Wander the Blue Hills Reservation!
posted June 28, 2011 11:41 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat July 9 at 9:30 AM, Blue Hills Reservation / Shea Rink lot
651 Willard St, Quincy, MA, USA (Map & Directions)
Join bondcliff, canine epigram, and cranberry_nut as we spend a few hours exploring Boston's Blue Hills Reservation.
We’ll be meeting at the Shea Rink area* (accessible via the #238 outbound from the Quincy Center Red Line MBTA stop) around 9:30am and hiking approximately five miles, beginning on the Skyline trail (.pdf trail map). The terrain is moderately rugged and hilly, so please think of this as a hike rather than a walk in the woods. We will stop for lunch along the trail and visit a local establishment (TBD) for drinks and/or a snack following the hike.

Participants should bring a lunch, adequate water, and sunblock. We recommend comfortable shoes (preferably hiking boots) and breathable clothing. Optional: Please bring a snack to share with your fellow hikers.

(A more adventurous hike in New Hampshire is planned for mid-August, so stay tuned.)

Carpooling can be arranged in the thread, and questions about fitness levels, gear, terrain or anything else will be happily answered.

*Please note this is not the main Blue Hills ski area / trailside museum lot, but is located at the eastern end of the reservation.
posted by bondcliff to Meetup (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I love the Blue Hills -- I wish I could go, but I'll be on vacation for the first half of July. I will stay tuned for New Hampshire! Have fun!
posted by cider at 3:22 AM on June 29, 2011

I'm in! Should potential snacks be all inclusive (vegan, gluten-free, etc.)? Anyone else heading over from the Camberville area?
posted by Tha Race Card at 8:52 AM on June 29, 2011

I appreciate you asking, The Race Card. I have a son with nut allergies so it's always nice when people consider it. He won't be there though, so it won't be an issue for me. I was thinking of making some cookies (though it's still a ways out) that will probably have gluten. Obviously, if someone has an allergy so serious they cannot be around a certain food product, they should say so ahead of time. My cookies don't have nuts, not because of my son's allergy, but because I am not a filthy communist. Nuts have as much use in cookies as raisins.

I'll be driving from the 'burbs, Rt. 9 to 95, if anyone wants a ride along the way or from the end of the Green Line.
posted by bondcliff at 10:26 AM on June 29, 2011

[comment removed - at the point at which you're crapping in a meetup thread, you should probably ask yourself why you're bothering.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:05 PM on June 29, 2011

I am in! I can give a ride to two or three others from the Cambridge/Somerville/Watertown/Belmont/Arlington area. Send me a MeFiMail.
posted by not_on_display at 5:04 PM on June 29, 2011

I'm also in the Camberville area. I can give two folks a ride from the Porter vicinity if needed. MeMail me.
posted by cranberry_nut at 4:58 AM on June 30, 2011

Please advice advise me as to the fitness level of this hike. I am youngish and carless, but not a fan of sweating nor a member of any gym. I am also not a morning person.
I actually like "Please advice me," but it implies I can't spell instead of just implying I need someone to please hope me.
posted by maryr at 1:26 PM on July 1, 2011

Don't know that I can make it, but I am interested. Can I ask:

- How long do you all plan on taking? Two hours, four hours?

- Does anyone know what the tick situation is in the Blue Hills these days? Or, more specifically, is anyone planning on wearing shorts?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:41 PM on July 1, 2011

Fitness level: We're planning on doing about a five mile hike, give or take a mile. The hills in the Blue Hills are small (a couple hundred feet high) but there are a lot of them. So expect a few ups and downs over rocky terrain with some flat stretches in between. I don't expect we'll be setting a very quick pace; it's a hike, but a social hike. It's certainly suitable for beginners who are in ok shape. I'd say if you can walk up a couple flights of stairs without getting winded and you can walk a couple miles without your knees giving out you should be fine. I can't speak to sweating. It'll be July.

This is the Blue Hills, so worst case if you're a mile in and say "this sucks", you just turn around. If you think you might be interested in doing more hiking (perhaps on the later hike we have planned, which will most likely be a small mountain) then the Blue Hills is a good place to try it out.

I'm not much of a morning person either. Just don't drink *too* much coffee ahead of time as you'll be needing to pee every ten minutes.

Time: I'd say closer to four hours than two, possibly more. Five miles with a good lunch stop somewhere with a view. Add to that time getting to and going from the trailhead, plus the time it takes any group to get their shit together and get moving. If you have somewhere to be later in the day we can't promise that we'll be out in time.

Ticks: From doing some quick googling it looks like there is a deer issue in the Blue Hills, which means there's a tick problem. I'd suggest checking yourself throughout the day and thoroughly when you get home. I generally wear shorts when I hike in warm weather. Bring sunglasses as the glare off my legs can be blinding.

