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Boston Inspiring Connections Outdoors

Bringing kids outdoors since 1994

Hiking (and Swimming) in the Blue Hills Reservation with St. Peters - 10/6/18

Ten 8th graders from St. Peters joined Matt, Julia and Ben to the Blue Hills on Saturday

morning. The group was led provisionally by ICO volunteers Matt and Julia and the

fantastic Luis from the Teen Center. We started the day with an epic view of a full-sized

hawk catching its prey - right in the parking lot in Dorchester - why even go to the Blue


After the critical moment of collecting all the children's cell phones, Luis drove the van

~15 minutes to the trailhead. We held an opening circle with the ice-breaker "What's

your favorite thing about fall"; before a trailhead talk that reviewed the Leave No Trace

principles and expectations for the hike. We had a snack of grapes since many of the

kids didn't have breakfast, stopped to look at the interactive park map, go to the

bathroom, and then headed to the trail. A few participants said they wanted to swim at

Houghton’s Pond – where we parked.

Once we started moving up Great Blue Hill and towards the Eliot Tower, the energy

level was unstoppable - despite the challenging (hilly, rocky) terrain, the speed of ascent

was remarkable. We did need to have a few focus sessions on trail etiquette as our

fastest participants sometimes overwhelmed more pedestrian hikers. (Let’s be honest,

the Blue Hills gets slammed with people on nice weekends.) We also stopped to view a

baby snake, many types of mushrooms (again a safety moment), and of course for

lunch at the Tower. Upon climbing the steps of the tower we were afforded with a 360

degree view including the skyline of Boston.

After a descent on challenging terrain crossing many people and dogs visiting the

reservation we returned to Houghton’s Pond where 3 boys hopped in the pond. They

were the only ones who were swimming on the coolish fall day, but they were not to be

denied. The others hit up the playground to stretch it out – Julia even hit up the slide!

The group was incredibly well-behaved and showcased the great attitude that we are

grateful to have experienced together.

-Matt & Julia