Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalinas

From the reverse: "This new road, under construction by convict labor for several years, will cut in half the motoring distance to Tucson's chief summer retreat in the pine forests at the top of Mt. Lemmon. Even now a 30-minute drive in this direction affords a delightful outing; the return trip, with Tucson faintly discernible in the haze across the desert, is particularly interesting."

Tucson no longer shimmers in a mirage-like haze from the Catalinas; it flows up into the foot hills. This post card is about 60 years old. I've spent a lot of time in the Santa Catalina Mountains over the last couple years and, while they're modest as mountains go, having a mountain range and sky island for a neighbor is pretty fantastic.
Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, Arizona
From the reverse: "Tucson, Arizona to Mt. Lemmon - A scene in the Santa Catalina Mts., showing a portion of the highway from windy point. 30 miles from the Desert to the tall pines at an elevation of 8000 feet." 

While the mountains are often crowded near the roads and more popular trails, a quick hike even a couple miles into the back country changes all that. I've hiked for nearly a day without seeing anyone.  I was really excited to find these great postcards, particularly the first one because it describes the convict labor and puts Tucson's urban sprawl into perspective. I know people come to Tucson to see the desert, but if you're in town long enough, it's worth you while to take a drive up the Catalina Highway to see the canyons, rock formations, pine forests, and a fantastic views of the ever-growing city. Here are some shots I've taken from that road.
Lookout View
Dark Skies
Rock Formation

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