Bottom line: We do have a specific goal planned (well, it WILL be planned) and would like to reach that goal. We would like folks to keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to come. However this is also a meetup so the social aspects of it are important as well. We're a friendly group and nobody is going to holler at you if you need to take a rest or turn around.

Mostly I think we want to have a good time with some good people.

Feel free to ask more questions.
posted by bondcliff at 7:09 AM on July 2, 2011

Okay, with those re-assurances I'm converting from 'maybe' to 'yes'. If it matters to others, I will start sweating the minute we leave the trailhead, and will pit my white legs against anyone in a 'glare-off'.

No allergies.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:24 AM on July 2, 2011

My kids and I wanted to get a few hikes in over the summer; sounds like fun. Let me confirm work schedules.
posted by kinetic at 5:55 PM on July 4, 2011

I will probably be in for this, and could drive people from Davis Square. I will post back later this week to confirm.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2011

I love a good glare-off. I will bring the turtle wax.
posted by not_on_display at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2011

I have put myself down as a "maybe" here, because while this sounds awesome and totally fun, I am so, so, so very much not a morning person, and it's about an hour drive for me to get to the starting point, which means I'd have to be getting up at a thoroughly uncivilized hour to get there in time.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'll definitely try to make it to this, but particularly depending on how my Friday night goes, I'm not quite ready to make any promises.

On the other hand, if anyone living south of there would like a ride, the sense of moral obligation from having someone depending on me for a ride would easily be the extra kick in the pants I need to ensure I do actually get out of bed early Saturday morning.

Note: You're going to see these people in real life.
hahaha, that's awesome. So perfect.

posted by mstokes650 at 9:12 PM on July 5, 2011

Just a few notes as we're approaching the weekend:

The weather currently looks beautiful, high near 80.

Make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray - as mentioned up-thread, there's a tick issue and we don't want to serve ourselves up on a platter.

Our post-hike destination is the fat cat in west quincy. I've linked to the yelp listing so you can check it out.
posted by canine epigram at 6:43 AM on July 6, 2011

Time: I'd say closer to four hours than two, possibly more...If you have somewhere to be later in the day we can't promise that we'll be out in time.

At the risk of sounding pedantic, would we be done by 5 or 6pm? I have a family dinner, but I've been meaning to get back to the Blue Hills.
posted by zix at 7:31 AM on July 6, 2011

At the risk of sounding pedantic, would we be done by 5 or 6pm? I have a family dinner, but I've been meaning to get back to the Blue Hills.

I expect we'll be done well before 5:00. Probably around 3:00. That said, we are venturing into the woods a couple miles so if there are delays for any reason (injury, mutiny, alien abduction, etc) we would expect people to be tolerant of these delays, patient with the group, and not pressured by any appointments.

And I know I've said this before, but when I say "it's the Blue Hills" I mean worst case you can turn around on your own if you need to and are comfortable doing so. This is not the deep woods; the biggest hazards are broken beer bottles and horse poop on the trail.

I love a good glare-off. I will bring the turtle wax.

Beware my pasty Irish legs. I would suggest you bring one of those boxes you made in science class to use when viewing a solar eclipse. Or maybe a welding mask.
posted by bondcliff at 8:23 AM on July 6, 2011

Another logistical note from the organizers:

Please arrive as close to 9:30am as possible. We'll be making sure everything's in order then leaving the parking lot at 9:45 sharp, and we'd hate to leave anyone behind.

For those considering bringing children along: please do so only if they've been hiking before and you're sure they can keep up with a predominantly adult group. Any families should expect to be self-contained units and turn around together if need be.

If anyone's wondering about the route, we'll be starting along the Skyline trail, having lunch near Chickatawbut Hill, and looping back via the numbered trails north of Skyline. As with any hike, the route may be adjusted based on the group's pace, signs of approaching weather problems, and any trail obstructions.

Don't forget to bring sunblock, bug spray, water (2L per person suggested), lunch, and (optional) a snack to share with other hikers. Breathable clothing and comfortable shoes are strongly recommended.

Feel free to to send along any other questions. We're really looking forward to the hike!
posted by cranberry_nut at 9:35 AM on July 6, 2011

I'd love to go, but Imma thinking even a five mile social hike is a bit much for a lady who is seven months pregnant.

I hope you all have fun, and if this happens next year, I'd love to join you then!
posted by zizzle at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2011

It would be nice if the maybes confirmed yes or no by Friday night. I'll check the thread before I leave on Saturday morning in order to get a final headcount.

It would also be good to get an idea of who is riding with whom and who will be arriving via bus/train/bike/skateboard/donkey so we have an idea of when to expect you.

Feel free to MeMail me for my contact information in case you need to call if you're stuck on the T or in traffic.

