Sunday, October 29, 2017

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Visit #1104, Saturday 28 October 17, 9:45AM-12:10PM, 5.4 miles.
Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

After being cut short on my trash collecting duties last week, I decided to return to West Peak to pick up the litter I left uncollected.

Thanks to Paul Bernier, who joined me in keeping the trails, and Hubbard Park, clean.

We hiked from the playscape, over I-691 and via the Blue Trail directly up to West Peak. We split up and scoured the area for trash, then policed the parking lot, where Paul scored a freebie:

Paul and I managed to fill on bag of trash and left it at the parking lot for later pickup.

We followed the road from West Peak to the fork to East/West Peak, where a posted sign directed runners in an event, in the right direction.

Lord knows they needed that sign because, the official sign pointing to each peak that had JUST BEEN INSTALLED IN SEPTEMBER...

...was stolen. Look closely and you can see the base of the bent post.

When it was initially installed I thought, "Nice job. They used a post tall enough so no one could reach the sign to steal it. Well, I guess that wasn't enough. Can't wait to see v2.0 and whether it's more vandal resistant.

Paul and I walked down the road which was surprisingly empty considering it was almost an hour after opening time for the gate. We enjoyed the quiet, and the foliage, as we descended the road.

We also found a hemlock tree which had fallen but doesn't quite extend into the road. It's enough of an eyesore that I may return and cut it up.

Bonus: The road will be closed to vehicular traffic for the season as of this coming Saturday. I hope people take advantage of the car-free road before it gets too cold.

As Paul and I reached Merimere Reservoir, we met a man who was filling up water jugs with runoff from a stream which feeds the reservoir. Paul was pressed for time so I couldn't talk to the man and get more details, but he told me through his European accent that be he's been doing this for 26 years!
No wonder the reservoir has been low!

He doesn't filter the water but boils it before use. He runs the clear tubing to a spot in the stream whre the water trickles and waits downstream for the jugs to fill.

Reminds me of when I was a kid, and before I-691 split Hubbard Park, there were springs on the north side of Mirror Lake where you could get fresh water from a pipe.

We walked the road back to the park and cleaned up both sides as we went, dropping off our bags at the trash bin when we were done.

Remember; the road is closed beginning November 1st, so enjoy it while the weather permits.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What's Up At West Peak

Visit #1103, Saturday 21 October 17, 2:45-4:00PM, 1.8 miles.
Temps in the 70's, sunny.

A few months ago I was told by someone of a "camp" somewhere on West Peak. The informant implied this camp was used by a homeless person, yet had been abandoned. I thought I'd try to find it and clean it up.

Expecting to find a large quantity of garbage and possibly hauling it a long distance, I drove to West  Peak rather than hike, and parked in the lot. With the directions I was given I chose to follow the Blue Trail from the parking lot. It didn't take more than a couple hundred feet before I came upon my Find of the Week.

Detailed info about this "Reference Mark" was found on the National Geodetic Survey web site. More than you'd ever want to know is HERE.

I traipsed north and saw views I don't usually enjoy, such as the photo at the top of this report, because there's not enough pedestrian traffic in the area to warrant a visit.

A little further on I found a couple Tupperware containers filled with rice and beef, which had not spoiled yet. Go figure.

Further on I came upon the ruins of an old fireplace. Look closely and you can see the metal pillars in the photo. There was one or two more, perhaps forming the foundation of  an old building.

Continuing to follow the directions I was given, I found the campsite with relative ease.

From what I found it looks like the builder had a familiarity with rock climbing or similar pursuits. I found climbing rope used to tie knots, tarps, camouflage netting, carabiners, and the head of an ice ax.

These look like steps to climb a tree for a deer stand. Note the ice ax head below the bottom rung.

There was no way I was going to be able to clean up the entire site without the proper cutting tools so I took what I could and left the rest for another day.

On the way back to the parking lot, I found an empty wine bottle with what I say is an interesting label.

