Our household started the day a bit later than we had intended, but it turned out to be a delightful day despite only getting to half the events we had hoped to attend. The first one started at 9-ish, as in the a.m., at 9,000 feet. A mountain brunch. Actually Summerhaven, the mountain town where we were meeting friends for a birthday brunch, is only 8,200 ft. in elevation. But still that is quite a bit higher than Tucson at 2,650 ft. And we got there quite a bit later than 9-ish, but we were not the last to arrive.
The scenery on the way up was stunning, as always.
This is such an absolutely complex and varied ecological area. For info to beef up your geological perspective, I recommend this publication. It has a bunch of information you can use to identify geological formations at some of the well designed pull off Scenic Vistas along the way. (We were reminiscing today about how the Catalina Highway to the top of Mount Lemmon has changed from road to real highway.)
The mountains around here are called Sky Islands. To find out about the biology and biota of these islands with sea of desert all around check out the Sky Island Alliance. And if you want to find out more about connecting the islands so wildlife can migrate (No border fences!) check out the info about wildlife corridor design.
Now back to the travelogue.
The ability to experience such diverse climate, flora, and fauna in a drive up the mountain range that borders northern Tucson and takes only an hour is one of the fortunes given to you with residence in Tucson.
When I was married in the Summer of 1989 on the top of Mount Lemmon, the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains, the record high temperatures in the Tucson Basin were above the 110°F mark. It was in the 80s in Lemmon Meadow where we held the ceremony and camp-o-rama reception.
So long ago, geesh, I still drank Budweiser… why I was holding a Bud when we had a keg of Harp and vat of chilled Moet Chandon I still do not know.
Mount Lemmon, by the way, was named for Sara Lemmon a botanist in the late 1800s who was the first white women to climb the peak and describe and gather botanical samples from the unique biology of the range.
So anyway, I was jumping in and out of the truck to get pics of this or that and when I came back to the truck after getting the image of Thimble Peak, I felt like the guy in the Simon and Garfunkel song, “Cecilia.”
But soon we were back to the land of Saguaros.
By the time we got back home and were to clean up and attend another birthday party… it was ready to storm and we were exhausted. The evening was spent watching Marlene Dietrich in Witness for the Prosecution and then in Shanghai Express on TCM.
I’m sad that we did not make it to another friend’s birthday bash for her hubby’s 30th 39th birthday, but one of the rewards of being old enough to know better is knowing what your limits are before you have reached or exceeded them.
So that is what we did today. Sometimes I absolutely love my experiential fortunes!