The (Blue) Hills are alive
Sunday the weather was magnificent. Massachusetts has been getting all of its rare October days in November, with combinations of warm blue days and bright yellow leaves.
SG and I decided to go for a hike in the Blue Hills Reservation. Located just south of Boston, it took us just 25 minutes to get there in the usual weekend congestion of Rte 93. This highway can become a parking lot of fevered Cape Codders racing to relax.
It's from the native people of the Blue Hills that Massachusetts gets its name, it translates to "people of the hills." Unlike some of the other popular hiking parks in Mass., entry to the Reservation's hiking and multi-use (read bikes, people and horses) is free.
We arrived just after noon, and pulled over on the shoulder, the parking lots already full. We had forgotten to buy water for the hike, and at the park's water fountains had been shut off for the post-season. After all, it wouldn't be unusual in Massachusetts for their pipes to freeze and burst by mid-November.
I spied a darkened soda and water vending machine at the edge of the parking lot. I waded through the weeds to find the electrical plug, and the machine quickly powered to life. I fed it two dollars, and promptly received 75 cents in change - but no water. The vending machine was dry and empty - so much for my Yankee ingenuity. SG unplugged the machine for me, and undetered, we entered the forest.
Despite the packed parking lot, there was little traffic on the trails. That may have been because the SG and I foolishly chose the second most challenging trail, identified by blue blazes (sadly, we did not have the opportunity to euphemistically curse - "what in the blue blazes do you think you're doing?" while on the trail). Within minutes of choosing the cheerful sky blue, we were climbing near ninety degree escarpments to the top of Hancock Hill. I wheezed and panted all the way, but kept on, because damn it, we were having fun.
From the top of Hancock Hill the view is truly panoramic. The Reservations hills and forest stretch to the south, and with a slow turn you can see all the way to the Atlantic coast, and further west, downtown Boston and the Charles River.
SG and I wandered through the small meadow atop the hill, among the slender birch saplings. As we stood had in hand, staring west to the sea, I was hoping the view might surpass, or at least match, the views of his native Blue Ridge Mountains. But I was contented to hear his review - "Not bad."
Not bad at all, for the cost of gas to Milton and a $1.25 donation to the Reservation's vending machine.