In my earlier blog post “The Dead-Ends of Mary” , I chronicled a run which took me on the Eastern curve of Josephine Street in the Southside Slopes and culminated in me running down 18th Street past Mission Street. So, for a few months, I’ve been thinking about returning to that area and just running the length of Mission Street. Mis-Steps recently wrote about her visit to nearby stairs on Stella Street, so I feel almost like I had been there.
Of course, an idea has to lay fallow then slowly germinate before blooming into reality. On this morning, the germination was still slow to come. I parked in the Southside’s Giant Eagle lot and wandered around new developments in Southside Flats before charging up 18th Street to find the end of Mission Street. It starts at an odd intersection and immediately becomes a steel-grate bridge crossing a deep ravine. Crossing that bridge, I was lured off to a no name side-street leading to the Bandi Schaum Community Garden. While the no-name street didn’t officially continue, there was a dirt-road which accessed Greely Street. Greely Street tries its best to make it up the hill, but the hill is REALLY steep and that little street doesn’t have much energy, so it just stops about 3/4 the way up. I ran up the dead-end and then sailed down the street, about 50 feet UNDER Mission Street. Crap!
Now I had to find my way back. It wasn’t hard – just took the left on Josephine Street, took another left into 21st Street, ending in a park-like green way. I found myself under Mission Street, again. Luckily there is a cool set of stairs which climb right up the belly of the arch and pop out where I had started, on Mission and 18th Street. Once again I traversed the steel-grate bridge and, this time, wasn’t lured by those damn no-name streets.
Mission Street is crowded with typical Southside Slope houses. Narrow, two and three story houses with a basement or two (whatever it takes to get to the ground). Mission narrows as it ascends one last hill then peters out in front of a well kept, yellowish brick house. I was hoping that there would be a trail or pathway leading to the other side of Mission, but, alas, there was not. So, I had to backtrack a little and wander a little, trying to get down to Arlington Avenue or Josephine Street. I had not mapped out the particulars of this end of Mission Street, and almost thought I wasn’t going to complete it. Luckily, still in an exploring mood going down Josephine, I took a random left. That left went uphill (of course), and I found myself back near where I had just been. Sure enough, I stumbled across Mission again! Looking across the street, there was no indication that this part had anything to do with the other part. In retrospect, I see that Monongahela Park, a small wooded park with a ball field, is the only thing keep both ends of Mission apart.