An Eventful Hike in Frick Park
Summer in Appalachia means it’s hiking time. I went to REI, purchased the Best Hikes Near Pittsburgh Falcon Guide, and unpacked my gear.
On Thursday, I went for a shakeout hike on Frick Park, which is just down the street from my apartment. Since I regularly walk Maxx the dog along the trails, Frick felt a like an easy way to get to test my equipment and get to know the Guide.
The nice part about using guidebooks is that you find new treasures in familiar places.
One particular landmark caught my attention: the Lawn Bowling Greens.
The greens sat on a trail I regularly hiked. Yet, I’d never seen them. As I’m wont to do when I am familiar with trails, I stopped paying close attention to the guide’s directions. Instead, I went into auto-pilot and very nearly missed a turn because I knew where the guide wanted me to end up.
(Pro-tip: Don’t read too far ahead!)
I backtracked once I realized my error and found my way to the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Greens where I met Carolyn, who was there to help teach the Thursday night beginners lesson. (The Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club offers introductory lessons every Thursday from 7-9 pm.)
What happened next wasn’t in the guidebook.
The few miles were uneventful save for a few missed trails.
As I approached the final ascent to the Frick Environmental Center where I began the hike, a plain-clothed police officer appeared around from around the corner in front of me. He was talking into his walkie-talkie. His gun was holstered.
“Do you know where the blue slide is,” he asked. (The Blue Slide Park is a landmark.)
I didn’t, I told him. I was on a new trail and couldn’t quite orient myself in the park. He ran past. A few seconds later, a uniformed police officer approached.
As he walked by, the trail split into a Y. That split helped me determine our location using the map. I turned around to tell the officers how to get to the blue slide, which was in the opposite direction from where they had been running before I continued on my way.
They followed me back although I wasn’t sure why. Until I turned the last corner on the trail.
As I made my way up Ravine Trail, I came across two police cars near the mid-way point and then another three at the top.
All told more than a dozen plain-clothed and uniformed officers and two police dogs walked past me, heading toward the pavilion at the Falls Ravine Trail.
“Just taking a little stroll in the park,” said one of the officers as he walked past. He looked to be in his late fifties, a full grey mustache, grey hair, and tinted Aviator sunglasses.
I smiled but didn’t say anything. They were busy, and I wanted to get out of the park.
I did hear one of the officers say that they “were heading for the car at the bottom of the trail.”
I got home and scanned Twitter and the local news sites for any information. I found nothing. (I even tweeted all the news stations asking for any information. Still waiting for a response.)
Fortunately, Reddit is a thing.