Friday, June 22, 2012
Day 14: The Homecoming
It was an early start to the morning and, sadly, the final hike of the trip. The destination was Squaw Peak, the second-highest point and most heavily trafficked trail in Phoenix. I learned that since I last climbed the mountain six years ago, a group of Native Americans lobbied to change the name of the previously politically incorrect Squaw Peak. The white folk resisted, but the two sides eventually reached a compromise: The Peak Formerly Known As Squaw. Okay, that part's made up, but the Indians did push for a name change, and as a result, today I technically climbed Piestewa Peak. It's named for a soldier who died in Iraq and the new name looks hard to pronounce, but at least it's a name that has two different foods inside of it...that's impressive for any eight letter word. The trail was tougher than I remembered, but it was a fun hike. After that the fun was over and it was time to focus on the most annoying and disappointing part of any trip--preparing for the return home. That included checking out of the hotel, which boasts the hottest tap water in Phoenix. If you move the handle on the faucet up and to the right, you get scalding hot water. In fact, instead of the typical H and C, the faucets are labeled with 1, 2, and 3 so guests can select their desired degree of burn. Anyway...now all that stands between me and Minnesota is a boring wait at the airport, a lot of miles, and a three-hour flight. It's been a great trip...not a drop of rain, consistently hot weather, and I honestly can't remember the last time I even saw a cloud in the sky. Perhaps most importantly, the rental car stayed upright for the duration of the trip...that's two years in a row!