A group of about 15 of us hiked through the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, MA, several weeks back. It just happened to be the day before Lilac Sunday (which is held on Mother's Day), so we lucked out by getting to see lilacs in bloom without dealing with the crowds. Most lilacs that we saw were on the first part of the hike near Bussey Hill (see photo), with lilacs seemingly everywhere along the north side of the hill.
As we hiked around, then up, Bussey Hill, we noticed many other plants and trees in full bloom in addition to all the lilacs. The colors seemed to be particularly spectacular this year. We wandered up various trails, finally reaching the top of Bussey Hill, taking in the beautiful views of the Blue Hills and the surrounding area from the partially open summit (see photo). After spending some time at the top of the hill, we wound our way down some trails, reaching the bottom of the hill near the Conifer Path. Most of the trees along the Conifer Path seemed to be healthy, though we did see a couple of larger pines that seemed to be either diseased or simply getting up there in age.
From the Conifer Path, we crossed the street to the other side of the Arnold Arboretum, gradually heading around Peters Hill before going up to the top. From the summit of Peters Hill, we could see the Boston skyline as well as much of the Arboretum in the foreground, making for an interesting scene (and a good place to stop for a bit). The north side of Peters Hill has many fruit trees, some of which were in bloom (see photo), so we took a few trails along the side of the hill before heading back to the bottom.
After reaching the bottom of Peters Hill, we took one of the main roads in the Arboretum (they are all closed to traffic, by the way), including a remarkably scenic stretch (see photo) before jumping onto a trail and heading back across the street to a trail that led up the little-known Hemlock Hill. We spent some time relaxing there, again enjoying the views of Boston in the distance. Then we headed down the hill and took a trail through an area of beech trees before taking our final trail, which led us through willow trees and maple trees. It was the end of what must have been one of the most scenic hikes I've taken in 2007. Hopefully I'll get back in the fall to see some of the foliage there.