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View Full Version : A White Day in Blue Hills



mtruman
01-10-2010, 04:14 PM
Not having been out for a "real hike" since Moosilauke in November was really starting to get to us. It's been nice having snow on the locfal trails for our morning walks since before Christmas, but it's just not the same. When we found out that our prior commitments for yesterday had been canceled and our daughter had to be at school play practice all day we knew we had to find some way to get a hike in. Not enough time to get too far nort <sigh> so we took the next best option - Blue Hills.

We've been to Blue Hills a number of times before and done quite a few different trail combinations but we haven't been in the winter before. We usually use it for "spring training" hikes (which it is great for). Turns out that it's just a fantastic place in winter.

Our time was limited yesterday and we lost a bit of time having to park at the lot down to road from the Trailside Museum (due to the ski lots being full). We wound up doing a leisurely loop around the north and south Skyline Trails between Rt 138 and park headquarters. It was an absolutely perfect day for a winter hike - mid 20's, sunny and clear. The trails were perfect and were a great chance to give the new microspikes a workout. We just love the microspikes and loved them even more when we watched others in bare boots slipping on the steep spots that we had just walked down with ease.

The best part about Blue Hills is the diversity. You can get all the elevation gain you want with lots of ups and downs or you can take many more level routes. The main trails are all well packed out but if you want to snowshoe just use the side-trails and you can have new snow to your hearts content. While the views (and the trails) don't compare to being in the Whites it sure beats missing another day of winter hiking!

We even got to hike to the Weather Observatory (OK, just the Blue Hills OBS)
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW37PaOtI/AAAAAAAAVL0/UfxHc5sFtcA/s720/IMG_1325.JPG

Nice views
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW4nasTeI/AAAAAAAAVL4/a_IIUdrMnRQ/s800/IMG_1326.JPG

Good chance to try out the microspikes
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW6Qham1I/AAAAAAAAVL8/NZJSJuxvQm0/s640/IMG_1327.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW7LzM8pI/AAAAAAAAVMA/yCFm5biGFGs/s640/IMG_1328.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW8NEtCzI/AAAAAAAAVME/ubD36p5vvvc/s640/IMG_1329.JPG

Great Blue Hill observation tower
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW9cwT1lI/AAAAAAAAVMI/A8VLXoPxA2w/s640/IMG_1330.JPG

How far south is that parking lot???
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/S0oW-TSD1kI/AAAAAAAAVMM/YWg-7S2LMjI/s640/IMG_1331.JPG

CHRIS
01-10-2010, 04:20 PM
Great pictures Mark. Looks like you guys had a great day. I cannot believe I am only 45 minutes from there and have never gone. I wonder how safe it would be to do a night hike to the Obs. I work about 10 mins from there.Would make a nice hike after work.Thanks for sharing your day with us. I assume it was the hot tub after the hike ;)

mtruman
01-10-2010, 04:50 PM
I think a night hike to the OBS would be fine. There is actually a road to the top that you could hike up but the trails shouldn't be a problem. Yes, the post-hike hottub was in play yesterday too :)

Anna LeBlanc
01-10-2010, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the great pictures Mark.Looks like you had alot of fun.
Like Chris we're only about 30 min. from there and have never hiked it either.

Have to put it on our list of to do short hikes for the Spring.:)


_________________

Anna

M_Six
01-10-2010, 06:05 PM
Nice pics, Mark. That place has a special significance for my family. My younger sister worked there for years. After her death my parents climbed up there and scattered her ashes from the summit. She loved that place. I visit the Hazecam site often as the summit camera makes me think of seeing the world through her eyes.

Snow Miser
01-10-2010, 06:42 PM
Nice photos of your shorter hike Mark. Often times the short ones are just enough to get rid of the cabin fever.:)

billysinc
01-10-2010, 06:59 PM
Nice pix Mark. I love Blue Hills reservation. The terrain is so varied and there's miles of trails in the area. True it's not the Whites but for those of us who are 3-4 hours away from NH it's a great little playground.

mtruman
01-11-2010, 06:44 AM
Thanks for the great pictures Mark.Looks like you had alot of fun.
Like Chris we're only about 30 min. from there and have never hiked it either.

Have to put it on our list of to do short hikes for the Spring.:)



The nice thing about Blue Hills is that it doesn't have to be a short hike. Our typical spring training hikes there are 10+ miles with 2000+ ft of elevation gain. The complete end-to-end loop is 16 miles / 3000 ft. Check out the trail descriptions on Mohamed Ellozy's site: http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/strenuous.html (http://home.earthlink.net/%7Eellozy/strenuous.html)

The Skyline Trail loop is great but there are lots of other alternates that can be added in endless combinations.


Mark - a very touching story about your sister. I look at the haze cam from time to time but will now think of your story when I visit again.

MelNino
01-11-2010, 10:08 AM
Lovely pics!!

We did our first hike of 2010 on Sunday....Talcott "mountain." Easy hike, but felt good to get out with the micropsikes.

Anna LeBlanc
01-11-2010, 12:38 PM
Lovely pics!!

We did our first hike of 2010 on Sunday....Talcott "mountain." Easy hike, but felt good to get out with the micropsikes.

Mel,

We've been up Talcott in the Summer.Is the Tower open to the public in the Winter too?

Mark,

Thanks for the link.
___________

Anna

MelNino
01-11-2010, 12:51 PM
Anna-

Nah, the Tower wasn't open.....pity....because we got cold pretty fast once we stopped moving!

KD Talbot
01-11-2010, 03:40 PM
Great TR and pics, Mark! It should be noted that Blue Hills Obs is the one that confirmed the MW Obs record wind!

KDT