D9: Luck of the Walk
I love to walk. If I had my way, and jet-propelled legs, I would walk everywhere. There is no better way to see whatever city you’re in, to interact with other humans and to not pay $4.89/gallon per mile than to put one foot in front of the other and hoof it.
My mom and I are staying on the south side of Pittsburgh. It took about 10 minutes to realize I love this area and I wanted to explore. So this morning, instead of going for a run by myself, I convinced my mom that we needed to take a long walk. Explore. See some of old Pittsburgh and grab a beer and watch the Gators play at a bar in Station Square, a new/old part of town.
So that’s what we did. We decided to walk from our hotel at the Hot Metal Bridge to The Point, the area where the three rivers merge, to get a glimpse of the Pittsburgh Duck. (On a side note; I love the bridge names in Pittsburgh. And I wonder if kids in school are forced to learn all 400+ of them.)
What is The Pittsburgh Duck, you ask? The Duck is a giant inflatable rubber ducky with his own Twitter account that is parked, floating, in the river across from the stadiums. According to a tour guide I asked today, it’s part of an art project that originated in China, is traveling around the world and leaves here Sunday night. That last fact seems to have polarized the people of Pittsburgh like nothing in recent memory. On the news tonight, the duck’s departure PRECEDED the start time of the Steelers-Ravens game tomorrow.
“The artist has this belief that the world is one big bathtub and we’re all just bathing in it,” the tour guide told me. “The duck represents that.” What?! Gross. But of course, we were willing to walk 3.1 miles to see it.
On the way, we stopped at a coffee shop and a cute boutique called Jupe, and then we walked till we ran out of Carson Street. When we got to the really industrial area, we headed toward the water and the old railroad tracks, but lost a clear walking pathway. My mom started to get a bit sketched, but Google assured us we were on the right path. No need to turn around. Thank goodness. The next half mile were our favorite.
We stumbled upon old locomotives, a section of the original railroad track and the McClintock Well, the world’s oldest operating oil well. Eventually, we also found a new, paved pathway along the water. It was such a cool walk, looking down onto the river, across at the skyline and up onto Mount Washington. It was a great 3.1 miles.
And yes, we saw the duck. We watched the Gators. We ran into Steelers historian Jim O’Brien and center Maurkice Pouncey signing autographs at Hometown Sports and asked them about the women of Pittsburgh. We met up with my cousin Donny and ate a Primanti Brothers sandwich on Carson Street. We couldn’t have had that day in a cab. Or a car.
Oh, and during that sketchy half-mile trek, my mom got a little dirty and dug up a souvenir to take home. Someone watches too much American Pickers.
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