Christmas Eve, 7:23 pm, I’m doing last minute Christmas shopping. This is so late that the stores are emptying out. Decorations are already 45% off. Buzz, buzz, my phone rings.
“Hey Ed, how about a run tomorrow? 7 am? Before I have to go to my parents”
“Uh, yeah, sure”, I answer. “Can we make it 7:30? ” A brisk run to kickoff the day, before my kids come over for brunch.
So, here I am on a chilly, foggy Christmas morning, meeting Rich for a run. He had talked about running up McCardle, a favorite “hill” route which rises from the Liberty Tubes to Mount Washington. I suggested we start at Armstrong Field for ease of parking and so we could include the entirety of McCardle.
Rising from the low end of McCardle, the route took us above Cupples Field, where we could hear the bells at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church echoing through the fog. Dodging the one car coming out of the Liberty Tubes, we stormed up the McCardle escarpment. Usually, that 3/4 mile hill deserves high-fives and skyline selfies at the top. However, it was so foggy today that none of that could be seen, not even the high-fives.
We made our way to Virginia Ave, whereupon I introduced Rich to the “real” Mount Washington. Big rolling hills, stairs, more hills and alleys. There’s a variety of housing in Mount Washington, mostly in decent shape.
At the end of Virginia Ave, stairs continued down to Pyle Way and Sweetbriar Street. With temps hovering around freezing, the long wooden stairs were very slippery. Luckily, the handrails were sturdy.
As Rich commented, there’s nothing sweet about Sweetbriar St. It is a long, steep, uphill slog which takes you directly to the “Point of View” Monument. Here, Seneca leader Guyasuta and George Washington are engaged in an eternal staring contest, while the City of Pittsburgh changes below them.
From the Point of View to our cars was a fast downhill run. Rich was nice enough to bring doughnuts. Thanks Rich!