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Timed Ascents of Squaw Peak

"When your legs get weaker time starts running faster." – Mikhail Turovsky

Name Time Date Witnessed By
Cristian Oprescu 16 minutes, 13 seconds 01 Mar 08 Camelback Jack
Victor Aguilar 19 minutes, 45 seconds 09 Dec 08 Dana
Colin J. Veitch 20 minutes, 27 seconds 10 Oct 08 Bob & John
Bob Clauson 22 minutes, 02 seconds 05 Dec 09 Linda Clauson
Hurley Johnson 23 minutes, 12 seconds    
Jenna Sawyer 26 minutes 21 seconds 15 Dec 15 Medeline Sawyer
George Quebbeman 32 minutes, 50 seconds 13 Nov 09 Charlene Frost
Blake B 24 minutes, 05 seconds 8 Apr 16 Christian Kneifel

Squaw Peak is a hiking trail in Phoenix, AZ located east of Highway 51 and north of Lincoln Drive. It is 1.2 mile long and climbs 1190 feet. It has recently been renamed Piestewa Peak, though most people still call it Squaw Peak. I time my ascents to the western peak.

Max, the brains of the outfit, can't understand why I climb Squaw Peak. I told him that it is just like rabbit hunting, only without the rabbits and all uphill. He gave me one of those looks that says, "my human is nuts."

If you're also nuts about climbing Squaw Peak, submit your time here. All times are self-reported, so we'll just have to trust you not to exaggerate. If I get enough interest in timed ascents of Squaw Peak, I'll organize a race and then we'll have official time keepers.

When posting your ascent time, please include the name of someone who witnessed your climb. If there was no eyewitness, then give the name of someone who will vouch for you. Also, please include the date (at least the year) when you timed your ascent. Note: You are allowed to appear on the list twice, once with your all-time best ascent time and once with a more recent ascent time that reflects your current abilities.

So, what's the secret to climbing Squaw Peak quickly? Mountain Rags t-shirts. They may look like they're made of ordinary cotton but, concealed in the fabric, are hundreds of tiny rocket motors which can be ignited with a hidden switch in the event that your hiking partner should pull ahead of you on the trail. If it were it not for the tell-tale odor of cordite, nobody would know that your win was not due to superior training and fitness, as you claim.

Click here to record your time for Camelback Mountain instead of Squaw Peak.

I captured a firefly! Alive! When I was seven years old, I had no higher ambition in life. I'm 42 now but, honestly, that one was still at or very near the top of my bucket list. I was climbing Squaw Peak at night and saw a bright green spot of light on the rocks. At first I thought that the tritium sight had fallen off someone's weapon, which raised the interesting (and disturbing) question of who had been up there with an M-16. But, when I picked it up, I could feel that it was soft, so I carried it all the way home in my fist (it turned its light off after a few minutes) and I put it in an empty peanut-butter jar.

My firefly looks like a pink worm about an eighth of an inch wide and three-eighth of an inch long. I named him "Tritium." I'll keep you guys informed on whether he dies, metamorphosises, turns his light back on or what. Of course, this is assuming that he is a firefly. Perhaps Tritium is the larvae form of a 100-foot-tall glowing green monster from outer space that has come to Earth intending to eat us all. If that is the case, I'm going to need a bigger jar.

Okay! Gauzy childhood memory: On 10 October 1973 my parents, who were ranchers, worked long after dark to get their haying done, as it was starting to snow. Driving down from that mountain meadow, the forest was alive with fireflies. It was the most amazing thing! I asked my dad how they glowed, but he had no explanation. My mom, who was following in another truck, honked her horn until we stopped, ran up to our truck and told us that she had just heard on the radio that Vice President Spiro T. Agnew had resigned. It was like the government was falling apart! Interesting news indeed, but what I really wanted to ask her about was the fireflies. She had no explanation either, so we continued home.

Firefly Games
by Kay Butler

Midwest kids love their firefly games,
They catch them and give them all names.
Out here in the West,
We accept second best,
Watching houseflies burst into flames.

