I’m a hiker. Always have been, always will be. At the very least, until my knees become so worn I may no longer do so. There’s just something very refreshing about being in the wilderness. Maybe it’s the fresher-than-inner-city air. Or the lack of commuter noise and street traffic. Regardless of what it is that makes hiking so important to me, I know it’s a part of my life that I cherish.
Living in the city, its very hard to find a park that has everything I am looking for. Most parks are either too small, or lack the bountiful nature that really makes up the outdoor experience. However, just outside Boston, in a town called Milton, is my beloved Blue Hills Reservation. When a mid week jog or hike is in need, or I just can’t make up north for a weekend, the Blue Hills Reservation is my favorite spot.
Although Blue Hills stretches across several cities, Quincy and Randolph included, I always start at the trail head in Milton. It’s across from the beautiful, but very busy Houghton’s Pond. There is actually a very nice trail that weaves through the woods around Houghton’s Pond. I suggest visiting this trail in early to late spring, but the beach gets way to busy in the summer time to enjoy this trail.
My personal favorite trail is the Skyline Loop trail. Although a pretty popular trail, its rarely occupied on mid day afternoons. This trail will allow you to cross several summits within the Blue Hill range. Don’t worry, the summits are not high at all. The height of the tallest summit, which this trail will bring to you, is the Great Blue Hill, which reaches 635 feet. You’ll start this trail right behind the Reservations Headquarters, and it will loop you back around on the south side of the headquarters about 3 hours later. Those of us who are fast walkers could probably shave a half hour to forty five minutes off the total time.
This trail really does offer a little bit of everything. Few large rocks will litter the trail on the way up, which may make it challenging for some. However, this is what makes the hike fun. It’s not hard, but there is always a little something different to see on this trail. My favorite part of the trail is within the first mile, where you ascend a large flat rock towards a small flat plain. This allows a quick first test for the wobbly traveler. Plus, its always where I stop first. I typically take a nice seat on a piece of rock and overlook the bevy of trees. To my right, off in the distance is Houghtons Pond. And despite knowing you’re just mere miles from the route 95 interstate, you won’t hear a single truck. Its really a thing of beauty.
The hike allows for discovery too. Native Americans made their homes in these hills. Some people still find old Native American arrowheads in these hills. I haven’t found any since I was a child. I do remember my dad having a collection of these historic stones that he collected at Blue Hills. There is a cornucopia of plant and animal life that depend upon these hills for food and life. Coyotes and the endangered timber rattlesnake are included.
If conclusion, if you’re in or around the Boston are and have no checked out The Blue Hills Reservation yet, I highly suggest you do so. You will not be disappointed in what the area has to offer. In fact, it’ll surprise you that this wooded wonderland sits so close to the city.