Unique Streets: 5
Miles Walked: 5.81
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day): Washington Boulevard, Negley Run Boulevard, Centre Avenue, Penn Avenue, Sheridan Square, N. Sheridan Avenue, Saint Marie Street, Collins Street, Meadow Street, Heberton Street, Jackson Street, Farm House Road, Farmhouse Drive, Connecting Road, Lake Drive.
I have been trying to catch up with blog posts (working on May posts right now) but this one has to be shared on the day it happened. Here’s why…
ALERT: There is a large black bear in the Highland Park neighborhood. The bear is calm (currently resting under a tree), but it is a wild animal and is unpredictable. Avoid the area if you are not here. If you live in Highland Park, get indoors. pic.twitter.com/bZK8VeD1Px— Pgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) June 16, 2020
It’s not everyday you find yourself in the vicinity of a real life yogi bear. I started my walk on Cat Tail Trail on the edge of Highland Park that runs along Washington Boulevard.
This area may be familiar to you because it is home to a large circular bike track. Also on that side of the road are the Pittsburgh Police Zone 5 and the Pittsburgh Police and Fire Training Academy. The latter uses fake walls, scarecrow effigies, and a tall cement building to practice putting out fires.
I walked on the non-existent sidewalk and almost got sideswiped by bicyclists a few times on the trail and then Negley Run Boulevard. I had to be about my wits today in more ways than one. On my way up I took note of a strange contraption on one of the light poles. It looked like some sort of camera and I imagine that maybe it was there to sense if the roadway had too much water on it. If so, it would be automatically closed. Or maybe it was for something else. If you know, drop a comment!
I kept going up Negley until I found myself in East Liberty, a recent site of Black Lives Matter protests. I would see many signs of their presence.
After my trek up the hill, I stopped in BrewDog for an East Coast Crush NEIPA and some loaded Nacho Fries.
I paused to read this homemade sign:
I had dessert at this Mulberry tree on Sheridan Avenue (or is it N. Sheridan Avenue? 🧐)
and admired this raised garden bed.
Soon, I found myself back in Highland Park and none-the-wiser that a bear was trolling yards very near to me.
I wonder if he checked the contents of this LFL like I did. Perhaps he found a copy of the Girl who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King and got some pointers.
Trees on Jackson Street formed a sort of vernal tunnel. Maybe he felt right at home here.
The yarn pom poms on the small trees swayed in the breeze like buckeyes.
Soon I noticed a street sign with no street.
A blue-shoed man with a can of spray paint was walking by me after coating a water access cover and I mentioned how strange it was. He nonchalantly said “It’s a paper street.”
Soon, I found myself near the old Negley-Mellon Farmhouse on the corner of Farm House Drive and Heberton. Little did I know that as I snapped the following picture, a bear was across the street.
Was he looking for the zoo?
Maybe he wanted to take a dip in Carnegie Lake. I never knew this oasis was here until today. It was stocked with fish that swam under mallards, lily pads, and at least one turtle.
After my trip around the lake, I headed further down Lake Drive. My plan was to take a trail through the woods down to my car. Sounds good, right? As I was walking by the dog park, a woman asked me if I’d heard about the bear.
“Yeah, there’s a black bear roaming the streets of Highland Park right now. “
“Oh great, I’m about to go into the woods!”
Trigger frantic Googling.
Ok, so Black Bears are not the kind of bear you want to play dead with. Basically, be loud and don’t run away. I hoped that googling it meant that I wouldn’t actually need that information.
I walked through the woods, wary of every sound and tall sprout of Japanese Knotweed where a large bear could hide waiting for innocent hikers to walk by. He would swipe at my achilles as I walked by like my unhinged cat, Madeleine, used to do to me when I was a girl. Oh, nice Cairn!
That was a leaf. Now I’m choking on my water. I hope a hiker does’t come by and think I have Coronavirus.
An older man with an offleash dog walks closer. He’s decked out in head to toe blue and gold Pitt gear. He carries a seemingly empty Natty Light can.
“Don’t mind him. He’s friendly but he’s also the boss. He’s the trail boss. Have a good day”
A chipmunk, just as scared as I am, runs across the path in front of me. Maybe he saw the bear and is running away from it.
Multiple friends tag me in the news story about the bear. For definitely not the first time I wonder if this is real life.
Now that it’s grown to mythical proportions in my mind, I wonder if the Highland Park Black Bear knocked this tree over during his blood-red rampage through this tony neighborhood.
I’m within sight of my car and I warn a woman and dog about the bear. She decides to get back in her car. The dog is pretty mad at me.
Start the car and this is playing. Not funny universe,