Tucson – October 2021 – From Mexico to Canada in 27 Miles (and 7,000 Vertical Feet) – Mt Lemmon, Arizona

Tucson is located at the base of Mt Lemmon, a 9300′ high mountain. The Catalina Highway goes all the way up the mountain, providing a biological and ecological perspective in the 27 mile drive, and 7,000 vertical feet in elevation gain that is the same as driving from Mexico to Canada.

The road starts in far northeastern Tucson

It doesn’t take long to gain enough elevation for a panoramic view of the city, while passing hillsides of Saguaro cactus.

For many years the road was known as one of the most dangerous in the area, but years of improvements have made it very safe, with numerous overlooks.

The appropriately named Thimble Peak is on the right of this view.

The stop at Windy Point has a large area for hiking around – a good point about 1/2 way up the mountain for an extended break.

There are numerous hoodoos in the lower elevations.

Once you go above 8000′ elevation the terrain changes, with forests of evergreens and aspen trees, with their fall colors.

The small tourist town of Summerhaven has long been a respite from the desert heat.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley is known as the southernmost ski resort in the country. While Tucson is in the desert, with about 11 inches of precipitation a year, rarely as snow, Mt Lemmon has almost 200″ of snow a year at the summit.

A couple of miles further on up the mountain is the summit. A recent wildfire has left some of the hills burnt, but as always the vegetation returns.

The view of Tucson from 7000′ above the valley floor is amazing. This is one of the countries best drives.

The drive back down took us from 52 degrees at the summit to 85 degrees in the valley floor, as we returned back to the Sonoran Desert.

Chicago – September 2021 – Phoning In Some Murals

An unexpected, brief, trip to Chicago left me without a camera – so this posting is solely the result of an iPhone camera.

A quick internet search for some of the more interesting murals in the city, plus discovering some not on the list by chance. I like to find murals that the surroundings add to the photo as well.

Many were in locations that made it tough to get a clear photo, but the varied angles also have added to the composition, rather than a ‘directory of images’.

Central Arizona – September 2021 – Wanderings

A 3 day weekend of wanderings resulted in a number of topics for a posting, and a few random shots that weren’t enough for a single posting.

Jerome, Arizona – What was once a medium sized town for a large copper mine, the town went nearly extinct, but has returned to life as a tourist attractions as … a ghost town full of people.

Another mountain town is Superior – east of Phoenix.

Roosevelt Lake is located near the Tonto National Monument. The reservoir supplies water to Phoenix.

Central Arizona – September 2021 – Historic Native Dwellings

The long weekend provided a great opportunity to explore the many historic dwellings that are scattered around Central Ariona.

We started at Montezuma’s Castle. The Europeans who first visited the remnants in the mid 1800s were mistakenly convinced that Montezuma had lived there, hence the name. This however is inaccurate – it is believed that Hopi, Yavapi and Hohokam lived here.

Nearby is Montezuma’s Well. Much like the Castle, it was the home to numerous local cultures. This natural limestone sinkhole produces 1.5 million gallons of water a day from an underground spring.

Tuzigoot Is a 3 story pueblo ruin at the summit of a ridge near Clarkdale, Arizona. It is very large, with 110 rooms, as a home for Sinagua people.

The final stop of the weekend was at Tonto National Monument. Home to Salado culture more than 800 years ago, it sets high up on a hill above what is now Roosevelt Lake.

Usery Mountain Park, Arizona – September 2021 – Sunset Interrupted

An internet search of best sunsets in Phoenix suggested Usery State Park – just east of Mesa. We headed off for the short drive out, but in the end sunset was not to be as storm clouds moved in. While disappointed about the sunset, the clouds provided a great backdrop not often seen in Phoenix.

The drive back into town also provided some great shots

Before you knew it we were back in Mesa.