Saturday, April 9, 2011

Arizona Postcards--Saturday April 9: Climbing "A" Mountain

Having a great time in Scottsdale in spite of some inhospitable weather.  Got some great photos (oh, stay for a minute or two...!)

On Friday morning, our first morning in Scottsdale before the weather became rainy and cold today, Mark and I challenged ourselves to climb "A" mountain.

"A" mountain is just across the road from Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium, home of ASU football and the Fiesta Bowl.  Its official name is Hayden Butte, and it rises above Tempe and ASU campus.  At the foot of it sits the old Hayden Flour Mill, closed for decades, but whose shell welcomes visitors driving into Tempe from neighboring Scottsdale.

At the top rests an enormous gold-painted letter A, maintained by the ASU Territorial Club, a group of students who make a ritual of guarding it from marauding U of Arizona students seeking to re-paint it before the annual ASU/U-of-A football game.

The hill rises 1500 feet from the base.  There are paved trails and wooden and block stairs winding around to the top. Even so, the climb is steep, and often treacherous where metal railings are not in place.

We saw joggers, walkers, one struggling biker, a group of grade-school kids, and a woman and her protective dog. A couple from India, in native dress not quite suitable for rock-climbing, moved up and then down the rocks gamely, and greeted us like old friends.

We made it to the top in about 30 minutes and we marveled at the views; the Phoenix skyline; the inverted pyramid of the Tempe Village building; the dorm where I worked as a Hall Director too many years ago; the garden planted on the roof of a parking garage; the Salt River; and the campus sprawl.

Coming soon: A rainy day at the Mall; a terrific Jake Gyllenhaal matinee; and feeling "sad" as hell about Sydney Lumet.

"Wish you were here!!"


  1. Tom,

    Glad you and Mark are enjoying Scottsdale! Those are some beautiful pics! It does look like a very nice place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You look like you're having a lovely time. Keep on sending those postcards we really enjoy hearing from you.

  3. Tom: We made our annual trip, and really wish we could visit there more often. It was fun and ended way too quickly. I'm happy you visited and enjoyed our photos!

    Ben: Thank you for the kind words...and I am so happy you're enjoying the postcards. Some day when you finally come to Chicago, maybe we can take a week-long "side-trip" to the Desert Southwest!