Splashing in Spring Garden

RATS #00442 – Spring Garden and Troy Hill

Spring Garden seems to summon the rain. For this run, RATS #00442, I was prepared. I brought a zip-lock bag for my phone just in case, but for a few minutes thought I wouldn’t need it.

I parked on Herr’s Island under the 31st Street Bridge and romped past the tennis courts to the northern end. I could see far-away thunderstorms, but here there were only a few drops. The Rialto Street steps were under construction, so I had to go the long way along the “trail” next to Route 28 and ascend Troy Hill Road. On this roundabout way to Rialto Street I ran by E&C Beer Distributor with its grinning horse. I wonder, did he get a glug-glug of apple cider? Rialto continues off its famous slope into the heart of Troy Hill, where I ran past this house built around 1880.

Mt. Troy Road and Luty Avenue have broad views of Pittsburgh. I believe that’s Lower Lawrenceville and Polish Hill getting rained on. Luty Avenue ended unceremoniously in a weird little hut structure.

Now, a more rational person (probably not a runner) might have thought, “Wow, look at those storms. I should go inside, because it will probably rain here soon.”

My inner dialog was more like “Look at all that rain WAY OVER THERE. It’s probably not going to rain on ME. Besides…how wet could I get?” ( I said these same words earlier this summer and apparently didn’t learn how much clouds hate that.) Coming off of Mt. Troy Road, I sped down Wicklines Street, using the momentum to carry me across Spring Garden Avenue onto High Street. And that’s where it began. A burst of thunder, kids and parents scrambling to get out of the rain, and me, happily running along Spring Garden Avenue.

The rain was pretty heavy, but seemed to taper off as I approached the safe haven of Family Dollar. Since the rain was stopping, I went ahead and slogged up the very steep Mauch Street. It climbs about 100′ in well under one tenth of a mile and Strava shows it with a 43.7% grade! Hmm, that seems dubious.

Nonetheless, I proceeded onto another section of Mt. Troy Road where a curve dips into Pittsburgh briefly. The rain intensified. I thought there might be a place to duck in for a moment. But no, lightning bolts and bursts of thunder surrounded me and there was no place to hide. I sloshed to Fornof Lane and back to Mauch. Finally the rain tapered off. I had planned to go further north along Spring Garden Avenue, but cut things short, heading back down instead. The back-yard ducks seemed pretty happy, though.

As I neared Threadbare Cider, my sense of adventure returned and I explored Tell Street. In days of yore, cats ruled this street. Nearby, someone had even constructed a home for wayward cats; patriotically painted with stars and stripes. I didn’t see the cat house nor the cats this time. A house at the bottom of Tell Street was being renovated, but the houses higher on the hill are digressing, with broken windows and climbing vines.

There’s a gentle set of steps from Tell to Voskamp above. Vines arch between fences, making a tunnel of lovely green. There’s a shy old yellow house on Voskamp Street, keeping back from the street.

I returned to Herr’s Island along the pedestrian trail waterway adjacent to Route 28. Just a pitter-patter of rain now, but the hills were still streaming with water.

Flooded Pedestrian Trail Along Route 28

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