Good Morning Ahwatukee!
Now that the summer desert heat has moved in, I've switched my hikes from Telegraph Pass to cooler morning "city hiking" in the Ahwatukee Foothills.
It's the best of both worlds with Mediterranean style landscaped city streets and parks, and many foothills with their own hiking trails, at the foot of South Mountain.
Ahwatukee is a City of Phoenix neighborhood, but isolated from the city proper by South Mountain. That separation has functionally turned Ahwatukee into its own village of more than 83,000 residents in neighborhoods nestled between foothills.
Lifestyles in Ahwatukee are active and fit, with a lot of walkers, cyclists, hikers and golfers out and about whenever possible; and the local fitness places do brisk business.. Like the rest of the Valley, there are hiking trails galore, and plenty of golf courses. Public landscaping is impeccable and artful, and the natural trails have an "edge of wilderness" vibe. People are friendly, and tend to smile and say "good morning" to each other. Really a lovely place to live, and visit.
My route takes me on a brisk sidewalk power walk for about 2-ish miles, then cuts over to a nice foothill to climb, with a net elevation gain of 200 to 300 feet. Overall, it's just over a 3 mile walk / hike with a moderate cardio boost on the hill, and the glutes and abs really feel it. If you really want to test your fitness level, add 5-6 pounds to the backpack. It's humbling.
Atop this foothill is an amazing vista of the entire South Mountain range, the distant Estrella Mountains, Ahwatukee neighborhoods surrounded by foothills, and the Indian Reservation off to the south.
Not too bad for a daily workout. Happy Hikes!
So okay, there are stories about the origins of the name Ahwatukee. The village VIPs say the word comes from the Crow language, and means "House of Dreams". On the other hand, others say the name comes from the Crow phrase "awe chuuke", meaning "land on the other side of the hill", or "land over the hill".
Still another theory has it that a wealthy woman who wintered at South Mountain over a hundred years ago made the word up to mimic the Indian influences of the time. Who knows?
Cool trivia, but whatever. I just love saying "Ahwatukee" no matter where it came from.