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!

Park often?

RATS #00266

This was a loosely planned run in Homewood on a Sunday morning which took me from the flats near the East Busway to the towering hills above Frankstown Avenue. Along the way, saw lots of cats, some turkeys, some cats chasing turkeys and lot of greenery. There were steps and urban decay balanced by murals and a few cute houses.

I crossed the East Busway on the North Lang Pedestrian Bridge and started east. This area is very tight with tiny alleys between small streets. There are newer houses, older homes, a few nice places and many decrepit ones. It is the height of summer and weeds are taking over any undisturbed lot. Mulberry trees were so low along one alley, I had to duck to run under them.

Toward the end of Tioga Street, the narrow street was lined with large trucks. On one side, a large dump truck had driven onto a soft meadow months ago. On the other, big rigs were parked all over. I got as close as ever to a shiny Mack cab, while a “Fast-Unlock” dump truck body sheltered Long Haul Kitty. His orange coat looked sleek and a water dish had been even left out.

Now heading north to my real target, I climbed streets splaying out like fingers up the hills above Frankstown Avenue. At the split of Mohler Street and Willing Street a small set of steps lead you up Mohler (yes, they are documented in Bob Regan’s book, all six of them.) Willing was a long, desolate street with mattresses and garbage near a condemned house. That white house looked like it was falling off the hillside. Passing that, and coming closer to a better maintained house, I spied a turkey and three grey chicks clucking across the street. As I approached the adult turkey rushed back across the street and chicks disappeared into the undergrowth.

I wound my way down one finger, and then up the next, Wheeler Street. Pittsburgh has a penchant for alliteratively naming neighboring streets. At the corner of Wheeler and Mohler, I saw another flock of wild turkeys. Here, though, a wily, skinny, white and orange cat was creeping up on them, eye’s as big as saucers. I ruined his cover, and the turkeys went gobbling off into the woods. I’m thinking I did the kitty a favor, as those turkeys would have beaten him up.

Wheeler took me up to an impressive set of stairs at the end of Ferndale. They have several twists and turns, but were too overgrown to completely traverse. On Willing Street, I did not notice their upper landing.

Ferndale Steps – Left is the bottom, middle is looking up them and the left picture are the steps disappearing into the woods.

Running out of Pittsburgh for a moment into Penn Hills, I came to my senses and went up Ferndale. Whew! That is certainly a steep street, making it into the “Filthy Five”. Ferndale intersects Lawndale Street at the top. On the left, Lawndale is partially blocked by Jersey barriers, but I trekked down it a bit anyway. However, once I saw an RV down the dead-end road, I figured I had gone far enough and turned around. That’s probably in Penn Hills anyway.

Lawnsdale careens straight down the hill. As it reaches Perchment Street, it spills down to Frankstown Road as a set of steps.

Back to the flatlands, I made my way back to my car. As I skittered down Durango Way, a colorful wall peeked through a slightly open steel door. I peeked in and was rewarded with a garden of murals.

I finished with six and a half miles – slightly more than a 10k. Most of the run covered new streets and I got to see turkeys and murals along the route. The steps were interesting, too. Nice run!