Thursday, March 1, 2012

Island in the sky

Today we explored the beautiful Sky Island Scenic Byway, a 28-mile road in the Santa Catalina Mountains and that starts just north of Tucson.  The terrain is like a trip from Mexico to Canada, with vegetation ranging from cactus at the beginning to pine, fir and spruce trees at the top -- plus a ski resort.    Along the way were dozens of picnic areas, scenic view points, campgrounds and hiking trails.  Jim had hiked a few of the trails when I was in Ohio, so he was a great tour guide.  At the summit was Mt. Lemon Ski Valley, the southernmost ski resort in the United States (if you don’t count Hawaii, which I read has some skiing.) The ski resort was started during World War II by a group of skiers including novelist and adventurer Lowell Thomas.  We had lunch at the nearby Iron Door restaurant.  It was a very scenic day.
Saguaro near the beginning of the scenic byway.
Cooper playing in the water at the Babad Do'ag Vista, which is Tohono O'odham (the local Indian tribe) for "Frog Mountain."
Pine trees near the top.
Mt. Lemon Ski Valley.

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