Saturday, July 27, 2013

Enjoy Nature by Exploring Pittsburgh's Panther Hollow Lake

I believe that all work and no rest makes a PhD student worn out. That's why I believe it's important to go out and explore nature in the city that you call home. Although I can easily ride the Pittsburgh Port Authority buses, I usually choose to walk to and from Carnegie Mellon. Earlier this week, I decided to explore the Panther Hollow Lake by taking side routes off the Panther Hollow (hiking) Trail. What I found was really nice, and I should have explored this area much sooner. It's nice that there's nature within a big city.

Small waterfall underneath one of the pedestrian bridges
One of the first things I discovered was this small waterfall underneath one of the Lower Panther Hollow trail bridges. I clearly was not the first person to discover this, as there were some young adults getting their feet wet in the stream and taking photographs of one another. I decided to risk getting my feet wet, and I snapped a picture of the lovely little waterfall shown above.

Of course, the Panther Hollow Lake itself is brown and mucky. Still, it is nice to go walking around the lake, and I saw parents with their children fishing with small fishing poles. I walked around the lake and saw several blue dragonflies. I felt it was too bad that I didn't bring my iPhone telephoto lenses attachment, as I could not get descent pictures of them with my phone alone.

A panoramic view of the Panther Hollow Lake with the Panther Hollow Bridge in the background (on the left)
Of course, the lake freezes up during the winter. I imagine that people used to ice skate on the frozen lake in years past. I don't think anyone does that any more because there is an iceskating rink in Schenley Park. I certainly wouldn't want to go swimming in this lake either, but it was nice and relaxing to walk around the lake, as I had never done that before. I've lived in Pittsburgh for almost three years now. I've walked over the lake via the Panther Hollow Bridge, but I never took the time to go down to the lake itself. I guess I was too busy previously, but I'm glad I finally visited it.

Stairs leading to the Upper Panther Hollow Trail from
Panther Hollow Lake
After I finished walking around the late, I decided it was time to go home. Instead of following the Lower Panther Hollow Trail, I decided to take the steps (pictures above) to the Upper Panther Hollow Trail for a better workout. The first rungs of steps were made out of wood, but the rest of the steps were these old slabs of stone. I could tell that the steps had been in place for many years.

In the end, I really enjoyed my long walk with my detour around the lake. Whatever type of work you may do, I highly suggest that you take time out from your busy days from time to time, and explore your city. You'll never know what kind of nature exists within the confines of your city, and your exploration would certainly recharge your batteries for another busy day.

I hope that peace, good health, happiness, and harmony finds you. Take care of your body and soul, and you will be focused to do well in your career and your personal life.

Yours truly,

Jonathan Becker
ECE PhD Candidate
Carnegie Mellon University