Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Snowshoe Hike in the Eastern Blue Hills

photo of Sawcut Notch Trail, Eastern Blue Hills, Quincy, MALast Weekend, I went on a snowshoe walk through the Eastern Blue Hills in Quincy after a moderate snowstorm. Conditions were perfect for snowshoeing, as the snow was light and powdery, so I set off that morning from the Shea Rink on Willard Street, starting on the Skyline Trail and soon moving on to the beautiful Sawcut Notch trail (see photo). The Sawcut Notch was in great condition and was mostly pretty level, so it was easy going for the first part of the hike.

photo near base of Great Dome, Eastern Blue Hills, Quincy, MAAfter awhile, the Sawcut Notch Trail started to rise a bit as it approached a scenic and remote hill called Great Dome. I skirted Great Dome--there is a trail that goes up the hill, but it is being phased out--and headed toward Little Dome and some marshy areas, taking some pictures of streams and wetlands along the way (see photo). A short ways after Little Dome, I took a left and found my way to Crags Foot Path, which is a peaceful, mostly level trail (and was particularly beautiful that morning).

photo near base of Great Dome, Eastern Blue Hills, Quincy, MAI hadn't really done any elevation gains up to this point, so just after the Furnace Brook Path veered off to the left, I took a right up a little-used path, scampering up the side of Rattlesnake Hill. The path soon brought me to the Skyline Trail once again, where I took a right and carefully hiked up the side of Rattlesnake Hill. When I got to the top, it started to snow, making for a really nice scene (see photo). I spent a few minutes at the top before retracing my steps and taking the Skyline Trail back to the parking lot.

The total snowshoe hike in the Eastern Blue Hills was about 5 miles, and took just under 3 hours. And while the top of Rattlesnake Hill was probably the most scenic part, the heavily-wooded Sawcut Notch Trail and Crags Food Path were also quite nice.

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