30 Before 30– Sahside Step Trek #steptrek

6 Oct

It’s been radio silence on the 30 before 30 front for a while. I’ve been making my way steadily through the AFI Top 100, and I have a few things coming down the line. Some things I know I’m not gonna get done (not going to do a hot air balloon ride before Nov 18, because I don’t want to blow $500 on a novelty right now, and vacation happened so that whole pay-off-the-credit-card thing did not), but I’m not stressing myself over this. My purpose for the list is to have FUN, and to finally get around to doing things I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t made time for. Some of the things I’ve gone above and beyond with– for example, I’ve had several legal articles published, and Baby Beez is a total pro at please/thank you (sometimes a reminder is needed). As my 30 before 30 draws to a close, I’m working on thinking up a BIGGER and BADDER 40 before 40. It will mostly be travel focused, and be on a larger scale, since I’ll have ten whole years to get through it. Now, on to the day’s adventures!

We made the Southside Step Trek a family outing. Mr. Beez enjoys hiking, and he totally spoils me, so he agreed to do the trek and he carried Baby Beez in the beco carrier. Climbing the steps of the Sahside is way easier when you do NOT have a 25 lb toddler strapped to your back. Last year the Step Trek was on Yom Kippur, so that was a no go. I almost bailed on the outing today because the sky was drizzly, but it cleared up beautifully.


Grouchy face


The Southside slopes combine history, charm, and industrial grit. The views from the hills are breathtakingly picturesque. The streets are small, winding and inconsistent. If it weren’t for the Step Trek, I probably would have never explored the slopes. It’s almost entirely residential, and I wouldn’t have seen much reason to go wander around a neighborhood where, on my own, I would get terribly lost. The Step Trek is an awesome event to get a glimpse of a part of the city you might otherwise not see, to support a helpful neighborhood group. and to have fun with friends or family while having some exercise. The stairways are separated by fairly long flat paths, so you don’t have to be in the best of shape to be able to complete the trek.


Thanks to Pittsburgh’s working class mill town history, the city is covered in city stairways that millworkers used to use to go to and from work.  The stairways are frequently designated as streets, so if you every try to get around using a GPS you may get the unique treat of being instructed to make a turn onto what you discover is not a street at all! Instead, it’s just a stairway that is identified as a street on maps….. Recalculating! Recalculating!





The Step Trek is phenomenally well executed. The trek is self paced, and at check-in, you get a booklet with a map and written directions, complete with interesting historical facts. There are two routes, Black (3.1 miles) and Gold (2.6 miles). With the little one in tow, we opted for the shorter one. Had we not been hauling her around, it would have been fun to do them both. Each of the routes takes 60-90 minutes, so completing them both would be a long endeavor, but doable. The routes are very well marked with signage, which is so amazingly helpful.


Mr. Beez designated me as “navigator,” but I’d be better known as “lostmaker.” Thanks to the excellent signage, we managed to stay on path. Kudos to the Step Trek for an event well planned!





The Virgin Mary and a fallout shelter…if praying can’t help you, come hang out in our bunker…




Trekking is hard work!




8 Responses to “30 Before 30– Sahside Step Trek #steptrek”

  1. Healthy Artists October 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Gotta love Pittsburgh steps!

  2. Melissa (@bettyandboo) October 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Huh. I had no idea this is what the Step Trek was like. I thought it was more like a race, but now that I know it is more of a self-paced kind of thing, this is a definite possibility for next year. Love the pictures!

    • BeezusKiddo October 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      There is a step race in Fineview (which was also held today) that has the traditional race atmosphere. The step trek, however, is totally laid back. Hope you can make it next year, it was a lot of fun!

  3. Viki October 7, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    This is so cool! I love exploring and this sounds perfect! Was the trek all downhill? If you decide to do this again next year, I’m in! Do you know of any others around Pgh?

    • Viki October 7, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      Ugh just saw the other post. How about in the north?

      • BeezusKiddo October 7, 2012 at 9:19 am #

        The southside step trek goes up and down hill. I actually thought the route was pretty well planned to alternate the tougher uphill stretches with some flat and downhill ones. It has more of a hike feel than a race feel. I think kids maybe 8 years old or so and up could be fine to participate along with their parents. (Rachel will be too heavy for us to carry next year, so it’ll be a few years before she participates again)
        Aside from the Fineview Stepathon, I don’t know of any other step events in/around the city.

  4. Franklin October 22, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Loved the report! It made me sad that I had to make a choice and miss Step Trek this year because I did the Fineview Stepathon instead. Maybe no schedule conflict next year and I can do both?

    Here’s my report on the South Side Slopes Step Trek from last year: http://franklinchen.com/blog/2011/10/08/my-god-its-full-of-stairs-pittsburgh-step-trek-2011/

    Here’s my report on the Fineview Stepathon this year: http://franklinchen.com/blog/2012/10/06/the-fineview-stepathon-2012-pittsburghs-grueling-urban-trail-race/


  1. 30 before 30 « BeezusKiddo - October 25, 2012

    […] Do the Southside Step Trek. Accomplished October 6, 2012. […]

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