I’ve run this circuit not nearly enough times. The topography and perspective are those not afforded in the boundaries of a typical neighborhood park. This is freerunning across the entire city, not compartmentalized into any one modality of cityscape.
Beginning at the base of A Mountain, just east of the football stadium, we cut through ASU student parking on our way to the bridge. The bridge is an important metaphysical archetype and this course is special as it crosses two (Rural Road & Mill Avenue) over Tempe Town Lake. From the Rural Road bridge (#1) we divert off of the main pathways into a vacant lot (site of the old Club Rio), undeveloped for more than 10 years now, and shoot diagonally toward the 202 underpass. Just north of here we sneak across a staggered little stream and dive right into Papago.
Serpentine rock design
There are three major rock formations that we pass along our way and the first one is immediately upon us to the right. The second is a short distance ahead and creates a markedly large shadow in the early hours of the morning. The third is a short overpass offering a condescending view toward Curry Road on the right.
Rock #3 first view
Rock #3 second view
From here there’s two mini valleys challenging enough both on the way up and on the way down. I enjoy the quick decision-making in foot placement required to efficiently traverse this topographical shape-shifting. After the final ascent you come into a vagrant-occupied picnic area with a wide greenspace at the corner of Mill & Curry.
The 202, southern border
Mill Avenue Bridge (#2)
From here I head to the 202 underpass and onto the Mill Avenue bridge (#2) toward the final flight upward to the top of A Mountain (also referred to as Hayden Butte) where the full, glorious panorama of this vibrant City of Tempe is unveiled. I usually eat my apple and breathe in the flowing, rarified mountaintop breeze.
Hayden Flour Mill and “A” Mountain
Then I plunge back into sea-level scenery step by step, or rather leaps and bounds as I approach Hayden Flour Mill and then back to the front of ASU’s football stadium. Huff, Humph, harumph…phew! 🙂
Now back to the grind…
The earth chart tracing my route: