Monday, May 31, 2010


I went for a hike at Blue Hills Reservation today. Trail traffic wasn't so bad, considering it was Memorial Day. But I still crossed paths with several large groups of people, even on the smaller trails.
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

hood ice cream sandwich

hood ice cream sandwich
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

There was an ice cream truck on the DeCordova grounds today. At first, I thought it was a new installation! Fortunately, there was a guy selling real ice cream. I haven't had an ice cream sandwich in a long time, but I was hungry so it seemed like a good idea. I got one ($2) and ate it while I hiked. It was quite nice, although the ingredients sounded kind of icky.

nice day!

Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

Behind the DeCordova, today.

another look at butterfly effect

butterfly effect
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.


butterfly effect

butterfly effect
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I went for a one hour hike behind the DeCordova today. Before going in, I stopped for a visit at my totally favorite sculpture in the park, Rick Brown's "Butterfly Effect". It has changed quite a lot since the last time I was there.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty-five

Total miles: 44028. Trip miles: 379.1. Gallons: 6.351. Price per gallon: $2.719.

Screen mileage: 55.2 mpg. Tank mileage: 59.7 mpg.

Another crazy tank mileage.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty-four

Total miles: 43649. Trip miles: 358.2. Gallons: 8.08. Price per gallon: $2.759.

Screen mileage: 54.2 mpg. Tank mileage: 44.3 mpg.

The low tank mileage makes up for the high tank mileage last time. Probably the tank didn't completely fill last time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

skyline trail view at blue hills reservation

trail view
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

This view of the trail, with a bit of water on the horizon, could almost be a view in the Caribbean.

Today's hike was great, aside from the crowds. Despite the sun and heat, I seemed to have stayed well hydrated (no headaches). I didn't have any trouble with my knees or joints whatsoever. I did get a few rub marks on my feet. I thought I'd find blisters when I got home, but nope.

I did try to take a pretty easy pace to avoid blisters. Maybe that helped with all of the above. I'm trying to be more careful about easing into the hiking season this year.

boston view

boston view
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

On the way back, near Chickatawbut Tower, I wasn't paying attention and wandered off the trail. It was no loss, since I discovered this great view to the north of the trail. I climbed down a rocky, narrow side trail to the red trail, to find a guy doing a little amateur rock climbing with his kids. From there I easily made it back to the blue trail.

Soon thereafter, I ran into some people who were looking kind of lost. They had a map, but didn't know the way to their car. Even worse, it seems the person who was lost was leading a group of people! I hope I pointed them in the right direction. I wound up giving them my compass. Darn, I've had that compass for 10 years!

rattlesnake hill

rattlesnake hill
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

This is what you see when you climb up Rattlesnake Hill, just off the Skyline Trail at Blue Hills Reservation. It's supposed to be a rock climbing spot, but I've never seen any climbers there. I wonder if they use these steel pipes as anchors?

There's a great view from Boston if you stand up by the pipes. You have to ignore the golf course and condos in the foreground, though.

It was really crowded today. Like yesterday, it started out reasonably quiet. But at some point, I was running into someone(s) every 5 or 10 minutes. Or at least it seemed that way...

latte on the trail

latte on the trail
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

Today's hike: 3 h 18 min | 6.1 mi | 1.9 mph

I began my hike at Blue Hills Reservation with latte in hand this morning.

I parked where the Skyline Trail meets Rt 28. This is where I turned back yesterday. I followed the Skyline Trail east, to where it terminates, and returned the same way.

The time and mileage aren't that accurate. I kept forgetting to restart my stop watch after stopping to take a photograph.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

heading down off buck hill

heading down off buck hill
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

Today's hike: 1 h 42 min | 3.75 mi | 2.2 mph

This morning, I hiked the Skyline Trail from the parking lot at Headquarters Path over to Rt 28 and back. I started around 8:30. It was pretty quiet. I even got a few minutes of solitude to look out at Boston from Buck Hill. But by 10, traffic started to pick up. By the time I left, it was getting to be too busy for my taste.

There are a lot of deer flies out; most unusual. I wasn't bitten, though. Aside from that the only other wildlife I noticed was a large toad along the trail. Last week, I saw a couple of small snakes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A review of "Journey from Zanskar"

by Frederick Marx

The takeover of Tibet by China is yet another example of the attempt of a hostile, imperialist nation making a land grab, paving over any natives that stand in their way. History is filled with such examples, but in particular it reminds me of the way the US steamrolled the Native Americans, who are still struggling today.

The Dalai Lama has been very active in preaching to preserve Tibetan culture, religion, and language. Journey from Zanskar is a documentary about a couple of monks who take a dangerous journey with a small group of young children in an attempt to carry out these intentions. It’s a tear-filled documentary! The trip takes the children from their home in Zanskar, to Manali, where they can be educated in Tibetan schools. These children will be parted from their families for many years, because extreme poverty makes travel impossible on a regular basis.

The movie is very touching, and you get a feeling of how desperate the people are in this region. It’s definitely worth viewing.

After watching the movie, though, I had some misgivings. While it’s clear that the monks were well-intentioned, I had an uneasy feeling that they took excessive risks with the children. This is not to say that the monks were careless or clueless; they clearly had permission from the parents, who seemed grateful and happy that their kids were being given the opportunity. All involved felt that the risk was worth the gain. And it’s true that I’m comparing the risks taken here with the risks that typical American parents might be willing to take with their children; an unfair comparison, because Americans are so much more sheltered than these people.

It seems to me a wiser plan would have been to start a Tibetan school in Zanskar, and have the kids attend school there. I’m under the impression that there are, in fact, several schools underway. The problem with the movie, in this respect, is that it doesn’t present alternate solutions to the problem. Were there any alternative educational opportunities for these kids in Zanskar, at all? Might the monks themselves have set up shop in Zanskar as tutors for the Tibetan kids? So you’re not really clear whether the desperate journey was a noble cause or a hair-brained scheme. Probably it was a bit of both. Let’s hope good Tibetan schools come to Zanskar soon, so that no more families will have to make such painful decisions and face such terrible risks in the future.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty-three

Total miles: 43291. Trip miles: 366.3. Gallons: 6.272. Price per gallon: $2.899.

Screen mileage: 54.7 mpg. Tank mileage: 58.4 mpg.

Still crazy tank mileage. Maybe my car was kidnapped by aliens and driven backwards in time.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty-two

Total miles: 42925. Trip miles: 224.5. Gallons: 3.510. Price per gallon: $2.899.

Screen mileage: 54.1 mpg. Tank mileage: 64.0 mpg.

Insane tank mileage, eh?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

hikers seen from eliot tower

Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

That's the Boston skyline off in the distance.

This shot was taken from Eliot tower. There were a lot of people out hiking this morning... I saw several groups or individuals just while I hung out at the tower.

Most hikers were friendly... One woman went out of her way to inform me that the bird chirping in the distance was a rufous-sided towhee. I was skeptical since it sounded a lot like the sparrows that I see outside my window in the morning. But it turns out that towhees are related to sparrows, so she may have known what she was talking about.

eliot tower

Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I got up early this morning, skipped breakfast, and went for a hike at Blue Hills Reservation. I went early to avoid the heat and crowds. Good thing, too, since it was already crazy busy, even though I was there before 9.

I decided to do the Skyline trail loop starting at Rt 138, in the western part of the reservation. According to Ranger Pete, the loop is a 3 mile hike. I did it in 2 hours, which makes my pace pretty bad, but it's early in the season.

At least Eliot Tower was pretty empty when I got there, however, and I had the chance to go on up, which I haven't done before. Nice views!