Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blue Hills Observatory Trail Running

So far, I am 1 for 1 on reaching my first goal!  And having fun doing it as well...

This weekend I went for the first of what I hope to be many adventures in one of my favorite places - the Blue Hills.  I am lucky enough to live right at the foothills of the Blue Hills, with trails just a few blocks from my home.  It certainly makes getting outside easy and appealing.

I started today near the Trailside Museum in Milton, and was surprised to see that the ski lift was running, and there was already snow on the slopes.  With weather in the 60s for the past few weeks, it was a reminder that winter is here!  I ended up getting quite a bit lost, exploring a part of the trails that I had not hiked before.  I followed the Red Dot trail, which is a steep, rocky (and today, very muddy!) part of the Blue Hills.  
Today was one of the first days in the 30s that we have had all winter, and I was surprised to see ice forming along the trail, but the sky was blue and I loved the crunch of leaves and ice as I hiked up... much more out of breath than I would like to admit!  It was so beautiful that at times, I lost track of the red dots, and ended up forging my own trail through the woods, until I caught up with the path again.
I have to admit, I am a sucker for waterfalls, even when they are tiny little waterfalls like the ones in the Blue Hills.  I love the handmade log bridges over the mountain streams, and the sound of trickling water over the stones.  It made the muddy parts of the trail (which was most of the trail!) totally worthwhile.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at a familiar site at the top of the mountain - the Observatory at the top of Great Blue Hill!  I've hiked up to the observatory many times before, but always on the Blue Trail, which is a two-hour, grueling hike to the top.  Who knew there was a 20-minute way to get to the same place!  What a discovery!  I learned from a sign on the Observatory that south of Maine, it is the tallest point in the US along the Atlantic Coast.  That made me feel quite accomplished.
The coolest part of the Observatory, aside from my new-learned fun fact, is that if you climb the stone steps to the top, you can see the Boston skyline.  It is a seriously beautiful view, and one that I never get tired of seeing.  If I hadn't already been completely out of breath, I could say that it took my breath away!
Admittedly, if I had read the trail signs on the dozens of times I have made this hike already, I would have noticed that there are many ways to get to the Observatory - one of which involves a 20-minute walk up a paved road.  Who knew... I opted for running down the road back to the trailhead - a run that always makes me feel like I am flying, because of the steep incline and mountain breeze.  What a refreshing way to spend an afternoon!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Resolutions

Is it too early for resolution setting?

I know most people typically set New Years' resolutions, with intentions of making the upcoming year better than the last.  These resolutions, like losing weight, making more time for loved ones, and helping to foster world peace, often last a few weeks, until life gets in the way once again.

So this year, I've decided to set a few Christmas resolutions.  Partly, because I want to start now, and so a Christmas resolution seems quite convenient.  And partly, because it seems like a great way to end 2011 on a positive and hopeful note.  

My first Christmas resolution is to spend more time outdoors, exploring the beautiful part of Massachusetts I live in.  And since one thing I've learned from the unending management training that my job provides, is that I'm much more likely to achieve a goal if it is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound), I'm setting a goal to have at least one outdoor adventure a week, and to blog about the sites I've seen, and the experiences I've had.

My tendency as a busy, perfectionist project manager in a 24-7 healthcare environment is to work 70-hour weeks, and spend most of my time indoors and constantly linked to my Blackberry.  I do love running, but most of my workout time is squeezed in during either a frantic 45 minute gym visit before work (and before sunrise!) or a completely exhausted and often short-lived gym visit after work.  So, it is my hope that this Christmas resolution will help me to slow down a bit, clear my head, and focus on the life happening around me.