Sunday, March 26, 2017

What's The Deal With March?!

It was a raw day in Hubbard Park; gotta keep warm somehow.

Visit #1065, Sunday 26 March 17, 2:15-3:20PM, 2.5 miles.
Temps in the high 30's, cloudy and raw with occasional drizzle.

Where the hell is March?! It's supposed to be breezy, but warmer than this!

I was on-call so I was sticking close to the parking lot. I hiked all the trails on the south side of I-691, and walked around the Soap Box Derby track and the road from Castle Craig. I found all the nip bottles above in the small parking spot across the street from Belmont Avenue. One wonders whether it was a repeat visitor or a one-man, one stop party.

Also in the drinking vein, and in my continuing catalog of Dunkin' Donuts drinkers, I found this:

In the cream and sugar contest, they are about average.

In the never ending "Who's not getting pregnant in Hubbard Park" study, here's another data point.

Anyway, I finished my short hike with a surprisingly full trash bag.

April starts next weekend; there better be an improvement in the weather or I'm filing a complaint.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


One of the many hurdles I had to clear today.

Visit #1064, Saturday 18 March 17, 1:20-2:40PM, 2.6 miles.
Temps in the low 40's, cloudy with snow showers predicted this evening.

During last week's adventures I discovered some graffiti at the north end of Merimere Reservoir, and spied some more closer to the park. This week I grabbed my graffiti obliteration kit and headed out today to do business.

I walked a short distance north on the road around Merimere Reservoir and stopped at the I-691 underpass. My first hurdle was over the snow to the concrete pillar underpining the overpass.

The gray patch on the right is previous work of mine. Now to add a twin.

Now that I look at the photo, I see graffiti on the pillar in the background as well. I must be slacking again, as usual. It'll have to wait for another day.

The road around the reservoir is not only closed for the season, it's closed because of road repairs being made. The pavement has been sinking for some time. The fix is to install a gabion and pave over it. I had to hurdle over the barrier to get to the other side. Here are a couple photos of the work in progress.

Of course, to take the photos I had to become one of those scofflaws that ignore the signage.

Reaching the north end of Merimere Reservoir, I had to overcome my next hurdle. The graffiti was buried behind the snow.

This provided some "natural editing" in that Trump no longer EATS farts; he just plain FARTS.

I engaged my inner archeologist and uncovered the rest of the graffiti.

Then I engaged the artistic, right hemisphere of my brain and did a little painting.

And that's the extent of the creativity you'll get out of me. I will say that while I was painting over this, a woman walked by and cheered my work. So maybe there's more creativity in me than I give myself credit for.

I turned around and re-hurdled and scofflawed my way back to the park, where I dropped off my trash for the week.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cold x3

MY cold is mostly gone, but cold weather, not quite.

Visit #1063, Saturday 11 March 17, 10:00AM-12:35PM, 5.6 miles.
Temps in the 20's, mostly sunny with bone chilling high winds.

Last week I found a couple trees/branches felled by recent high winds. This week I called a couple of my park informers and asked them to recon the trails to look for anything else that may need removal from the trails in the aftermath. Then I could plan an efficient route to remove everything in one trip.

Thanks this week to Paul Bernier who joined me, doing most of the heavy lifting and performed "behind the lens" duties while I operated the power tools.

First up was something I hadn't discovered last week because I bypassed the Yellow Trail.


The next tree had been bending over more with time. Someone had propped it up with a stick.

Here's an action shot of me carrying it away.

We hiked a steep trail up to the road leading to Castle Craig, where we reached the next fallen tree.

More manly chainsawing ensued.

We crossed the road and picked up another trail heading downslope. Below, I'm cutting the remnants of a branch across the trail. Paul was a little bit slow on the uptake with the camera, so no Before photo.

Next was this leaning tree which was tenuously being held up.

Here's another view.

A little smart cutting and a little safety, and it dropped.

Clearing the fallen tree.

To reach the last tree, we bushwhacked through the woods to save time, reaching the Blue Trail high above Merimere Reservoir.

A portrait-style after shot. That's Paul Bunyan taking a break.

We then turned around and hiked to the road back to Hubbard Park, the most direct route. Along the way, we came upon this timely piece of humor.

I may not support Trump, but I certainly don't support graffiti. I'll see if I can't take care of this next week.

Despite last week's snow, I did manage to pick up some trash on the way back to the park.

A real bomb of a Nor'easter is expected to hit on Tuesday- plug in your shovel!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cold x2

Yeah; it LOOKED warm, but don't kid yourself. It was cold in more ways than one.

Visit #1062, Saturday 4 March 17, 12:35-3:10PM, 4.6 miles.
Temps in the 20's with windchills in the single digits. Mostly sunny.

Not only was it colder than the undertaker's smile, I myself had a cold. One of those "I want to stay in bed" type colds. Runny/stuffy nose, puffy eyes, the works. But I couldn't disappoint my legions of fans who hang on my every word once a week.

Due to the late season snow-free ground, and cold conditions, I chose this week to perform my annual clean up of the slope below Castle Craig. People toss their litter over the parapet wall thinking if they don't see it, it must not exist. Oh; it still exists, alright.

But I had to get there to begin. I made my way via the trails to the road roughly 1/4 mile from Castle Craig. Along the way, the Blue Trail comes close to the road then turns hard right. As I passed this point, I discovered this fallen tree:

Considering last week's high winds and reports of power outages, I was wondering whether I'd find something.

I reached Castle Craig then worked my way to the slopes below the castle; it's much easier traversing the slope from top to bottom picking up trash. Traction isn't that great clawing your way up slope.

Here was my vantage point.

Among the bottles and cans I found this child's jacket. It's in good enough condition that I'll wash it and donate it to Goodwill.

I also found the tail section of missing Malaysia Airways Flight 370. No wonder they can't find the plane; they keep looking in the ocean...

As I worked my way toward the trail, I spied some trash caught in a thorn bush. As I cut the thorns back to access the junk, I realized I was removing the protection some shrewd bird had used around their nest. Boy; do I feel like a bad man!

I sulked away.

Down below, I found another fallen tree. I will remove both next week.

Back at the park, I deposited my trash for the week. Considering the amount of trash I collected from the slope below Castle Craig, I'd say my annual clean ups are making a difference because each year I collect fewer bags. It's a good thing to see.

Afterwards, I headed home so chicken soup could work its magic.