18 Feb 2014--This past Saturday Cathy and I headed out to Mt Lemmon, one of the higher mountain peaks here in the Tuscon area. This map shows the area we are in is at the convergence of 2 mountain ranges and 2 of the great deserts, so the diversity of both plant and animal life really stands out.
At the bottom of the mountain, and the Tuscon area itself, is desert. I keep trying to capture how the surrounding area looks in pics, but this is probably the best way to do it...check out the video and how it shows that although this mountain is in the Coronado National Forest, the base of the mountain is basically a "forest of Saguaro and other cacti"!
To get to the top of the mountain entails a 27 mile scenic drive...lots of what they call "switchbacks", basically "s" roads swerving back and forth to the top. As we climb the scenery changes from desert to semi-desert grasslands at about the 4000 ft range.
We stopped for a short time here at about 6500 ft. It was beautiful to look out over the valley and at the mountain range in the distance. Notice the guy in the video sitting on the railing...yikes!
From the same area we saw some people rock climbing. Blow up the 2nd thru the 5th pics to see the little kid, (I can't imagine he is more than 10 yrs old), rappelling down the side of the mountain. Looks like it might be his maiden voyage! I think it is great, but I have to wonder how many parents would let their kids try this at that age? haha
Needless to say, the higher you go on the mountain the cooler it gets. The high at the bottom was about 85 degrees, and absolutely no higher than 60-65 degrees at the top. We each put 2 sweatshirts on to take the ski lift the final leg of the trip. Notice that only at the top of the mountain do you finally see trees as you would expect to in a National Forest. Because of the snow, they can finally grow up here.
We were a bit disappointed that we couldn't walk around or do any hiking at the top of the mountain. Because there was still ice up there all the trails were closed, so we had to come straight back down. But all in all, the scenery getting there was beautiful, so the day was not lost!