Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mt Lemmon Ascent

We have been seeing references to Mt. Lemmon every night on the news weather report. The forecaster gives weather for Tucson and vicinity and then gives conditions on Mt Lemmon. Typically, the mountain will be 15-20 degrees less than Tucson and may or also report falling snow, when Tucson has nothing or rain. The mountain is located just north of the city with the road leading to the summit starting at the city limits. The first pic shows the range that Mt. Lemmon is located in as seen over the City of Tucson. Then comes the 8000 foot climb that takes about 22 miles of roadway. At the top is a ski lodge. On the way up, the trees are very thin, with mostly cacti rising from the ground. After a couple thousand feet, the pines and oaks begin. This is explained along the way by an information board that stated that after the last ice age, 10-12,000 years ago, the valley became dry and the trees climbed higher into the mountains in order to obtain moisture. Many of the rock formations remind us of Needles Highway in the Rapid City, SD area with spires rising along the roadway. Looking out across the mountains, we sometimes can count over five ridges of mountain tops. The entire scene is almost unbelievable. Some sights do not look real, to our untrained eyes. More surreal! Some of these photos show this and you should see what I mean. It was so cool to be looking from above the snow line of one mountain DOWN to the snow cap of another mountain. We took so many photos on the way up that our camera battery died before we could take pictures on the descent. We will hopefully go up again next week to get the descent photos.

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