Borderlands

https://www.strava.com/activities/3758591851
RATS #00267 – Brookline

Continuing on the edges of Pittsburgh, I traveled from the heart of Brookline to Baldwin Township, on its southern border. It was a rather nice evening, sunny and mild. I’ve chatted about Brookline several times in this blog. Just to recap, Brookline is a sprawling residential neighborhood in southern Pittsburgh. The houses vary slightly from the smaller ones packed together off of Brookline Boulevard to the larger, but not palatial, ones on quiet streets. I took Creedmore Avenue from Brookline Boulevard to its end at McNeily Road.

Creedmore as it slips toward McNeily Road

I ran along McNeily for a bit, just to Chelton Avenue, which is actually a driveway for the one house there. Retracing my steps, I plowed up the brick part of Creedmore to Creedmore Place. I like that name, Creedmore. I can hear an evangelist now:

“Do you have faith? Do you know how to express it in a concise way?”

“Yes, yes!”

“That’s creed. Do you have MORE faith now?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“THAT’s Creedmore!”

<and the crowd goes wild…> or <starts throwing tomatoes>

hallucinations on the run

To get away from that crowd I took a right onto Seaton Street. The tall green trees along here are all ginko and must be beautiful in the Fall. I knew Seaton would take me out of Pittsburgh, but I wasn’t sure how far. Fortunately, Baldwin and Pittsburgh are VERY clear about which portion of the street is theirs.

From here, there wasn’t too much to see, just a flamboyance of flamingos at an intersection. Its good to see there are young flamingos there, too. It speaks well of the future of that flamboyance.

Flamboyance of Flamingos

And, finally, there were some steps. These went from Breining to Hobson. Interestingly enough, while there’s another set of steps from Breining to Hobson, which takes a more gradual way down. (See “Thursday Brookline Miles”), they’re only listed once in Regan’s “Pittsburgh Steps” book.

Breining to Hobson, the short steps

That was about it, a bit over four miles. More importantly, two consecutive days of running more than four miles without knee pain. Yippee!

Little Library and Big Steps in Hazelwood

RATS #00239 – Hazelwood and Glenwood

So, I’ll have to share a secret…. sometimes, just every once in a while, planning a run is a pain in the butt. I inevitably go down the “Oh, I can do THAT” mode of thought. Ten miles and a hundred turns in, the route looks awesome on my 32″ monitor. However, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

  • The first is that OpenStreetMap is not always 100% accurate in the fine details, small things like, “Do these streets intersect?
  • The second is that a logical rectangular grid in Pittsburgh means incredibly steep streets.
  • The third is that temporary obstacles, such as loose dogs, tree-trimming closures or police scenes, upset carefully laid plans.

Lastly, the longer I’m out there running, the less likely I am to remember where I need to turn, which is a direct consequence of the first and third things I’ve learned. Just use a route-funder, you say. Well, I have used the RunGo app several times. Once it is off course, you either have to turn it off or accept hearing “You are off-course” in a disapproving voice for the rest of the run.

Today’s run was meticulously laid out to cover a few small streets off of Tesla Street and the grid of streets east of Glenwood Avenue. In spite of its electrical name, Tesla Street looks rural. It is one of the steepest streets in Pittsburgh. Luckily, I was going down it this time.

There are a few small streets off of Tesla, which look like they were the beginnings of housing subdivisions that never quite took off. Nonetheless, they are lined with neat brick houses carefully maintained. Crossing Clarion Street, the last of those small streets, I descended Dido Way, a stairway, to Flowers. Once on Kilbourne, I spied the bottom section of the Eddington Street Steps. I know, from a previous jaunt, they are closed on top. They’re closed at the bottom, too, but I went up them a bit anyway. For awhile, the steps are decent, but then the jungle closes in and there’s no way to continue.

I did feel a little guilty clambering over the “Steps Closed” sign, while across the street small children chattered and played. I hoped they didn’t get any ideas from me.

