The group met in the morning and hiked up the Red Dot trail to the Obs. It was just the perfect day to be out on the trails today! We stopped and dropped off our food for the afternoon picnic and half the group headed out for a hike while the rest stayed at the Obs to do some bird watching and relaxing in the sun.
Arriving at the Obs
Boston views from Eliot Tower
Our hiking crew did the Skyline Trail loop. We took the North Skyline to reservation headquarters and then took the South Skyline back to the Obs. This is only about a 3 mile loop but it is rock and steep with virtually continuous ups and downs. This is one of the reasons we love Blue Hills. Hiking here feels much more like being in the Whites that being just a couple of miles from Boston. It even has the views! After a nice couple of hour workout we'd worked up a good appetite for lunch.
Heading across the North Skyline Trail
Walking the road between trailheads
Beautiful walk in the woods
A bit of scrambling
Following the kilted clan
Arriving back at the Obs after a great hike we gathered up the rest of the group and headed out to a nice spot in the shade for our picnic. Everyone brought sweets to share and we definitely replaced the calories we walked off in the morning. Don McCasland, our Obs host, also gave us a look at Blue Hills kite flying.
Don gives a kite flying demo
The official group photographer and all his gear
The beautiful alpine flowers blooming in the rarefied air at 635'
Nigel hoping Karen has something for him
Nice spot for lunch in the shade
After lunch Don gave us a fantastic tour of the Obs. Starting with some videos for the background story we then go a walk-through of the operations and all the instruments - some of which are the originals from 1885. The almost 130 year old barometers are still more accurate that most of the modern technology versions. Amazing. They also use a device called a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder that uses a glass crystal sphere to record the hours that the sun is shining by burning holes in a calibrated oaktag card. Fascinating! The Obs also has all the hand written daily log books dating back to 1885. Don pulled out the log for April 12th 1934 to see what the wind was like a Blue Hill. It was a bit breezy that day a hundred miles or so north.
Checking the records for a record day
After checking out things inside the forecast center we headed up to the top of the tower to check out the rest of the gear and the fabulous views. It was so clear today that we had views of 4 states!
Beautiful afternoon on the tower
The Kilted Clan
The Campbell-Stokes Recorder
We wrapped up the day with our traditional group photo taken by Brad, one more round of desserts and a nice walk through the woods on the "easy side" of the Red Dot trail back to our cars. Hopefully we'll continue these forum get-togethers many times in the future and find more new and interesting places to have them. It's going to be really hard to top this one though. Thanks to Don and the Observatory for being such wonderful hosts! Looking forward to seeing everyone again (along with the rest of our Mt Washington friends) in July at Seek the Peak!
The whole crew
(photo courtesy of Brad Bradstreet)
Lots more pictures in the full album here: https://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/BlueHillsMWOBSForumHike6511?authkey=Gv1sRgCMmTpsXn3K6N4AE#