Sunday, June 28, 2009

Soaring to a Desert Island

Yikes, today is going to be a hot one. The summer is finally here in Arizona and I have a plan to escape it for another few hours. With a high of 109+ forecast, I call my man Nickolaus up and say we need to Jeep. Looking at the map the closest spot I know it will be cool is Mt Lemon, which is South! We hatch a plan and are on the road by 6:30.

The dawn is beautiful but let me tell you it is already 89 out.

After a few miles on I-10 we exit at Tangerine Road North of Tucson and head towards the hill we are going to climb.

Skirting around Tucson to the South we end up in Oracle Arizona a cool little town founded in the Old West and other then the new dollar store, a place where little has changed. But that is another trip for another time as we need to go climb the mountain.

We are not the only coyotes on the move. This guy is looking for a nice Saturday brunch.

A sign that I love to see in the Jeep. Whoo Hooo let the fun start!

The Jeep just floats up the first few miles of road through the high desert. It is glorious out side

I don't tell this little Lolita about the brunch in town. But we see a fair amount of animals as we make our way up.

As we come around a set of hills we see a whole roost of turkey vultures riding up on some thermals. We climb up and see that some hawks have joined in.

He is cool

What a worthy creature

But not all the animals out today are large. These Yuccas in bloom have their own totally cool micro environment happening

You just have to look a little closer smile

We stop in a wash to check it out and stretch the legs.

I am always totally blown away at the art I discover Mother Earth has created over the ages. This natural mosaic is a fine example of that. Totally glorious.

I need to work with Nick on his desert camouflage choices but you can't ask for a better Jeep partner.

We keep climbing and climbing

We run into the occasional bad Hombre in Black who we have to face down.

Eventually we are in the pines and the temp has dropped to about 70 and the world is a wonderful place. Even if there is pavement to drive on now.

It is amazing that about 20 miles in any direction and about 7000 ft down the temp is about 30 degrees higher. I love Arizona.

The area has been hit with fire recently but is recovering nicely. If I lived in Tucson, I would seriously think hard about buying a place up here. It is only about 40 miles from the center of Town!

Over 9000 ft! Whoo Hoo

The lifts are running but we have a lunch date!

We drive down the South Face past some HooDoo's and get treated to some great vistas as well.

Even with all the fun Nick and I have on the mountain the highlight of my day so far is getting to see Tanya for the first time in months.

After Nick buys lunch (why does he bet me?) we head home saying goodbye to Tanya and shoot up I-10 so I can get to a very important Birthday Party.

This guy forgot to have his people pack the Escalade properly. We turn off before it shakes loose. Traffic on the 10 is normal and I can't wait for them to get it widened to 3 lanes each way between here and Tucson. That will make it a lot better.

See ya next time!

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