I had heard through the grapevine populated with cats that certain steps in this area had been redone and I was encouraged to go out and be the first one to run on them.
That, my friends, is the genesis of this run. It didn’t hurt that I had a couple of lingering streets to cover here (looking at YOU, Crooked Way). So, as October 1st was coming to a close, I found myself parking along Shaler Street in the early evening.
After checking I had my Garmin, the phone, a flashlight and two alternate sources of light I emerged from my auto-cocoon and pressed the button to initiate satellite linking. While waiting there, cooling my heels, I noticed an urban deer emerge across the grassy lot on the hill above. Now, being an urban deer, it knew to cautiously wait at the stop sign for a chance to cross.
Then, all of a sudden several things happened at once. A woman driving up Shaler slowed and stopped; asking me if I thought she would hit the deer by continuing. Glancing at the deer and the other traffic, I figured she could proceed slowly. About the same time, a couple in their mid-20’s approached the intersection from the other direction. They were walking a white, terrier-like dog on a long leash.
All of this time, the deer stood waiting for everyone to clear out.
Then, Mr. Scotty, the dog in his red plaid sweater, spied the deer.
“Yip, yip, yap!” he pulled the leash taunt.
At that, the young man, six feet tall with a long stride, started racing the dog towards Mr. Urbane Deer, now sipping some chai and nibbling grass. Startled that such small slow animals would be chasing him, Mr. Urbane spilled his tea and galloped across the field. Flash Gordan and Mr. Scotty actually started to gain on him, blurring in the twilight. But as the field narrowed toward two houses, Urbane elegantly leaped over a tall fence and disappeared.
Agog at this display of speed and agility, I turned back to the woman and suggested that it was clear to go now. Shocked as I had been, she just nodded.
In the interim, I had finally acquired satellite and proceeded up Rutledge.
Unfortunately, the steps weren’t complete. However, they look like they’re doing a thorough job, so these should be here another hundred years.
Crooked Way wasn’t the only street here I needed, but several, like Wyola, led into Emerald View Park trails in the dusky light.
From here, I bounced over to Woodruff Street as it fell towards Saw Mill Run Boulevard. It only had sidewalks about a quarter way and from there it was gutter running. At the end, though, the Wabash Tunnel emerged from underground like a fiery oven. Shortly after, Saw Mill Run goes under an overpass. It probably wasn’t meant for pedestrians, but there I was. A bit on the spooky side, I must say.
With this, I made my way up Wabash and back to Shaler Street. All the excitement was gone, no deer, no dogs, just a couple of other runners in the cool night.