Despite living in Pennsylvania for three years, I had never been to the incline. It was raining when I visited with a group of friends, and we took care not to slip on the worn wooden stairs leading up to the entrance.

Our group crowded the shoebox entrance and we filed into a line like first graders on the way to lunch, waiting our turn to board the rickety incline. The ride up was met with jokes about what might happen if we were stuck in the car, which made the woman sitting next to me go very, very pale.

Thankfully, the end result was worth it. It was still drizzling as we looked down at the city below us, still an awesome sight. I imagined what the Pittsburgh skyline would have meant to the workers who built it, and suddenly I felt pride for a city I really had no ties to except for living on its outskirts.

The history of the incline and the city itself was somehow made tangible the longer I spent looking out from the top. How was this still running after 140 years? I suppose it’s a testament to the drive and the determination behind the hands that brought it to life, carving their monument into the side of the mountain.

Our next stop as a group was The Carnegie Art Museum, yet another place in Pittsburgh I’d never been to.

There were so many different kinds of art, I didn’t know where to start. Our group broke into smaller troupes and I followed along with my friends, giggling about naked statues and joking with each other about the possibility if one of the guards was really following us or not. (They weren’t.)

Spending the day with friends and having a blast was refreshing. I felt like I was back in my element, exploring the floors and getting lost on purpose.

Special thanks to the guard who took this picture for us!

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