Monday, November 5, 2012

Mt. Lemmon & Summerhaven

We didn't have any chores to do today and decided to take a trip to Mt. Lemmon.  We are around 3200ft in altitude here and Mt. Lemmon is about 9100ft high.  The Catalina Highway to the top of the mountain is 28 miles long and we are about 12 miles from the beginning of the highway.

It is an interesting drive in that you go from a desert environment to a tree covered mountain.  Most drives like this are the reverse, trees to bare mountain sides.  It is said that the drive takes you from the equivalent of driving from Arizona desert to Canadian mountains with the different eco climates along the way.  

It was 91 degrees when we left and had the a/c on in the car.  By the time we arrived at the top of the mountain we were down to 62 degrees.  That is quite a drop in temperature in a short time and a most welcome one at that.  Love it.  They could have the first snow of the season up there this weekend since there is a cold front moving through the area.

The ski lift was running, but no snow on the mountain yet.  They do get an average of 180 inches of snow a year, so you have a ski area within 40 miles of downtown Tucson.  It is interesting to see the Tucsonians taking their pickup truck up during the snowy times and loading the trucks down with snow and bringing it back to town and making snowmen and having snowfights.

Lone tree with color at the top.

Ski Slope
 There are some interesting rock formations on the drive up there and also some steep cliffs alongside of the road.  I don't think our friend Judy R would like this particular drive.  We drove through a couple campgrounds on the way, but they are for tenters or small trailers only.  There is no way I would take our motor home up there and if I did, there wouldn't be any place to park it.

Daffy Duck.

Long way down over the edge.

The town of Summerhaven is at the top of the mountain and a huge forest fire raged through the town in 2003 and destroyed a number of homes.  They have rebuilt some of the homes and they are quite large and beautiful.  A few years ago a windstorm went through the town and damaged a lot of trees.  It looked like a war zone.

Summerhaven home

Dual homes on steep hillside
There used to be a run down restaurant/coffee shop next to the Post Office where they had the best pie in the state of Arizona.  It was baked by the elderly woman owner and people would drive up there just for the pie.  That is sort of what we did today.  The lady passed away now there is a new restaurant called the Sawmill with a nice food menu, beer & wine, and great desserts.  We ordered the bread pudding and Ron K had the cherry pie.  He raved about it and we loved the bread pudding.  Next time I am ordering the cherry pie though,  since that is one of my favorites.

We sat on the veranda since it was a nice sunny day.  We all ordered the chili and I must admit, I have never had chili like they served us.  It was more like a navy bean soup with turkey piece in the soup rather than ham.  It hit the spot since the sun went down and the temp dropped like a rock.  Ron K was cold, so we hurried up and finished the meal so he could warm up.

There were a number of bicyclists pedaling up and down the mountain.  I could handle the down part, but there is no way in heaven that I could pedal a bike up that mountain; no way, even when I was in great shape during the last Century. 


  1. Looks odd with just the burned out trees. I would have thought that they would cut them down? Nice homes! Off to vote.


  2. Larry, Suzy and I have been wanting to go up on Mt. Lemmon ever since we settled down here in SE Arizona. As it is with a lot of people in a lot of places, we have never gone to our local attractions. Maybe we should move away, then come back and do the sightseeing routine???

  3. thats not a bad idea mt lemmon is a great place for people who want to get away from the heat we live in one of those cabins, great people who look out for eachother and very friendly