Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Visiting Massachusetts – Hiking the Blue Hills, followed by a North End dinner

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Saturday, 16-Nov-2019

 

As I mentioned, the main goal of this trip was to visit family and spend time together.  But that doesn’t mean we had to stay in one place now, did it?  And I’m pretty confident that if I was able to carve out some time to visit with everyone when we were back for Daniel and Erin’s wedding, we should also be able to visit with friends for a bit this time, right?

Right.

Steve unfortunately had to work on Saturday, but never the less Sarah, my Mom, and I all piled into the car on Saturday morning, and headed into Boston to meet up with Daniel and Erin (and their dog Biscuit too!) for a short hike in the Blue Hills.  We weren’t really planning on any specific hiking… just a chance to visit and walk around, you know?  Get out of the suburbs and into some woods while the weather was nice.

And let me tell you – the weather was NICE that day.  Perfectly blue skies, crisp air, and just a tiny bit of frost on the ground… the ideal New England Autumn day, in other words.  Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely cold.  But we’d planned for that, and had some nice warm clothes packed with us that we pulled out.  But there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so everything seemed just that much warmed and brighter, thanks to the shining sun and bright skies.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what trail we walked on… Daniel probably knows thanks to his fancy new tracking GPS watch, or maybe some sort of implanted auto-download data feeds, but the short version was that we did a lovely short walk around the hills, passing a neat little cabin and a beautiful bridge.  A bridge which, obviously, Daniel and I climbed the side of while playing fetch with Biscuit.

 

 

After the hike, my Mom had to head out to a “friendsgiving” dinner with some of their friends in Medway – we were welcome to join, of course, but instead Sarah and I took the chance to catch up with some of our own friends in the city!  Daniel graciously offered to not only drive us into town, but also to give us a ride back to Medway afterward!

With those logistics dealt with, we messaged Dillon and Liz and headed into town to rest before dinner – nothing huge, just hanging out at Daniel and Erin’s place for a bit to drop Biscuit off and see some of the new condo accessories before driving to the North End for Italian.

See, I’m sure that Portland has a good Italian restaurant somewhere.  But truth be told, I haven’t been able to find it.  I haven’t really spent that much time looking though… since we can always just go to the North End when we’re back in Boston visiting everyone!

We hadn’t been to this restaurant before, but it absolutely lived up to our expectations of perfect Chicken Parm and a good atmosphere to catch up with everyone.  Really, that’s all I need in an Italian place – a good simple dish, and a good environment to talk in.  The massive boat of oysters (literally, check out the below photos) was just a bonus on top.

Not much else to say, honestly.  The conversation was fun, and catching up with very appreciated.  It was an amazing chance to fully unwind and relax, spending time with good friends in a comfortable place.  Huge thank-yous to everyone!

Testing the Crow Hills Cliffs

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This is super out of order – it’s part of my series called “cleaning up my drafts folder”

Tuesday, 17-March-15

After seeing Quincy, I was a little curious about how the other climbing areas were doing… Daniel had said that he’d be checking out Rumney, so that really only left Crow Hill and Hammond Pond to be explored and the conditions figured out.

Hammond Pond… well, anyone who’s climbed there could tell you whether or not it was ready to climb.  Hammond isn’t really known for drying out quickly.  In fact, it’s known for staying soaking wet after a freaking sun shower in the middle of August.  So it was out.  And anyways, where’s the fun in taking a trip to somewhere that’s 20min away?

So I picked Mary up at her place, and we headed onto Route 2, in search of climbs.11081184_10101007214980010_5238343827672862060_n

Also – alpacas.  And their meat.

Mary is a bit of a foodie – not in the “let’s go out and eat at this crazy little ecclectic place!” sort of way, but in the “Come on over to my place and we can make cold vegan pig’s foot salad!” sort of way.  So when I floated the idea of driving out to Crow Hill, her stipulation was that we stop in at a farm in the area that she’d heard of: Kalon Farm, in this instance.  It’s on the way, and would take us off the boring highway, so I didn’t see a problem with it.

Honestly, it wasn’t super exciting… though I did appreciate the excuse to get off the highway and drive down the back roads for a bit.  The farm had the usual meats – nothing with alpacas at all, actually.  it all looked good enough, but the prices… yeah, not really viable for an unemployed guy, to say the least.

So, back onto the road we went.

Then, into a muddy parking lot (sorry, Mustang!) and up a trail.  The snow wasn’t too bad, but it was still quite deep – by stepping carefully we were able to make good time, but every so often a wrong step would send my foot down through the crust, and I’d be knee-deep on one side.  Yeah, the snow was easily 2 or 3 ft deep still, possibly even deeper, since that’s just how far I’d sink down.

But we made it up the trail and to the cliffs none the worse for wear, if a bit tired and wet-footed.   And that’s where we saw the ice.

Ice for days… the rotting dream of ice climbers everywhere… Well, sort of.  There was some impressive ice, definitely, but nothing as much as what you see in Rock and Ice’s ice climbing special.  Still, would have been fun to set up a top rope and take a pair of ice tools to, if the weather hadn’t been warm enough to rot most of the backing away.  As it was, the ice was gorgeous, and we spent more than a few minutes relaxing in the snow, watching the water drop off the stalagtites hanging from the cliff roof.

So the summary of the recon report could be read as “passable trails, and a few partially dry routes… but nothing viable for climbing as of yet.  At least another month required before climbing can start”,  Not the best news, but it’s something… and I’m sure this coming summer will see more than enough climbing on the old famous routes.

Where has Ben been, the summer of 2014? – Bouldering at Crow Hill

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One of the adventures that I partook in this Summer was trying out the bouldering at Crow Hill!  Most people say it’s not really good, and that if you’re hitting Crow then you should focus on Trad, since that’s what it’s known for…

And honestly, they’re right.

But it was worth trying, at least.