Also, in case it changes anyone's mind, there will be cookies.
posted by bondcliff at 6:47 AM on July 7, 2011

Ok, I'm in! I may not be able to beat anyone in the pastiness, but my sweat gland capability is impressive.
posted by zix at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2011

(I didn't mean to pressure anyone, maybes are still ok, it's just that if we're not sure you're coming we might leave without you. It's not like a meetup at a bar where you can just show up and we'll be there.)
posted by bondcliff at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2011

If anyone else is coming from the city, I'll be leaving from Park Street Station around 8:20, connecting to the 238 bus at Quincy Center Station (not Quincy Adams) at 9:10, which is supposed to arrive at West and Willard at 9:24.

I don't have a cell phone, so if there's some irretrievable snafu you'll have to go without me. If there's just some mild delay I might try catching up. It looks like Skyline Trail is marked with blue rectangle, so it shouldn't be too hard.

For the return trip, it looks like The Fat Cat is right near Quincy Center T station, right? I'll just ask for a lift from the trail head to The Fat Cat.

Has anyone else noticed how danged hot it's gotten? I'm not a morning person either, but I'm kind of glad we aren't starting any later.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:24 PM on July 7, 2011

Don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain. Latest weather for the area calls for possible rain early in the morning but it should clear by the time we start the hike, clearing into a beautiful, though somewhat hot, day.
posted by bondcliff at 5:46 AM on July 8, 2011

I'm changing my maybe to a yes, pending confirmation of a ride from the Davis Square area. I will MeMail the volunteers upthread presently.
posted by maryr at 3:18 PM on July 8, 2011

An excellent hike was had by all, with a little bit of wandering around thanks to the Hill not-always-stellar trail markings. Nobody was eaten by bears.

Highlights include cranberry nuts banner and cookies (with cranberries of course :), bondcliff's turducken cookie - chocolate chip containing a double-stuff Oreo - the sugar high cannot be adequately described. I brought Jedi fruit snacks.

zix brought an ant along to post-hike lunch with us, and benito shared sandwiches for lunch. Wild blueberries were found and eaten, and several rocky bluffs climbed by the doughty crew.

We're hoping this is just the first of our hikes.
posted by canine epigram at 2:49 PM on July 9, 2011

I would definitely be up for more hikes, at this level of difficulty or higher... You all were fun people to walk with!

And bondcliff's cookie-within-a-cookie was obscene -- in a good way!
posted by not_on_display at 3:06 PM on July 9, 2011

Yes, an awesome time. Thanks to canine epigram and cranberry_nut for coming up with the idea for a hike meetup, and thanks to an awesome group of people for showing up.

Here are a couple photos of the group and here is the cookie recipe, though I didn't follow it and instead used another chocolate chip recipe which is why mine looked less like a muffin and more like a big chocolate chip cookie with a tumor.

I hope cranberry_nut will share the recipe for her amazing cookies as it was actually a recipe and not just a case of "make whatever the hell chocolate chip cookie dough you usually make and form it around an Oreo."
posted by bondcliff at 3:16 PM on July 9, 2011

Good walk, good food, good talk, good beer. Would walk with again. Thanks for organizing this.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:41 PM on July 9, 2011

Good walk, good food, good talk, good beer. Would walk with again. Thanks for organizing this.

Heartily seconded! Great to meet all you fine folks.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:53 PM on July 9, 2011

My photos are up here - Flickr posts in reverse chronological order. Nothing spectacular, but please enjoy.

I had a great, exhausting time. Thanks for having me along, everyone!
posted by maryr at 10:22 PM on July 9, 2011

Great pictures, maryr. I'm glad you got one of fresh Spock. I rather like him too. And with that shade of blue he might make a good mascot for the Boston MeFikers.

Please do post if you find out what the not-loosestrife is. I was going to guess some kind of swamp lupine, but I don't know if the flowers fit.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:01 AM on July 10, 2011

I have posted photos, too! Thanks again, bondcliff, canine epigram, and cranberry_nut!
posted by not_on_display at 12:18 PM on July 10, 2011

Here's my flickr set. Thanks again for a truly excellent day!
posted by zix at 2:24 PM on July 10, 2011

I plotted our route on Google Earth using an overlay of the trail map. I think I included most of our wrong turns but I'm not sure. It also gave me an elevation profile. I'm not sure of the best way to share this so I just took a screen shot.

Total distance, according to Google Earth, is 5.33 miles. Sounds about right to me.

Here is the link. Best to use view all sizes and look at the original.
posted by bondcliff at 2:44 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Cookies recipe, by request:

1/2 cup butterish item (I used Smart Balance Light Omega 3), softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup dried and sweetened cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate dough until firm. Drop by large spoonfuls onto parchments-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for around 12 minutes. Makes about 16 cookies.
posted by cranberry_nut at 11:21 PM on July 10, 2011

Mmmm. Oats.
posted by canine epigram at 8:15 AM on July 11, 2011

Hike #2 is planned!


Anyone who was at the Blue Hills hike would be fine on Mt. Cardigan. Terrain is similar, though it will be a much longer uphill hike. Join us!
posted by bondcliff at 12:12 PM on July 12, 2011

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments