Tempe Butte and Camelback Mountain

My boyfriend and I got into an argument, and I quickly replaced him with another man in my life; I know, judge me. He was big, blonde and much older than me. The little scandal sometimes licked my toes to show me how much he loved me. This is really just an introduction to see if my boyfriend ever reads my blog (he doesn’t), whatever, my sister’s boyfriend’s golden retriever Bookie and I had a blast this weekend. On an 80 degree morning this weekend, Bookie and I decided to summit Tempe Butte, otherwise known as “A” mountain, because of the large, yellow B on the side. I’m kidding; it’s an A, symbolic of Tempe’s ASU pride. Either Bookie or I charmed the pants off the security guard at the Tempe Palms Hotel, and we parked for free (I’m kidding about his pants, I’m sure that would be illegal and I don’t want anyone to get fired); we could have just taken the light rail to Tempe Butte, but I don’t think they allow sweaty beasts on the light rail, or dogs.

Closest to the Tempe Palms hotel is the Leonard Monti trail – which is about one mile. On the way up I watched out for snakes, but only ran across a lizard and some small furry thing – possibly a rabbit, possibly the chupacabra (as mysterious as Osama Bin Laden that one is). A userboard on Yelp.com warned several times of stairs on Tempe Butte. There was indeed a set of stairs on the trail I was on; I laughed at them, knock the wind out of me?! I pity you Yelp user!! But I was in for a surprise…

The trail towards the bottom of the mountain is simple - rocks and dust and the like, but the middle bit of the mountain is one elevated ass-kicking. The paved road is about a 90 degree angle; I was basically walking on my tippy-toes. There's a "three-quarter of the way point" with a great view of downtown Tempe and surrounding areas at the top of the steep hill, and I took my time catching my breath.

Then came the STAIRS OF DOOOOOM (yes, say it just like that)! The S.O.D. were horrid, about five feet straight up the stairs one way, then about seven feet the opposite way, errr -3 feet this way… criss-cross, pant-pant, huff-huff. Unfortunately it was at this point that I discovered Bookie was not quite the billy goat Sherpa he had been before. He was fantastic at standing in my way and trying to walk off the trail, but we made it to the top! The north side of the mountain blocks any wind from the hike, and it’s nice and refreshing when you reach a high enough point to feel the breeze. I was abruptly interrupted by what could be considered the end of the hike, the last stair, and a metal cage around some sort of antennae.

The views were still spectacular and for a twenty minute hike it wasn’t terribly hard. I wouldn’t recommend bringing your grandma or any sort of asthmatic. I also wouldn’t recommend bringing your dog if he thinks he is a mountain lion. He almost knocked me off my feet when we saw the small furry thing again; it was a squirrel, and Bookie decided it had to DIE. I screamed NOOOO better than the exorcist ever could and hung on to Bookie to keep him from diving into cactus. We were both tired when we reached the bottom, and Bookie happily moisturized my leather interior with his drool.

I was so psyched about my success at Tempe Butte that I decided to hike up Camelback Mountain three days later at eight in the morning. You would figure that a freaking mountain would be easy to find, NO. I asked three different people and they all gave me different directions. I ended up at Echo Canyon, which I figured was close enough to a mountain. By this time I was so pissed off by my lack of a GPS device that I just got out of my car and took photos of the beautiful red rocks. Call me lazy, call me undetermined, I call myself sleep savvy, as that’s exactly what I did when I got home - passed out. I leave Camelback Mountain for another day… for now, I think I deserve a McMuffin.

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