The Catalinas

This morning started simply enough. Michael wanted to get some fixative for one of his chalk works and I wanted to pick up some silk greenery to go in the vase on the kitchen table so off we went to Michael's up the street.

After looking around in there for a while we decided to have lunch at one of our new favorite spots - Chuy's. They have very good food in a relaxed atmosphere and the prices are pretty good too. While eating we decided since it was such a nice day (about 75 at the time) we should go for a drive. Michael suggested we drive up to Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains.

After figuring out which road to take out of town and into the mountains we headed up, and up, and up. The views were beautiful covering everything from desert to grassland to rock and finally alpine forest.

Around 5000 ft the scenery gives way to pines and patches of snow while the temperature steadily drops with almost every curve in the road. We saw lovely views of the valleys and eventually found ourselves at the little town of Summerhaven perched around 8000 ft. When we arrived there the temperature was in the 40's!

Summerhaven sports a general store and gift shop along with very handy restrooms after the 24 mile drive up the mountains! They also have a small cafe but since we'd already eaten in Tucson we didn't try it out.

Ponderosa pines forest the upper elevations of the mountains reminding you that although surrounded by desert these are still part of the Rockies. Mount Lemmon is also the southernmost ski resort in the nation and usually has snow through April.

On the way back down the mountain we stopped several times to take in the scenery. The views are magnificent and there is still quite a lot of snow in the higher elevations. You can check out some of the photos we shot at our Picasa Gallery.

At one point we stopped into a visitor center for the Coronado National Forest and met the ranger there who also happens to be an artist. Some of her watercolors were available at the gift shop.

We got back to Tucson around 4:30 to temperatures still in the upper 70's and news tonight that Michael's niece, Lori, has given birth to her son! His name is Julian James and he weighed in at 5 pounds 15 ounces. (Lori is very petite!)

Our next "scheduled" activity is a baseball game. We've got tickets to a Spring Training game between the Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres on the 18th. After that we'll head back up to Prescott Valley for a couple days for Peter's birthday and to visit Lori, Robert and little Julian.