I returned to the West Peak parking lot thinking I'd clean the parking lot and surround areas of litter, but as I did a Meriden Parks Department employee drove up and told me they were closing the road early due to a running event starting around 5PM. I quickly scouted the area and notified some others of the time change then skedaddled, leaving some litter to be picked up next week.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Community Clean-Up Day

Visit #1102, Saturday 14 October 17, 9:45AM-12:00PM, 4.8 miles.
Temps in the 60's, overcast skies.

Seeing that Meriden was hosting it's annual Mayor's Community Clean-Up Day, I decided to host my own little clean-up in Hubbard Park, sans the neon t-shirt.

Thanks to Paul Bernier who joined me today.

We left the parking lot and hiked to Merimere Reservoir. Further up the trail, Paul spotted this painted rock.

The blue looks similar to that found on another rock painting I found in August.

As Paul and I made our way up the Blue Trail, we switched modes from cleaning up litter to cleaning up the trail from a fallen hemlock.

Paul did most of the heavy lifting. I manned the camera and the loppers, for the smaller branches.

At the top of the trail we found another fallen branch.

Wash, rinse, and repeat. A passing hiker had the privilege of being the first person to enjoy the result of our labors.

Onward to West Peak. Last week I encountered some graffiti down near I-691 which made me suspect I'd find more of the same on West Peak, which is why I wanted to head there today. Fortunately, there was nothing new to be found.

Paul and I cleaned up the West Peak parking lot and surrounding area. We left one trash bag there for later pick up.

Paul was under some time constraints so he left me at this point. I carried on to West Peak where I stopped to view the fog drifting over the area.

Hiking down and over I-691 via the walkbridge, I encountered a large number of broken eggshells. I'm guessing it was the result of an egg fight.

At the other end of the walkbridge I found the smoking gun. Clearly these weren't ordinary delinquents just having an egg fight but well-educated delinquents; they were smart enough to use the eggs before their expiration date.

At the south end of the walkbridge I found yet more biblical graffiti.

Whether it's new or overlooked from a previous visit, I'm not sure. That piece of sandpaper was itching to get to work.

The sandpaper reminded me there was graffiti on the bollards a few feet away, graffiti which had been there for years.

Amazed at how fast it eradicated "Romans", I was positively giddy at how quickly it worked here. It even removed the rust!

I ended my Community Clean-Up Day activities at the parking lot, where I dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

A friendly reminder to get your Halloween candy NOW. I've got mine! Stop by my place on Halloween, mention my blog when you say "Trick or Treat!" and receive a SECOND Hershey Bar!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Putting the "E" in Early

Visit @1101, Saturday 7 September 17, 6:40-8:50AM, 3.8 miles.
Temps in the 60's, cloudy and foggy.

This week I wanted to paint over the graffiti I found last week. I started so early because I wanted to return home in time to watch the last hour of the final "classic" one day bicycle race of the year, the Giro di Lombardia.

If you don't want to watch the last 30km. then at least watch Laurens de Plus' crash.

That hurts to watch no matter what language it's in!

First, I'd like to point out the extent I go to for your entertainment.

That tree I removed from the trail last week-the tree by Merimere Reservoir-it was wrapped in poison ivy. And just how do I know?...

Does my forearm look fat in this dress?!

Crossing the walkbridge over I-691 I encountered new graffiti. Now that I'm packing my graffiti removal kit, it was easy to deal with.

What I failed to account for is the condensation on the steel. Because of it, my sandpaper clogged easily. Remind me to bring rags next time. That's YOU I'm talking to!

Anyway, enroute to the graffiti, I came upon Colorado'd Tree #18 in Hubbard Park.

I reached the graffiti on the rock and pulled out the paint.

Then my "Spidey senses" started to tingle, which told me to check the backside of the adjacent rock.

This looks more recent than the date on the "Zone 2011" would have you believe. I think I'm going to have to check West Peak again. Stay tuned next week to see if I'm right.

I doubled back and picked up litter at the parking area across from Belmont Avenue, as well as the parking area in the northwest corner of Mirror Lake. I then looped around the retention ponds, returned to the parking lot, and dropped off my bag of litter for the week.

But that Colorado'd tree was bugging me, so I returned to Hubbard Park the same zero dark thirty on Sunday morning and went all lumberjack on it.

As I returned to my vehicle, the ducks were just getting into their morning laps.