Sunday, April 30, 2017

Chance Encounters

It was a peaceful Saturday at the north end of Hubbard Park. With the road still closed and the Daffodil Festival in progress at the south end, I had the better part of the park pretty much to myself.

Visit #1072, Saturday 29 April 17, 10:00AM-12:45PM, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the 70's, sunny and calm.

There was no way I was going to park in Hubbard Park proper this week, with the Daffodil Festival in full swing, so I entered the park through the north end.

We had quite a bit of rain this past week; from the photo above it looks like the reservoir has almost returned to full capacity.

The spillways reinforce my observation. There's some trash floating in them, but that will have to wait until the spillways dry out.

And so I headed up the road.

My first chance encounter was with a Find of the Week. Why does someone choose to discard a pair of insoles THERE, beside the road, and THEN.  I'd love to hear the logic behind that.

And the road continued up.

Near the fork in the road to East and West Peak, while collecting some trash off the side of the road, I had a chance encounter with a garter snake.

Then I encountered a series of graffiti. I had conveniently packed some grey and brown spray paint this week just in case, and was glad I did as it saved me a return trip.

It was about at this point I intended to turn around and take a trail back down to Merimere Reservoir. But as I was covering the graffiti, a Meriden Fire Department vehicle passed by enroute to Castle Craig. This gave me an idea; I would ask the fire department employee to take my trash bag which was getting full and heavy, and I would be able to open another bag and pick up more trash around Castle Craig.

So I stopped John Strillacci from the Meriden Fire Department and asked him if he would take my trash bag and drop it off so I could open another one. No sense in leaving it at the parking lot where it would be an eyesore for the weekend and possibly get opened by wildlife.

His answers-"I'm not leaving for 5 hours. I'm not the garbage guy."

Huh? I'm not sure what "...5 hours" has to do with it, and apparently I can be the "garbage guy",  picking up other peoples' trash but since it's not in his job description, he's not gonna put forth the effort as a representative of Meriden to take one lousy trash bag with him.

To put it mildly, he didn't represent the City of Meriden or the Meriden Fire Department well.

Needless to say, we had a terse exchange.

So I cleaned up the Castle Craig parking lot anyway, and filled up my 13 gallon bag. And since taking the trash bag was outside the scope of Mr. Strillacci's "duties", I transferred my trash to a 30 gallon bag and lugged it the MILE AND A HALF back to my car, all the while continuing to pick up more trash.

But lest you think I have a chip on my shoulder regarding the Meriden Fire Department, and lest you think ALL members of the Meriden Fire Department are so lacking in public relations skills, I would like to refer you to this encounter I had with the Meriden Fire Department back in May 2013.

Heck; they even took my trash!

I hiked a trail down toward Merimere Reservoir. Enroute, I encountered a fallen hemlock. I couldn't clear it completely from the trail, so I'll have to return with the chainsaw next week to finish the job.

Farther down, I encountered more work of mountain bikers who continue to build ramps and jumps on the trail. I dismantled what I could but ran out of time. Along with the fallen tree, I'll dismantle the rest next week.

Note the rocks I placed on top, so they'll stop and look rather than go full speed ahead.

This will have to wait until next week.

I returned to my car with the trash bag that caused too much of an imposition, because I'M the garbage guy and they're...? (FYI: I later weighed the bag-12lbs.)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Working Around The Daffodil Festival

Visit #1070, Saturday 22 April 17, 6:00-7:50AM, 4.1 miles.
Temps in the 50's with gray skies and possible showers.

Visit #1071, Sunday 23 April 17, 6:00-6:45AM, mileage n/a.
Temps in the 50's, dawning with sunny skies.

With the Daffodil Festival in Tag Sale mode, parking would be at a premium, and walking around with a chainsaw would probably goon people out. So I opted to start early, beat the crowds, and clear the trail.

With all the parking restrictions in effect, I had to park right next to the gate blocking the road to Merimere Reservoir. This turned out to be beneficial because, as I walked the road and picked up trash, I discovered yet MORE new graffiti had popped up, in addition to what I found and covered in the last few weeks. This is a disturbing trend.

This was found on the I-691 underpass.

And this was found on the building where I covered over other graffiti last week.

Well, I wasn't prepared to tackle graffiti so it would have to wait.

What I WAS prepared to tackle however, was the fallen tree Paul and I found last week on the trail near Merimere Reservoir. I brought my chainsaw.

