An adventure in Tempe

Editor’s note – This entry is by Dave Holtzman, Director of Media Relations for the Royals.  Follow ‘Holtzy’ on Twitter, ( @HoltzyRoyals ) where he has regular insight on the Royals and the occasional post about his alma mater’s basketball team (clue – Dave’s dog is named Naismith).


This blog is not really baseball related, but hang with me.  I think it’s an entertaining story nonetheless.


I dropped my family off at the airport this morning (one of the worst feelings in the world is walking away from my wife and 2-year old son as they get into that security line), looked at my phone and realized it was just 8 a.m.  Now for those unfamiliar with Phoenix, the airport is only about a five minute drive from Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the Royals will take on the A’s this afternoon at 3:05 p.m. KC time.  Surprise, on the other hand, is about 45 minutes from the airport (in the opposite direction from Phoenix Muni).  So, I had about two or so hours to kill around the Phoenix/Tempe area.


I decided to drive over to downtown Tempe and the Mill Avenue District.  This is a great area right next to the Arizona State campus with restaurants, bars, shops, etc.  Kind of reminds me of wonderful Mass Street in Lawrence, Kan. (Rock chalk!).  After a donut and some decaf coffee, I still had an hour and a half until I needed to be at the ballpark. 


I wandered toward the ASU campus and Sun Devil Stadium, but a large mountain caught my eye.  Those familiar with football invariably has seen this mountain in many aerial shots of Sun Devil Stadium over the years.  I walked up to the base of the mountain and read the sign:


Hayden Butte Preserve
Leonard Monti Trail
Summit 1495′


Something to think about here: I was dressed in work attire.  We are a bit more casual in Spring Training, but not too much.  I had on khaki pants, a black, Royals polo and, thankfully, tennis shoes.  Without the tennis shoes, I wouldn’t even have considered the hike.


So, I began up the dirt and rock trail.  Once I reached a point about two-thirds up, the incline greatly increased and I realized I couldn’t go any further without breaking a serious sweat and stinking up the entire press box the rest of the day.  At this point, I took some photos which you can see here:


IMAGE_034.jpg – A look up at the summit of the mountain with a large “A” in gold and maroon in support of the Sun Devils.







IMAGE_035.jpg– The trail map sign showing where I started from (the circle on the bottom of the photo in the center) and where my climb ended (the big “you are here” arrow).  I am not really sure what those two large circular buildings were to the right on the trail map.



– You get two-thirds of the way up the mountain before they have this nice informational sign about snakes.  If it were me, I might put this sign at the trailhead so people deathly afraid of snakes can make the decision to walk the trail or not.







– Here’s a shot of a cactus right off the trail.  If you use your imagination a bit, the cactus seems to be in the shape of a “KC”.  Or perhaps a “KU”, if you’re so inclined.







– (Left) The view of downtown Tempe and Mill Avenue looking to the south and west







– (Right) The view of a portion of the Arizona State campus, looking to the south








–  And finally, here’s a shot I took looking at the sunrise.  Nice, huh?  (Just kidding!  That’s a file photo from my phone!)






After the hike, I drove to Phoenix Muni and am now settled in for the game.  Kyle Davies is scheduled to take the mound for the Boys in Blue, who are now 5-3-1 this spring after yesterday’s 12-3 win over the Angels, who, coincidentally, train in Tempe.


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