At any rate, my plan was to go down Kilbourne and Odin then take an extensive flight of steps from Nordica Street to Steele Court. Alas, these steps are either very well hidden or gone. Checking Google Street view, they haven’t been visible for a number of years either. Perhaps on a cold winter’s day, when the foliage has died away, they would be visible. I must say that Odin has lost some of his thunder to only have such a small street named after him.

That left me on another powerful street, Ampere Street. Ampere Street abuts the Hazelwood Greenway. This large undeveloped tract is generally overgrown, but is home to several radio towers. The effect is that people have large yards which back into the woods. In spite of this, during this early evening run, there were more people out than I expected.

I wound my way to Steele Court. This would be the bottom of the expected steps. I did see several flights, but not the ones I was looking for. An aggressive dog barking between the porch railings on Steele Court didn’t encourage me to explore too closely.

This type of neighborhood specializes in micro-decoration. No HOA here, with rules about paint color and height of grass. Here, there are vistas of lawn ornaments, Steeler flags, and other personalizations. High on Glenwood Avenue, a blocky school building sports an avant garde sparrow clutching an iron gear. Perhaps it is a jayhawk, but it looks like a sparrow to me.

Finishing the whole of Glenwood Avenue, I noted a few stairs rising off of it, but figured I would save them for a later run. There’s no easy way back, so I picked my way to closed Nansen Street in Owl Hollow. Nonetheless, they have a nice little library at the bottom, emblazoned with their owl emblem.

Nansen Street is slipping off the hill, sidewalk steps first. Below are pics of the bottom, middle and top sections of those sidewalk steps.

Nansen Street Steps – bottom, middle and top, left to right

Nansen Street is so steep that I was happy to get to the more gradual Hazelwood Avenue and jog back to my car.

Meandering Thru Homewood and Point Breeze

https://www.strava.com/activities/3373044259
RATS #00227

Sometimes I’m full of vim and vigor and have a great experience with amazing views. Then there was last night. As the sunny day descended into a cloudy evening, I was only nudged out by the goal of hitting my Strava April Running Distance Challenge.

My first happy surprise was coming upon a Burgh Bees Community Apiary. One of my friends raises bees and it is something I would (eventually) like to do. But for now, I’ll just buzz by.

I made it to the end of North Murtland Avenue, which was my one and only streets goal. But then figured I would do a few more streets. Of course, one can’t go far in Pittsburgh without hitting steps, and I came to these at the end of Sterret Street under the threatening sky.

On Apple Street, I passed this formerly grand building.

National Negro Opera Company

I always get a bit confused where Apple Street intersects Lincoln Avenue and ended up going down Lincoln for a little. On my return to Point Breeze, I caught this mural above a yard of junky cars. Again, the my long arms allowed an “over the fence” pic. Do you notice the boats? Just supports my theory.

Now inspired with a spirit of exploration, I decided to find the elusive Edgerton Street steps. I’ve run up South Dallas hundreds of times, but never realized where they were until today. Apparently these are part of the setting for “An American Childhood” by Annie Dilliard.

Between the endorphins kicking in, the various discoveries I had made and the blooming Spring flowers, I was pretty happy by the end of this run.

Highland Park Earth Day Run

https://www.strava.com/activities/3338736564
RATS #00223

This was a little run through Highland Park on Earth Day; a perfect neighborhood for Earth Day, given the number of gardens and blooming trees I saw. It didn’t start out so nice, though. The small street behind Sacred Heart’s gym has a graffiti covered end. However, the new pedestrian walkway over the East Busway is a sleek, modern improvement. It’s also good to see that project finished.

Getting into Highland Park proper brought me back to the wide streets, huge houses and verdant area which is so appealing. It’s also rather large, compared with some neighborhoods I’ve been running in lately.

It was also cool to come across a few of these little libraries. Since this one has a charter number (5363), you can look it up at Little Free Library . It could be interesting to do a mapping of Little Libraries “wild” in Pittsburgh. I’ve definitely seen more around than I see on their website. When I’m not running, I often browse the books and take or leave one.

Find them everywhere, these little libraries

Coming back to Shadyside I came across the site of the East Liberty Farmer’s Market. Between Covid19, the season and the time of day, it was closed, but I do like their murals.

That was it. More than seven miles on a cool spring day.