I made two cuts.

Then swung the tree aside.

I  retraced my steps back to my van and dropped off the chainsaw so as not to alarm anyone.

I dropped off my first bag of trash, too.

Then I patrolled all the trails on the south side of I-691, picking up litter.

Find of the Week was this dinner plate. It's not the first time I've found dinnerware. I previously found a bowl with a similar finish in roughly the same area back in May 2013, a week before I started this blog.

Anyway, I reached the western end of the trails and turned around. On the return trip I found this box, which looked like it formerly held somebody's pet hamster.

I dropped off my second bag of trash for the day.

But just like the previous weeks' encounters with graffiti, I couldn't wait to deal with it. So, I got up early Sunday morning and went to work again.

In the process of packing for the paint work, I discovered that while a gallon of paint doesn't fit in my new backpack like it did in my old one, there was an alternative that is equal to or better than that.

The gallon fits beautifully in the pocket that normally would hold my chainsaw. It's balanced, very comfortable, and leaves plenty of room for tools inside the backpack. What a revelation, as I'm not usually such a creative problem solver!

I walked up the Soap Box Derby track and remembered some old graffiti that I knew some day I would address. With the proper color paint on hand, now was the time.

I couldn't quite reach the last inch or so; I'll deal with that some other time.

Then I turned my attention to the door. Color match was close enough for government work.

I returned to my van and exchanged gallon cans to gray, to cover the last of the new graffiti, on the I-691 underpass.

While I was at it, I painted over some faded graffiti adjacent to it.

Last week I told you I purchased a commemorative brick for the wall of the Record Journal conference room. This week the newspaper published hopefully the first of many updates. See if you can spot my blog HERE.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

On The Hunt

Saturday was a perfect day for a hike, and we weren't the only ones to figure that out.

Visit #1069, Saturday 15 April 17, 9:00-11:30AM, 5.6 miles.
Temps in the high 50's, sunny with a chilly breeze.

My thanks to Paul Bernier, who joined me this week.

I hadn't been up to West Peak in MANY weeks so our journey today would take us there to clean up the area. We would be on the hunt for trash.

But first, I had some opportunities to ride through Hubbard Park this week and check on the status of the uptick in graffiti as well as put some miles in.

Last week I spied a tag on the fence surrounding the retention ponds. I carried a slip of sandpaper with me and polished it off.

As I left and rolled around to the road, I spotted some graffiti which was surely there last week, but I must have missed-poor quality control on my part. So I returned on Thursday with a can of spray paint to cover it.

Bonus: In this week's report you get to see my complete stable of bikes!

Anyway, Paul and I hiked over I-691 and up the trails to West Peak, where we policed the area and the parking lot. This resulted in a couple full bags of litter.

Paul and I then followed the road to the trails, down and to the Halfway House. Unfortunately, when we arrived we discovered it had been tagged with graffiti within the past week or two. More on that later.

We also found the obligatory condom there. I hope this wasn't going on during daylight.

Paul and I hiked down to Merimere Reservoir where we found fodder for next week's blog, a fallen tree.

We returned to the parking lot and dropped off a second pair of trash bags.

But the graffiti at the Halfway House needed to be dealt with. Seeing an opportunity to combine a bike ride and tackle the ink, I packed up the Camelbak and rode on over.

I packed spray paint, but was hesitant to use it on the Halfway House because it would discolor the stone. I had the forethought to pack a wire brush as well and decided to give it first dibs.

I'm not sure what the star in the circle represents-a search on the Hate Symbols Database web site didn't provide an answer. A similar symbol, the letter "A" with a circle around it, is used by anarchists; maybe these anarchists weren't paying attention in class. They were probably daydreaming about conforming to society...

This was a good shoulder AND aerobic workout. I think it was also a good result.

I couldn't figure out what this represented.

Carrying the spray paint wasn't a total waste. The "star in the circle" thang was painted on the wood pillar. Some brown paint took care of that quickly.

Done at the Halfway House, I bombed down to the Soap Box Derby track because our "Bomb" tagger had painted the road again.

Passersby must have thought I was nuts taking a wire brush to this.

To close this week, I want to tell you the local newspaper, the Record Journal, has begun a campaign to decorate a wall in their conference room with commemorative bricks. I bought one on behalf of  the blog. We'll see where this leads. Stay tuned.