Saint Paul is a city of hills and it used to be a city of stairwells, but these steps have been disappearing at a steady rate. The iconic Wabasha bluff steps ("Green stairs") disappeared in 2008:
I decided to create a challenge to climb all the remaining public access steps on the West Side, which is becoming easier every year. And, of course, I had to make it a real challenge... trust me, it's harder than you expect, but not for the reasons you'd expect. Here's the rules:
1) You must climb the following seven sets of steps:
A) Raspberry Island to Wabasha Bridge steps.
These go from the east end of Delos Street to Isabel Street.
C) Bancroft Steps
These go from the corner of Bancroft and Cesar Chavez to the corner of Prescott and Woodbury.
D) Baker Rec Center Steps
This short flight is on the line of Morton Street between Waseca and Bellows. There are two parallel flights, one of which is blocked at one end and in disrepair; you only have to do the new steps, on the south side of the park building.
E) Boys and Girls Club Steps
These very short wooden steps are on the east side of the field connecting the corner of Belvidere and Woodbury to the corner of Belvidere and Brown. These aren't technically public steps, but they make one of the following rules challenging, so they're a must.
F) Morton Steps
These are on the line of Morton Street between Robert and State. They have been rebuilt since this photo
G) Belvidere Steps
These go between the corner of Belvidere and Waterloo to Belvidere near the highway bridge.2) You cannot traverse any section of your route twice. This means you cannot backtrack (and you cannot cheat by claiming running down the slope next to the steps you go up is a different route) and you cannot repeat any section of road/path/alley you use.
3) Once you start, you can use no navigational aides, such as maps, global positioning systems or written sets of directions. GPS is allowed to measure distance covered only; it cannot be used to locate or give directions.
4) You must start and end at the same place.
5) For fastest known time, total elapsed time from start to finish is used. My route was just over seven miles and took 63:02, with a long wait for a train.
A word of advice: plan to do it twice. Unless you plan very carefully, you will find it necessary to break one of the rules, so a "dry run" is a good idea.
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