Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pittsburgh Legs: StepTrek 2011 - Gold Route

Halfway through StepTrek 2011 I knew I was going to have to split the event into two separate posts. The combination of several factors (a beautiful fall day, a neighborhood I'd never been to before, and the little Pittsburgh surprises that kept popping up) led to this becoming a series of posts. So, if you weren't around last week, make sure to check out the first post about StepTrek with pictures and stories from the Black Route. Today, we finish up with the second half of my adventure: the Gold Route.

The first thing I passed on the Gold Route was the field for the South Side Sabers. As I walked by, little kids were dressed in Steelers-esque jerseys tossing footballs back and forth. It was beyond adorable. Their signage was awesome.

From football to faith, the Gold Route next took me to St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, a beautiful church sitting on the edge of the slopes with a great view of downtown. On the side of the monastery was this beautiful and bright mosaic.

Graves in the monastery cemetery, on a slope like everything else in the neighborhood.

View of downtown from the monastery parking lot.

One of the monks was passing out water in a StepTrek tent and as I passed by he said hello. I said hello back and remarked that it was a beautiful day. He smiled and said to me, "Another day in paradise." I walked away smiling and thinking, "This is paradise."

St. Paul of the Cross Monastery as seen from the bottom of the hill.

The Gold Route brought me to several pedestrian bridges over the train tracks that run through the South Side. While crossing the first of these bridges, a train was barreling down the tracks under me.

At the end of another of the bridges I found this graffiti/street art. The South Side Slopes appeared to be a little lacking in the graffiti/street art department, which could be a consequence of location. It seemed to be the antithesis of a neighborhood like Polish Hill where you can't walk two feet without seeing something non-commissioned added to the landscape. But this find was charming enough to make up for the lack of it on both routes.

And, to balance out the sweet with something sinister, directly across from the thoughtful poem was this "Meanie Babies" sticker, which shows a lion eating his own leg. Of course it does.

In total, I walked close to 2,500 steps as part of the Trek. Stairs have never been my favorite form of exercise, but I am a thousand percent glad I took part in StepTrek 2011. It was a great way to see some new sights and get a feel for a Pittsburgh neighborhood that's new to me. I found my dream house. I saw the city from a new vantage point. And I did some intense work on my Pittsburgh legs, which were beyond sore in the days that followed. Well worth it, because (to me and my monk friend at least) every day in Pittsburgh is another day in paradise.

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