Let It Be, Brookline

https://www.strava.com/activities/3442124900
RATS #00237 – Brookline

PLAN “BROOKLINE EVENING B”

  • Insure I was covered by the local artillery
  • Circumnavigate S Scroll Way via Starkamp and Glenarm
  • At 18:23 storm the Repeal Way barricade
  • Perform reconnaissance and establish elevation gradients
  • Avoid vicious dogs and those aggressive small humans on bikes

That was the plan, as texted to me in a secure message by the Mothership. I had no choice but to execute the plan. I parked my vehicle, disguised as a dusty Honda and made it to the first checkpoint: A triangular park containing a “Canon de 155 C Modele 1917 Schneider”. I verified the serial number.

Brookline’s 155mm Schneider Howitzer in their Memorial Park

Now covered by the local artillery, I trotted over to Starkamp Street and around Eathan Avenue and Glenarm Avenue. I was a bit early for stair storming, so I took a couple of pics while I waited. At 18:23 on the dot, I raced up the Repeal Way Steps. Squirrels scurried and sparrows screeched as sparks flew from my heels.

Heart pounding, but no enemy in sight, I was free to scout the area. Clearly the local population was devious; giving steep, hilly, cobblestone streets, monikers such as “Flatbush”.

Flatbush – anything but flat

Continuing my scouting and keeping an eye out for those ferocious canines, I came on a street so steep, so rugged, I nearly lost it. Drawing upon my extensive training, I pushed up the hill, perspiration and expletives exploding from me at every step. Running out of breath, I finally shouted “Holy Mary, Mother of God!!” and looked up. There she was.

….Let it be, let it be…

I swore I heard a Beetle’s song in the background. Humbled and blessed, I relaxed and took in the area. Wide streets and alleys rumbled across the green lawns and flowing gardens. Steps took me though meadows of freshly cut grass. Free lending libraries opened my mind.

I reported to the Mothership that there were no enemies here, only playful pooches and energetic families. With that, I rambled some more, eventually getting back to that dusty Honda.

19:15 Signing Off

Twilight in Troy Hill

https://www.strava.com/activities/3157829193
RATS #00195 – Troy Hill

For this run, I met with Steel City folks at the start, but decided to run in Troy Hill instead of following the officially christened route. Turns out, that was a wise decision. At any rate, it was good to mingle with Steel City runners afterwards in the cozy confines of Penn Brewery.

As with any run which starts down low and goes high, stairs are involved. I started out trying to find the steps up to Troy Hill, passing an old guy who just seemed to be a shadow of his old self, before turning up the 177 steps to Province Street.

Once my heart rate settled down a bit, I was able to enjoy the sunset as it painted the city of Pittsburgh across the Allegheny. The area is marked by narrow streets, surprisingly flat. Just stay off the edges, where steep streets and steps plunge off the Troy Hill plateau to either Route 28 or Spring Garden Avenue.

In the past, I had traversed Troy Hill on steps tours with @mis.steps, exploring the many stairways in this area. There are at least eleven sets of them trickling down the hillsides. Tonight, though, I generally kept to the narrow streets, passing landmarks, such as this old building in the sky’s last glow.

As I pushed further into Troy Hill, away from Vinial Street, I found the houses increase in size and yards become larger. It was still a maze, with many dead-ends and many opportunities to take fall into Spring Garden. Eventually, I went down Wicklines Street to Spring Garden Avenue, briefly running up Lager Street with the idea of taking the stairs there. However, they looked spooky, so decided to continue on the flats back to Penn Brewery.

Harpster Street Stairs

As Steel City runners returned, they were all abuzz and chattering about blocked off roads, a policeman getting shot and a continued search for the gunman. It turns out, that indeed happened. Their route was now a police investigation zone. It is frightening to just come across that; sad that the policeman was injured and the shooter, himself, was shot and died.

PBR Scavenger Hunt

The pictures above are courtesy of Amy Scharpf, the team’s official selfie-taker.

Teams, random locations, whatever route you choose, two hours to do it. This sounded fun! Then I had a look at the list of locations! Ninety spots where you needed to take a selfie with your team, capturing the location behind you. Some were general such as the “Fort Pitt Bridge”, some were very specific such as the “Singing Pigs in Wholey’s. This was Pro-Bike and Run’s Annual Scavenger Hunt Run. My team included friends I often run with on Wednesday nights, six of us. Collecting six people for a picture is not easy. “Where’s Kristen?” was the common call, as the first snapshot often missed her.

Denise had scouted out the Northside targets, so we started there. Probably the most interesting were the City of Asylum houses. City of Asylum is unique organization devoted to helping ‘endangered’ authors live and write. These writers usually face repression in their home countries but are energetic and expressive. The houses they’ve decorated with writings are unique. Cathy knows Chinese and was able to read some of the characters on the Poem House. No-one knew Burmese, but it is a beautiful flowing script.

We eventually made it to around forty locations, covering over seven miles. One of my favorite was the Singing Pigs photo. Wholey’s is hectic on a Saturday morning and the store manager didn’t appreciate groups of sweaty runners dashing in and out.

As the clock ticked down, the heat and the distance started getting to us. The selfies became more hurried. Nonetheless, we made it back in time and basked in the cool air of Nova Place as we uploaded our photos and rethought our route; making plans to be way more efficient next year!

Route we took trying to catch as many locations as possible in scavenger hunt.
PBR Scavenger Hunt: Run All The Streets 00077