Joanna is a monthly donor and Blue Hills Champion because the Blue Hils is such a big part of her family’s life.
Interview by Michael Morgan

Joanna Dahl has a very active life, and the Blue Hills are a big part of it. The Milton resident works as a researcher and, with her husband, is raising two young children – and taking part in her own rigorous, personal athletic program. Ask her what her favorite part of the Blue Hills is and she will answer, “it depends on who is with us.” Read on for some examples.

If the Blue Hills is a big part of your life, please become a Blue Hills Champion by signing up to give monthly.

What is your favorite thing to do in the Blue Hills?

It depends who is with us. My daughter is five and she likes Houghton’s Pond, the trails and the playground. And she just took her first two (downhill) skiing lessons here this winter. My infant son likes the swings. My husband and I like trail running. We run all year round, even in the snow. I enjoy running in battened down snow. 

Why do you support the Friends of the Blue Hills as a Champion (monthly donor)?

I support the organizations that mean something to me. I’ve usually answered calls for end-of-year donations, but now monthly support is more of a priority. Even if we are not as active in the Friends’ programs, I can support them financially. That will make it a better place for everyone.

How did you first hear of the Blue Hills?

We had looked at maps and noticed this big green patch. We were renting in Milton then and we loved being so close to open space.

Do you remember your first visit to the Blue Hills?

We moved here in 2016 from the (San Francisco) Bay area. It was in the fall and the day was misty. We scrambled up to the top of Great Blue Hill on one of the steepest routes. We even took our little dog with us. The dog also loves the Blue Hills and is very athletic too.  

When you think of the Blue Hills, what memory stands out?

Our first year here there was a lot of snow. We didn’t have snow shoes then but we still did trail runs around Houghton’s Pond and the Red Dot Trail. It was such a nice vision, so different with all the snow covering the rocks. 

Would you talk about the activities you’ve been involved with in the Blue Hills? 

We are here at least half the weekends during the year and more when it’s warmer. I’m here with the kids during the week.  I’ve also done mountain biking here – even when it was 22 degrees out. We also have road bikes and I enjoy the peace and quiet just riding. In fact, when I finish a work project, I like to celebrate with a bike ride here. 

If the Blue Hills were not protected and preserved, how might your life be different? 

There would be a lot less getting into the woods. We’d be doing a lot more driving to find a place and dealing with a lot more asphalt and concrete instead of breathing the air.  

What would you tell someone visiting the Blue Hills for the first time?

It depends on what they are into. Stop at Houghton’s Pond, the beach. Go to the Trailside Museum and the playground. Hike on the flat trails first. The Red Dot is one of my favorites.