By Michael Morgan

An older term for a nice person is “a good scout.” So, what do you call a nice person who was a Good Scout? We call him Joe Greeley. The Norwood resident has long worked at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in the Longwood section of Boston and mused, “in 50 years since high school (at neighboring Boston Latin) I have moved about 100 feet up the street.” He has been a regular amongst the Friends members for the past seven years and “on and off for 15 years before that.” Below, Joe shares his thoughts on his Blue Hills experiences.

How did you first hear about the Blue Hills?
I’m a Roslindale native, so I grew up in the shadow of the Blue Hills.

How about your first Blue Hills memories?
I have always loved the outdoors. I was in the Boy Scouts and was actually at a Boy Scout camp in the Blue Hills. That’s where I got my (Blue Hills) start.

What do you like to do best in the Blue Hills?
I try to take advantage of all the Blue Hills has to offer. I’m there at least twice a month and on many Saturday afternoons. I like to hike the trails around Ponkapoag Pond, even in the winter when I put on the snowshoes. I like to pick a “trail of the day.” And it’s a great thing to mix and match trails, combine them on a hike. You can walk for miles and never see the same trail twice. This past March I did a Ponkapoag Pond walk and then stayed in an AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) cabin afterwards. I’m also a Trail Maintenance volunteer; in fact I was doing that before I actually joined the Friends of the Blue Hills. I also run the Norwood Trails Committee.

What impresses you the most about the Reservation?
The Blue Hills are a magnet. You can meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. It really appeals to a wide variety of people. You have no idea that you are so close to the city when you’re there. You can be at Houghton’s Pond and then five minutes later be on an elevated trail. And a lot of people like to walk seven miles on the Skyline Trail.

Do you have a favorite spot?
I really like Doe Hollow; it’s off the beaten path. It’s great if you like solitude. I like to just listen to the wind in the trees. It’s great to “stop the madness,” escape technology if you’d like. I also like the Old Route 128 Trail. It’s really a treasure and I don’t think enough people know it exists. I would like to see the Friends or another group do an outing there.

What does it mean to be a Friend of the Blue Hills?
The Friends do a great job of advocating for the Reservation, maintaining the property in a variety of ways. They generate a broad spectrum of support from everywhere.

I feel the need to give back. I’m always happy to chat up the Reservation. The Friends do a great job of advocating for the Reservation. In our Metro South area we are lucky to have such a beautiful recreation area.

Do you have a favorite Friends of the Blue Hills’ memory?
Two years ago they hosted a Sunset Hike to the top. It’s such an amazing view from there. The hike was well organized and well attended.

What would you suggest to someone to someone visiting the Blue Hills for the first time?
I’d say start out at the Trailside Museum and Houghton’s Pond. You can get a good flavor there for what the Reservation provides. From there, walk the trails. There are so many and they depend on people’s ability.

Top photo: Joe Greeley