Sunday, July 30, 2017

An Overload of Perfect

Add today as one of the many idyllic mornings I've experienced this year in Hubbard Park.

Visit #1090, Sunday 30 July 17, 8:00-11:00AM, 6.3 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny, dry, with a mild breeze. Just enough to keep the mosquitos away.

I hadn't walked the road from the park to Castle Craig in some time. Today was a perfect day to revisit the road and the quietude the park provides before the road opens to cars.

A new power pole support pole was added near the water treatment plant. Nothing gets by me...

Further up the road I found an abandoned cardboard box.

I was tearing it into pieces to fit into a large trash bag, when along came Ken. I don't know Ken all that well but I have mentioned him before: He walks the road and turns around at some point. On his return trip, he'll pick up trash and stash it in a plastic grocery bag. He's stealing my job, dammit!

Seriously, when he saw me tearing up the box, he offered to take the cardboard, without me bagging it, and would drop it off at the water treatment plant. I know when to not say "no", so I let him have the cardboard. The bag under his right arm is his trash bag. There are some unsung heroes in Hubbard Park; Ken is one of them.

I soldiered on up the road, cleaning up both sides all the way up to Castle Craig. Unfortunately, my schedule did not permit cleaning the parking lot, so I made my way on the trails down to the Halfway House.

There, I found the remnants of a private fireworks display.

I picked up everything then attended to all the new graffiti I found, which I'm inclined to think was generated by the fireworks party. I wisely packed my spray paint, and expended the entire can, covering much more than you see in the photos. Might as well, since  I had the can out.

When I was done, I took a look around to enjoy the scenery.

Turning around to look toward Castle Craig, I discovered 2 more American Chestnut plantings, adding to the two I found last week. 

Incidentally, I learned the person planting the chestnut trees is Jim Chapman. Unfortunately, we played phone tag last week so I didn't get the chance to hear his story. Hopefully I'll have more info in the next week or two.

I also noticed the grass around the Halfway House is really tall and some small trees are beginning to grow around its perimeter, some of it higher than the stone wall. I'll ask the parks department if perhaps they could give the area a haircut.

I hiked back toward the park, walking on the Green Trail, where I discovered a fallen hemlock.  That means next week's post will involve power tools. Woo Hoo!

As I passed the water treatment plant enroute back to the park, I spotted where Ken left the cardboard. My only concern was whether the breeze would scatter the cardboard before it was picked up.


Once I reached the Soap Box Derby track, I discovered yet more new graffiti. Graffiti has been the biggest problem this season, and it's growing. While some of the graffiti was chalk, I wasn't able to remove it completely (maybe I should start carrying a chalkboard eraser...). I'll try and clean this off next week when I remove the fallen hemlock.

I returned to the park and dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Digging Up The Past


Just a series of photos spanning West Peak, showing the haze from the mildly humid day.

Visit #1089, Saturday 22 July 17, 0930-1130hrs, 4.5 miles.
Temps in the low 80's, sunny and mildly humid.

Thanks to Paul Bernier for joining me this week.

After reading a recent article regarding graffiti on a new building on Colony Street,  I was reminded of graffiti problems in Hubbard Park, so I decided to check on some I'd painted over recently at West Peak. That's where todays route would lead.

Paul and I hiked the trails from the parking lot up to Merimere Reservoir and to the Halfway House, where we encountered our Find of the Week.

Someone has planted TWO of these American Chestnut trees in the clearing surrounding the Halfway House. The reason my weekly blog entry is late is because I called the number on the tag hoping to talk to the person who planted the saplings, but they never returned my call.

This isn't the first time someone tried planting chestnut trees in Hubbard Park. In my pre-blog days, November 2008 to be exact, a number of saplings were planted adjacent to the Soap Box Derby Track. Below are archival photos of them.

They didn't survive because the bank they were planted on is mowed by the Parks Department. Oops.

The first attempt at introducting the chestnut trees to Hubbard Park was made by local resident Dick Kearney. While the phone number on the tags I found Saturday didn't lead to Dick, I wonder whether the two incidents are related.

I'll keep an eye on the new plantings and report on their survival.

Paul and I hiked up to West Peak where the graffiti has mostly remained at bay. We cleaned the parking lot and collected enough trash to leave a bag for later pickup.

We took in the panoramic view you see at the top of the post, then hiked our way back to the park and deposited our remaining trash for the week.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Visit #1088, Sunday 16 July 17, 4:15-5:45PM, 3.0 miles.
Temps in the 80's, sunny and dry.

I was on-call so today would be short and I'd be sticking close to the parking lot. I had to keep it simple.

I started walking on the trail behind the daffodils when I came upon this log in the middle of the trail. I'd previously cut this tree after it had fallen across the trail. It certainly wasn't stable when I originally rolled it off-trail, so it probably rolled back on its own. I moved it again.

Further on, I found this:

Looks like an um, quality product to me. From the photos on the package, can you guess who the intended customer base is? From my casual reading, this dope is probably used in a vaporizer, much like vaping nicotine.

I walked the trail to the parking area across from Belmont Avenue. Enroute I stopped to check on the flags on the I-691 walkbridge and discovered they both have been taken. From my records it happened within the past couple weeks.

At the Belmont Avenue trail entrance, I was reminded of a flag I'd seen a couple weeks ago but totally forgot about.

I saluted the flag, made an about-face, and started marching back to the park.

Nearing the northern parking lot, I came upon my Find of the Week.

I had no clue what it was.

My first guess-it was a sex toy. But I quickly discounted that. If it were, I would have recognized it immediately because uh, yeah; I saw one in a book once... ;-)

Then I thought it might be a medical instrument. Then I changed my mind; medical instruments would never be pink.

That's when I realized I was looking at my first selfie stick, although I had no clue how to use it.

I continued on, walking up the Soap Box Derby track. Nestled into some rocks I spied what I thought was the top of a coffee cup, but upon digging it out, discovered it was the smallest letterbox I've ever found in Hubbard Park.

I put it back for YOU to find.

I made a loop out of my walk and returned to the playscape to drop off my bag of trash for the week.
Simple as that.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

21 Reasons

Idyllic weather on Sunday morning in Hubbard Park.

Visit #1087, Sunday 9 July 17, 7:50-10:35AM, 5.3 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny and dry.

I had to finish trimming the roadside to Castle Craig, so a walk on the road to the top would be the agenda for the day.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering changes to Connecticut's bottle law in an attempt to increase revenue and help close the severe budget gap/deficit. I'm all for increasing the bottle deposit from five cents to ten cents OR MORE. It's obvious to me from my work in Hubbard Park that five cents does not seem to encourage compliance, so if litterers are going to throw their money away, then it might as well go to good use. And if compliance increases, then the park will be cleaner and I won't be bending over so much.

To prove my point, I photographed every can and bottle I collected today.
You see them as I found them.

Anyway, I walked the road up toward Castle Craig and trimmed branches along the left side of the road, as I had trimmed the right side already a few weeks ago.

At the top, I hiked the Blue Trail down.

It doesn't look steep in the photo, but it is.

At the bottom I hiked to the Halfway House and removed some graffiti which only needed some brisk rubbing.

Back at the parking lot, I deposited my trash for the week.

Today I also noticed the parks department replaced the non-functioning water fountain at the playscape.

Here's a closeup of the old fountain. Notice that it had a handicapped accessible secondary fountain.

Here's the new fountain. You can see the ghost image of the old fountain on the concrete. I'll presume there's a decorative casing to enclose this, otherwise I don't anticipate it will last long. I wonder whether there will be a replacement handicapped accessible fountain to join this one.

I can tell you one thing; I tested it and it worked nicely.