Blue Hills Reservation – CCC camp – 7/3/16

Back to the Blue Hills Reservation – so many trails we still haven’t hit. Parked along Route 28/Randolph Ave., at a trailhead between Hillside and Highland Streets. We’re heading for Little Dome and Great Dome in the northeast Milton/Quincy section of the Reservation.

Just as you enter, there’s a sign noting that this was a Civilian Conservation Corps encampment, one of 28 in Mass. which housed/employed 100,000 young men in MA alone who built the trails and roads while protecting the forests and learning valuable skills. Thank you, once again, FDR!


A secondary trail forks over to the campsite, with low granite walls, almost like curbstones…  [doubleclick photos to enlarge]

and a monument to the CCC:


The trail leads around a very shallow pond, especially with the lack of rain this spring, where there are lily pads growing up through the grasses – and some growing in water as they should:

Occasional wildlife:

top of wings


underside of wings have  big green dots.

You’ve got to love how well-marked the trails are, with intersection numbers that mostly correspond to the numbers on the map. Plus occasional landmark/distance signs:


We still manage to take wrong trails, get mildly misdirected, since not every trail intersection is numbered. We missed the short loop around Little Dome and found ourselves circling Great Dome for a longer hike than planned. But we saw lots of granite mounds, glacial erratics, and high rocky walls.

We also saw evidence of human self-centeredness and disrespect for the natural environment:


So, clearly, the painter of this was hell-bent on losing his own reputation.  The best I can say is that at least it wasn’t the worst vandalism he could have  chosen.

Ah, back to the natural, un-defaced scenery:


But there’s this strange grass-covered embankment behind the trees, spreading up above and back:


Could there be a road up there? But we didn’t hear any cars, and we had climbed up around these Domes. Then a vehicle passed up there – a golf cart! We must have been at the edge of the Granite Links Golf Course.

We never saw horses along the trail, but we know they were there:


The map shows a symbol for a little building at the edge of Little Dome.  We thought it might be related to the golf course, but no – it’s a Spectra Energy gas transmission station:


And they do not want anyone trespassing:


The building itself, and the noises it made, were enough to scare us away. But snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?

These stones block any vehicles from approaching the site, but you have to figure that Spectra Energy vehicles can get through, since we were walking in tire tracks:


We headed back down the main trails. About 2 hours of total hiking round trip. And we saw only 1 other hiker on the way up, and 2 more, plus a trail runner, on the way down.

Amazing solitude for a beautiful site within minutes of Boston’s 600,000 population.






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