Fawning Over Perry Hilltop

https://www.strava.com/activities/3768623876
RATS #00268 – Perry Hilltop

Planning for this run, I was a bit anxious. I had done Perrysville Avenue and Watson Avenue, on the east. I’ve also been on North Charles Street, slightly further south. I have found this area a mixed bag. I’ll come across magnificent, well-kept houses on one street and garbage-filled, falling down dumps on the next. My “target” was a few streets tucked into the bends of Riverview Park to the west of Perrysville Avenue. I wasn’t sure what I would find.

My first find, along Perrysville Avenue was this house, circa 1900, in slight need of upkeep. The large chimney peeking up behind the decorated roof crest suggested a magnificent history. I hesitated to take pictures, but then saw the deer and two fawns ambling around, so figured folks weren’t hanging out on the porch or anything.

The turn onto on Marshall Road wasn’t too inspiring, but showed promise. Just past this stark red garage, the neighborhood took a sharp upward turn.

Old Garage

From here, I was in a delightful slice of Pittsburgh with large houses perched on hilltops with unique and detailed landscaping. Looking at the map later, I realized that this section of Pittsburgh abuts against a large greenspace. Some of that is the hills of Riverview Park, while some is Highwood Cemetery. Either way, the effect is a lot of greenery and deer.

It is a bit of a curvy maze here, but I think I found gold with this cool garden, complete with bowling ball. Where else do balls go when the lanes close? Or maybe, just maybe, this is where they grow!

Wooden picket fence outlines a front yard garden with pink flowers, spent roses and lawn decorations

Eventually I was done with these alleys and streets. I crossed Marshall Avenue (not road) and embarked on the Norwood Avenue stairs. At the top, a large patch of sunflowers are almost ready to bloom. Going down to Kennedy Avenue, I saw an old friend at a corner. Elmo!

Once done with Kennedy Avenue, I headed back to my car. I even put on a small burst of speed, huffing and puffing with my mask on. Whew!

I know the pieces fit!

There’s a puzzle out there. They call it “Pittsburgh”. It is a puzzle of geography, rivers, ravines, hills, roads, and steps. It is also a puzzle of people, living side by side, mostly in harmony, but sometimes not. I’m trying to put this puzzle together. I’m assembling it run by run. Sometimes, I don’t understand. How does this work? But I do know one thing… I know the pieces fit!

Dun dun ta dun dun dun Dun dun ta dun dun dun

There’s a puzzle out there. They call it “Pittsburgh”. It is a puzzle of geography, rivers, ravines, hills, roads, and steps. It is also a puzzle of people, living side by side, mostly in harmony, but sometimes not. I’m trying to put this puzzle together. I’m assembling it run by run. Sometimes, I don’t understand. How does this work? But I do know one thing… I know the pieces fit!

I’d been puzzling over this little enclave of Pittsburgh for some time now. Just out of Riverview Park, the area between Watson Boulevard and Perrysville Avenue kept thwarting me. Every time I planned to do it, I’d invariably experience a setback; I’d forget my watch, forget my phone, have severe knee pain, get a nail in my tire or experience one of other 1,000 reasons I couldn’t fit this piece of Pittsburgh into the big picture. It was my personal Bermuda Triangle. But not today.

A sliver of light on concrete stairs with an observatory at the top of the steps
Riverview Park Entrance

I must say, the Perrysville North Bermuda Triangle did put up a good fight. I started in the 95 degree heat at Riverview Park’s entry steps. In spite of the heat, my knees weren’t warmed up yet and complained vociferously that first quarter mile.

A slight mistake on the route took me onto Watson Street. Argh, it looked like this piece would win again! Then I noticed Talco Street and it realized I needed to do that one, too. It was more like a long shaded driveway than a road. Getting back onto Watson, I spied the Sigma Street Steps. These steps aren’t on Google Maps, or OpenStreetMaps. But they are there in reality. Pounding up the stairs, I noticed one jigsaw puzzle piece, then another and then a few more. I could just envision a small boy walking up the steps, holding an opened puzzle box by his side, with pieces dripping out. I felt a bit sorry for those trying to put it together.

The stairs, Sigma Way, must have been the key to this Bermuda Triangle, the key to getting back on track. I popped up on Delaware Street, just opposite Portola Avenue. I was not waylaid on Wayland Way; in fact it was a pleasant, wide brick lined alley. Here, just a small adjustment to my planned route took me around to Chemung Street and Orleans Street as originally intended.

Orleans Street hooked around to Viola Street. So far, the run had been flat, but that was about to change. Viola swoops like a roller coaster to Milroy Street. Here, once again, I was connected to the bigger picture by views, steps and crazy curves.

Cars labored to navigate Milroy’s steep curves. The bottom of Milroy crosses I-279 on a high bridge. For pedestrians a magnificent staircase provides a shortcut. One poor house, off of the winding stairs, has been half-eaten by grasping vines.

On Viola Street, I noticed an imposing red brick building. On closer examination, it was in disrepair, with broken windows and boarded up doors. However Milroy House was built to last and hopefully will see better days.

Clambering up the shaking wooden steps to Perrysville Avenue, I ran back to my car. I even tried to put on a burst of speed and ended the day with four solid miles. Another piece of Pittsburgh experienced.