16, 9:00-10:40AM, 3.7 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, sunny and mildly humid.

Thanks to Paul Bernier for joining me this week.

This week's post is real lame because I took few photos and not much happened.

I didn't have any pressing projects this week and was bored of walking the road up to East or West Peak after having done so often recently, so I decided we'd clean all the trails below the peaks. It would make for a short session, which soon turned even shorter.

About the most exciting news on the trails was this tree suspiciously across the top end of the Yellow Trail. Thank you, Len.

I removed it.

Paul and I were almost to the walkbridge over the stream when he received a phone call creating a personal emergency, at which point he dropped me like a loose bowel movement and returned to his car.

I followed sometime after, and deposited our two bags of trash for the week.

At least we accomplished something constructive.

Next week's Labor Day Weekend agenda is already planned and I PROMISE something more interesting!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's All About The Green

Today was all about the green, starting with the beautifully green canopied trails.

Visit #1031, Sunday 21 August 16, 8:50AM-12:10PM, 5.6 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, humid and clouding up in advance of rain.

I had a single focus today-I wanted to remove a tree up at Castle Craig which was "Coloradoed" recently. The fact that I was equipped for the work was a good thing, as I encountered more greenery that needed trimming of one sort or another.

I started at the Soap Box Derby track and hiked the trail behind the water tank.  I picked up trash at the south end of Merimere Reservoir then walked the trails toward the Halfway House. Enroute, I passed the intersection with the Green Trail where I discovered the first piece of greenery that needed removal.

Without my bow saw this branch would have to wait for another day.

For such a lightweight tool it's pretty effective.


Past the Halfway House, I hiked the White Trail up to Castle Craig to tackle the bent tree.

This was easier than the first one.

Presumably finished tackling greenery for the day, I performed a cursory cleaning of the parking lot and surrounding area. After I was finished, I left the trash bag at the monument for later collection by the Meriden Parks Department.

It was while doing so that I was approached by two local residents who drove up to enjoy the view.

Steve Briers of Southington, left, and Joe Pulisciano, from Meriden.

After inquiring what I was doing, Steve was so appreciative of my work that he didn't hesitate to hand me my next "green" of the day.

It made me realize that there are many ways people show their support for a cause; lending a hand isn't the only way. Tom's donation certainly helps defray the costs of trash bags, work gloves, worn hiking shoes, and various other items.

This is only the second time since 2008 that someone was kind enough to offer some financial support. Never necessary; always appreciated. Steve can count himself as one of the few. Outside of donations, I've only FOUND a total of twelve bucks since 2008-just a little statistic. My work in Hubbard Park isn't exactly a profit making machine but that's not the point, right?

Joe seemed interested in what I was doing as well, particularly how much time I devote to it per week. Perhaps I planted the seed of inspiration in Joe to take up his own cause some day.

Meeting people like Steve and Joe makes all the dirty work worth it.

We parted ways and I picked up the Blue Trail along East Peak and encountered the next "green" of the day.

I sliced and diced up this branch. Looks better, doesn't it?

I focus most of my time on the road from Castle Craig so this section of the Blue Trail tends to get neglected, and it seems the Connecticut Forest and Park Association volunteer in charge of maintaining the Blue Trail through Hubbard Park doesn't come out that often, so today I played catch up and substitute.

The skies were clouding up, leading to tonight's rain, but the view was still nice.

Next in the greenery department was this bent over branch on the Blue Trail.

Snip, snip. Well; maybe more than two snips...

I followed the trails down and over I-691 where I met the last greenery to be dealt with today.

No cutting involved, just lift and move.

I returned to the parking lot and deposited my second bag of trash.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Punishing Heat

This heron had it easy; he could hang out near the water at Merimere Reservoir and maybe pick up some free breakfast.

Visit #1030, Saturday 12 August 16, 8:30-11:00AM, 6.8 miles. Temps in the 90's with humidity that could wilt the stiffest beehive hairdo.

My occasional assistant in Hubbard Park, Paul Bernier, mentioned to me a week or so ago that the parking lot at West Peak was returning to trashy conditions too soon after we had cleaned up the area.

With that tip in mind, I decided a return trip was in order.

We started relatively early in an attempt to beat the heat and humidity but failed on both counts. However, we did succeed in collecting a lot of trash from the roadsides as we walked. We soon filled and deposited our first pair of trash bags at the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

You can see the backside of my backpack is already soaked with sweat.

Up the road we trudged. Despite the oppressive weather, I was surprised to see a number of cyclists, runners, and walkers.

At the fork to East/West Peak we dropped off a second pair of trash bags, while Paul walked a little further toward East Peak to pick up a couple other pieces of trash. We then turned toward West Peak.

At West Peak we cleaned the parking lot and left another bag of trash, along with a couple car parts.

Note the color of Paul's pants; they're soaked with sweat to within inches of his shoes.

We hiked back to the parking lot where we dropped off what little remaining trash we collected, and talked of joining that heron in Merimere reservoir.

I leave you this week with a view from West Peak through the haze.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Can't Keep It Secret

Visit #1029, Saturday 6 August 16, 6:30-8:00AM, 3.5 miles.
Temps in the high 70's, sunny and very humid.

Last week I discovered a tree had fallen across the trail behind the bank of daffodils, on the northern side of Mirror Lake. Since it was so close to the highly populated section of the park, I didn't want to draw attention by running a chainsaw during the middle of the day. So, I decided to start early in the morning, presuming there would be no one in the park.

I was wrong.

Even at 6:30AM, there was a smattering of hikers, walkers, and anglers. There was even a city worker at the pool. I guess once I started my chainsaw, the secret would be out, but I decided to give it a go anyway.

Since the fallen tree was so close to the parking lot, I planned to return to my vehicle and drop the saw off when I was done, which would make for easier hiking and bending over to pick up trash.

It took roughly 20 minutes to clear the tree and whatever debris  was created when it fell.

Being so early in the morning, most people will never know who did this, so perhaps my secret will remain.

In the process of removing the tree, I came upon specimen #16 from the 2016 Season of the Missing Glove®.

I cleaned up all the trails south of I-691, then walked a road loop around the Soap Box Derby track, by the retention ponds, and back to the park, where I deposited my bag of trash for the week.