Ragged Ravine Run

“So, you want to be chased by dogs?”

RATS #00221 – In the Ravines

I planned this run thoroughly. Conveniently starting at Riverview Park, I would run around the park on the streets in the ravines. As usual, I had “runtime” surprises, including mapping inaccuracies with OpenStreetMap. If you haven’t looked carefully, you might not realize that maps from Strava and Google Maps are different. Strava uses OpenStreetMap, which relies on individuals to make corrections, whereas Google has their streets view cars and other tools. I suppose I need to contribute to OpenStreetMap myself, to make corrections.

OpenStreetsMap had an error about Doak Way. It placed it further down Dornestic than it actually is. On the other hand, I knew there was a set of steps from Dornestic to Dalton. I wasn’t sure if it this was in addition to Doak Way or not. While investigating this, a rather beefy bulldog mix decided to investigate me. He barked a little and sniffed, and was uncomfortably close to my calves. I was relieved when a man came quickly off of his porch and, in coaxing tones, said “Come on back! He doesn’t want to play with you!” Maybe if I had had a ball. Now I was a little unnerved, but no worse for wear, so I waved off the dog and went down the steps.

I uncovered a tiny blue church with mossy steps. Following Glenside Street as it becomes Oakdale Street, I was once again struck by the rural character of this nook of Pittsburgh. Oakdale Street eventually becomes dotted with houses, still very rural in feeling. Festoria Street is a dead-end dog-leg off of Oakdale. As I was about to make the turn to the dead-end, a woman came out of a house and asked me what I was doing. She was less than enthusiastic about me running up to the dead-end, so I turned around and went out on Oakdale. She was friendly enough, I suppose, but the first person to challenge me running on a public street, dead-end or not. When I checked later, Google Streetview had not gotten further, so they must have gotten the same message.

After that, the houses went downhill. I did come across the a house which looked like it dropped out of tornado in Oz. What is this anyway? A deluxe outhouse? Further on Oakdale, there are hulks of old cars and industrial debris just off the road.

Continuing on Woods Run I explored the small streets above Woods Run near Central Avenue. Here there were more OpenStreetsMap snafus and another loose dog nipping at my heels. This time, I only heard bottles clinking; no one called the dog back. At this point, I decided to cut short the run. That area, near Sorento and Smithton, quickly becomes very inner city, with houses tightly packed on each other. Honestly, while some houses are a mess, many are fine. There’s at least a half-dozen sets of stairs.

Smithton, Rothpletz and Grand Avenue all converge into Kilbuck Road at the bottom of Riverview Park. I came across the stables for the Pittsburgh Police and eventually ran into Riverview Park while getting a close-up view of a salt-dome.

So, I was a bit disappointed with this run. While there were some nice areas, the threat of loose dogs, auto wreckage and a greying sky dimmed the early promise. Nonetheless, got a good five miles in.

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