Hike! Hike! Hike! Hike!
by Victor Aguilar

Hike! Hike! Hike! Hike!
The rocks are sharp,
And the cactuses have spikes!

No time for lunch, I eat a protein bar on the go.
I began this hike in the heat of the desert floor,
But now I've climbed so high, it's starting to snow!

I don't know if I can make it; the trail is steep.
But I can't slow down now; calories I must burn.
This roll of belly fat I've got, I don't want to keep.

I'd like to think I'm strong, but there’s a girl I know,
Who carried an injured dog; 65 pounds, she says.
But in fact, it's to a hundred that goldens do grow.

Hiking makes the mind sharp and the body lean.
That much is so. But one question I cannot answer,
Is why the cactuses are so darned mean?

Ski! Ski! Ski! Ski!
by Victor Aguilar

Ski!  Ski!  Ski!  Ski!
“So you enjoy gracefully schussing down the hill?”
A friend asked and I laughed, “Graceful?  No.  Not me!”

“I seek giant moguls,” I tell the ski patrol, “Where’s the best snow?”
“We’ll get a stretcher ready and prepare our splints for you.
“The Wall is what you seek.  That’s where all the crazy people go.”

“Very well,” I go over The Wall with a silent prayer and a yell.
Video cameras whir.  Warren Miller will buy their tapes if I prevail,
America’s Funniest Home Videos has bought the ones where I fell.
At the top of each bump stands a mogul troll.
Invisible creatures that will trip me up as I pass,
 But not if I reach forward and stab them with my ski pole!

Leaning forward I impale the creature’s hairy foot,
Then turn around him with my weight on my downhill ski.
But if I miss my strike, then my mogul run is kaput.

Some people telemark and some race the Super G,
But sticking mogul trolls is what I do best.
Gracefully schussing?  These words are foreign to me.

The sun has set, the day is done; I have not yet met my doom.
I eat a thick steak and a carrot cake and retire to my hotel.
What’s this?  My God!  A mogul troll, waiting in my room!

Tempe Town Lake Was Surely a Mistake
by Victor Aguilar

Tempe Town Lake, it was surely a mistake,
A slice of Manhattan, financed with taxpayer pork,
Dollar signs in their eyes:  “Real estate can only rise!”
Now we’ve got something out of Escape from New York.

Well-heeled prospective buyers, answering the shrill criers,
Came to see the view that the real estate agents did pump,
Now drunkards ignore the view; business they’ve come to do,
Hanging their butts off a 35-story ledge, they do take a dump.

A multi-million dollar penthouse!  Now the owners grouse,
Beer bottles, cigarette butts and used condoms litter the floor,
Their condo is a playground for bums; for them, only crumbs.
Can’t the bank at least find the money to put a lock on the door?

Unable to pay the light bill, Scott Coles himself he did kill,
Most condos were only 600 square feet, but what a view!
300 thousand bones!  Now the buildings are dark tombstones,
Monuments to the many investors that Mr. Coles did screw.

“It’s a steal!” the bankers holler, hoping for a sucker to collar,
Millions of dollars of cabinets were ruined by heat and erosion,
But it can still be salvaged; their investment is not yet ravaged,
Here’s a plan:  the bankers can sell tickets to the implosion.

This latter poem is not about sports.  I put it here because it addresses a local issue and it is mostly locals who read my Squaw Peak page.  Note that I am not denouncing the lake itself.  There is nothing wrong with city governments providing recreational facilities for the townsfolk.  In fact, the City of Tempe would do well to provide us with more recreational facilities, particularly more bicycle paths.  But I do not believe that city governments should subsidize private businesses like condominiums, stadiums or, for that matter, factories.  The city government does not possess a single dime that they did not take away from local businessmen.  If they want to promote “revitalization,” whatever that means, then they should let us keep our money and we can use it to revitalize our own businesses.

If you liked these poems, I have a fiction and poetry page on a variety of topics, and another poetry page specifically for humorous poems about our current financial situation.

The bolt was wobbly, so I glued it in more firmly with some chewing gum before rappelling off of it. Safety first, you know!