I had been thinking of Utah or Colorado for a high altitude "fix", but inspired by a couple of the recent testimonials for this hike I decided to save on gas and logistical headaches. Left Ahwatukee at 5:30AM - back home by 7:30PM.
Impressions: This really is a nicer hike than the "Snow Bowl Express". More scenic and much less crowded and it's really obvious your climbing an old volcano. When I met up with the main trail I joined literally hundreds of people trekking that last mile to the top. This was dismaying for a couple reasons: 1) Humphreys has turned into Camelback, and 2) so many of those young (and not so young) hardbodies left me in the dust! Of course it was Labor Day Sunday - and it's probably good news for hikers that the constituency is so active. One last thing: no matter how well you prepare yourself for that nasty last scree-slog to the summit, it's worse than you think.
One more last thing: I don't know the history of trail development on this mountain and I understand the upper regions are fragile and "closed" - but it seems to me that adding a trail on the northeast ridge which eventually ends up in the Inner Basin would make a wonderful loop and potentially ease the crowding.