MENU OF STORIES
Whale Watching, 8/31/05
While you are in Blue Hill ...
Camp at the Appalachian Mountain Club cabins on Ponkapoag Pond. Call (781) 961-7007 for reservations.
Fish, with a state fishing license, in Houghton's Pond and Pine Tree Brook, which are stocked with trout.
Golf at the 36-hole Ponkapoag Golf Course, located in Canton on Route 138. Call (781) 828-4242.
Picnic at Houghton's Pond. Tables and charcoal grills are available at Houghton's Pond. Call (617) 698-1802 to reserve a site. Groups of 25 or more must have a permit.
Rock climb at the Quincy Quarries Historic Site in Quincy and in the Rattlesnake Hill area in the eastern section of the reservation.
Play softball at Houghton's Pond fields. Reservations are required; call (617) 698-1802.
Swim at Houghton's Pond beach. Lifeguards are on duty during the day.
From the top of Elliot Tower on Great Blue Hill, the city of Boston looks like a tiny hamlet surrounded by rolling green hills and endless forests.
At 635 feet above sea level, Great Blue Hill is one of the highest peaks on the New England coast and the view stretches for miles - the North Shore in one direction, South Shore in the other.
The summit of this hill is the climactic moment of a 2.5-hour, 3-mile hike of the Skyline Loop, a challenging trail that takes hikers up and down two rugged hills.
The view is just one of the treasures found at Blue Hills Reservation, a 7,000-acre park sprawling into parts of Milton, Quincy, Randolph, Canton and Dedham. The park features more than 125 miles of trails, many of which are open to mountain biking most of the year and cross country skiing in the winter.
A hike to the summit is a steep climb, but within 2 minutes of leaving the headquarters of the Blue Hills Reservation, the view opens up on 10 miles of breathtaking countryside.
From an outcropping on Hancock Hill, the green countryside stretches to the horizon, broken only by the occasional water tank peeking over the tree tops. From here the water tanks look like pebbles in grass.
The only sounds are crickets chirping and chipmunks rustling through leaves. A hiker will occasionally stumble over a small snake or see a hawk cruising overhead.
Inevitably a fellow hiker will stroll past on the trail and something unusual happens. Strangers who might not look into each other's eyes while passing on a sidewalk are suddenly saying hello, offering a quick smile.
On a weekday morning the trails are relatively empty. But on the weekends the reservation is packed with parents leading children up the less challenging trails.
Others bring their dogs for a long walk in the wilderness. Couples might stroll to the top of a hill for a romantic picnic.
Despite the weekend crowds, there's plenty of room on the 125 miles of trails to enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty of the hills.
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