Sunday, June 25, 2017


The only thing that wasn't weird on today's expedition was the serene view from the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

Visit #1085, Sunday 25 June 17, 7:05-10:30AM, 5.8 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

During last week's drive up to West Peak, I decided some of the foliage on the road side needed trimming so it didn't encroach on hikers and walkers as they followed the road. So this week I would tackle one side of the road, trimming for a little headroom.

It didn't take long after I started my hike to run into my first of many weird finds of the week-Annie Scott's college homework and expired internet credentials.

By the time I reached the water treatment plant I had collected enough heavy trash that I decided to leave the bag there.

But as I did, I spied more weirdness.

At first I thought those planks near the brook were placed there for a purpose. But the more I thought about it, the less clear that purpose became. So I gathered up the wood and left it with the trash bag.

When I reached the south end of Merimere Reservoir, as a habit I checked the lock on the gate and found it missing. That was weird. ATVers are prone to cutting off the lock and as a result of my request in April 2016, the Meriden Parks Department installed a shroud around the padlock to prevent vandalism. I had previously demonstrated that cutting the lock was still possible and assumed that's what happened.

But as my instincts led me to look inside the post adjacent to the gate, look what I found.

Either someone from the parks department brain farted and forgot to reinstall the lock, or someone else has a key. I re-secured the lock and will keep an eye on it as I check it every time I pass by.

I hiked up the trails, past the Halfway House. Further on along the main trail I found what appears to be Colorado'd Tree #17.

Luckily, today I brought along my seldom used pruning saw, which rectified the situation just fine.

I turned up the trail and headed toward the road. Enroute, I found these rocks which were weird because someone painted them white. I'll hopefully remember to paint over them next week.

At the top, I walked the road down, pruning as I planned to do. I also found more graffiti, which I'll attempt to address next week as well.

At the very bottom, I continued finding weird things.

Since these car parts were found adjacent to a stone wall, I can only assume the car met the wall. The car parts were kind of large but fortunately they weren't heavy to carry.

I followed the road back toward the park and, upon reaching Echo Point I did a little pruning and ran into the Ultimate Weird Find of the Week.

Whoever discreetly hid this bird cage behind the rocks at Echo Point had the forethought to tie open the bird cage door so Tweety could fly the coop.

I carried the bird cage, along with the car parts, as I walked the road back to the park and picked up trash. Reaching the water treatment plant for the second time, I added the car parts and bird cage to the other trash I left their earlier. The Meriden Water Department must LOVE me...

I continued on back to the park where I dropped a bag of not so weird trash.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Being Lazy

A humid, foggy blanket hung lazily over Meriden on Saturday. Sunday was more of the same.

Visit #1084, Saturday 17 June 17, 1:45-3:25PM, 2.1 miles.
Temps in the 70's, humid/light rain.

I was on-call so I couldn't stray far on foot. In my enforced laziness, I drove up to West Peak. Last week, Paul Bernier and I had discovered some trees on the Blue Trail near West Peak which needed some attention, so I brought my chainsaw along.

First order of business was to remove a couple trees which appear to have been "Coloradoed", or at least the Hubbard Park version. These are the 15th and 16th trees I've found like this.

I didn't expect they'd re-root themselves, so I cut them off at their bases.

About 200 yards further down the Blue Trail, a large tree had fallen creating a trail bottleneck.

I removed just enough of the trunk to restore the trail to full-width.

I executed an about face and returned to my van. I dropped off the chainsaw and shifted into trash collection mode. I cleaned up the area around West Peak and the parking lot. Then I drove my on-call/lazy self over to Castle Craig to do the same.

About the time I arrived it started to rain lightly. While picking up trash around the parking lot, a wedding party arrived to take photos at Castle Craig. During the photo shoot the wedding party broke out into a round of "Stolat!". Being of Polish descent myself, I recognized the song. I didn't join in because I wasn't dressed for the party, however ;-) .

For the interested, here's the song:

It was while cleaning up the Castle Craig area that I came upon 2 "Finds of the Week".

I didn't dare go looking for the Cinderella that belonged to these slippers; she'd be in for quite a shock at the prince who found them!

Looks like someone wasn't so enamored of the their job at Burger King.

I finished cleaning up the area, and unlike the Meriden FIre Department employee who couldn't be bothered with taking a bag of trash from Castle Craig, lazy me put the bag in my van and drove it home so Castle Craig would look a little neater.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Heat Is On

That turd dropping gaggle of geese I first encountered in May was spotted on the shores of Merimere Reservoir on Sunday. That's not the only repeat encounter I had this weekend. The goslings have grown quite a bit.

Visit #1082, Saturday 10 June 17, 8:15-10:15AM, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

Thanks to Paul Bernier for joining me this week in keeping the trails clean. Paul and I started earlier than usual because of expected high temps during the weekend.

In the past couple weeks I spotted broken glass on the trails and in the parking lot at West Peak. Our route would take us past all the spots to clean up. Broken glass can especially be a problem for dogs.

We were roughly 2/3 the way to Castle Craig when we stopped to sweep up the first of the glass.

As Paul and I made our way up to Castle Craig, I spotted some new graffiti but I wasn't equipped to deal with it; it would wait until Sunday.

Once at the top, we walked the road over to West Peak. Enroute we found this car front fender part which was abandoned.

I placed it in a visible spot and planned to notify the Meriden Parks Department Monday to pick it up. Hopefully, sticky fingers won't move it, which happens often.

At West Peak, I swept up 3 separate areas of shattered glass and put them in my trash bag. They may not look like much but they were much more unsightly than the photos depict.

Paul and I then followed the trails down and over I-691.

In May I reported about one of the two flags which are typically displayed on the walkbridge over I-691 had been removed. In this case it's the flag over the eastbound lanes. I promised to report when it would be replaced by the mysterious person that installs these flags about the same time each year. Well, this week the missing flag was replaced.

Further on along the walkbridge I spotted some repeat graffiti. I first found and removed the same markings the same week I discovered the missing flag.

Paul and I returned to the park and dropped off our bags of litter for the week.

Later on Saturday I returned to Hubbard Park while on a bike ride and brought my pocket dynamite-sandpaper.

Here's the repeat tag I mentioned above, on the bridge:

Here's a better view from Saturday morning:

And here, it's gone:

I inspected the remainder of the bridge and found some more graffiti:

The other graffiti bugged me enough to pack both a gallon of paint AND spray paint and return to the park Sunday morning. Temps were expected to reach the 80's on Sunday so I got an early start.

I hiked up to the Halfway House and broke out the spray can:

Once dry it should flatten out and fade nicely.

I hiked up to Castle Craig, stopping at the other graffiti spots and taking care of business, perhaps following the path our can of red spray paint did.

Like Rock-Paper-Scissors, Brown covers Red.

And Gray covers White.

I reached the fork in the road to East/West Peak and hoped to find my car part still on the concrete block. Alas; sticky fingers DID get to it and I found it in the road, again.

Here's hoping this time it will stay put until Monday morning.

I walked the road down, around Merimere Reservoir, and back to the park, collecting litter as I walked. I encountered one more spot of graffiti, but this time on the road.

I just beat the heat when I returned to the parking lot.