Friday morning I hiked A Mountain!
In name, only. Hayden Butte, also known as A Mountain (due to the giant gold “A” painted on the side near the top) is located in Tempe, Arizona. From the bottom, it looks like a quick jaunt up a rather-large hill. From the top, you get views of downtown Tempe and the Arizona State University campus, and it’s a great place to stretch your legs early in the morning before the sun starts to cook you.
It’s a fairly short but steep climb with a few gravel switchbacks and stairs to help guide your ascent. On your way up, you’ll notice various cacti (don’t veer or wobble off the path, for the end result will be a painful one should you slip) but surprisingly minimal wildlife (something I noticed everywhere in Tempe. Nothing but pigeons.) I did spot signs indicating the snakes (RATTLESNAKES) you could encounter on the trail, as well as a note indicating jackrabbits and pack rats lived there too. Poor pack rats, their name forever synonymous with hoarders. Thankfully, I didn’t spot any snakes. I would’ve jumped clean off that hill.
I did the climb at 6 a.m., and by the time I’d returned to the bottom it was already quite hot and closing in on 90 degrees. At 7 a.m.! Apparently this time of year is their winter, and while they’re having a heat wave I would not want to see what their summer is like. As such, I would not recommend doing this hike in the afternoon as you will melllllt. Arizona, your heat is nuts. Like wearing an oven. Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat.