Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mt Lemmons, Tucson, AZ

DSCN8708It was great to see Peggy again.  We had been park host with her in the valley at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park.  Peggy is a great photographer and loves birding so we learned a lot from her.  She is park hosting at Kartchner Caverns State Park this year, which was just up the mountain from us at Butterfield in Bensen, AZ.  She came an met us at Butterfield and took us out to see some sights.  We went to Mt. Lemmons, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 m), is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains located in the Coronado National Forest just north of Tucson. 

It was simply a magnificent drive with wonderful views. It is known for the Saguaro Cactus that grow everywhere.  As we drove up the mountain we noticed that the saguaro disappear at about 5000 - 6000 feet elevation.  Here are some interesting fact I found about them in trying to learn more as they are interesting.

DSCN8697Saguaros grow naturally only in a small part of Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert.

The saguaro is the largest cactus in the world.

 

It is estimated that saguaros can live on average 150-20DSCN87000 years. The record is held by a giant saguaro with 50 arms found at the Saguaro National Monument.

The flower of the cactus is Arizona’s state flower.

The stem of the saguaro measures between 18 and 24 inches.

DSCN8703The saguaro cactus will have holes cut out by birds. These holes were used by native Americans as water containers.

The saguaro’s roots are just 4-6 inch deep. There is only one root that goes under the ground 2 feet deep.

The cactus’s arm grows only when it is 70 years old.

The saguaro flower has one of the most powerful fragrances. TheDSCN8706 flowers only open up at night and it closes during the day.

The flowers appear on the saguaro when the cactus is 35 years old.

The cactus is considered adult when it is 125 years only.

The saguaro is one of the heaviest plants. Because it consists of water mainly, an adult saguaro can weigh up to 8 tons.

As we traveled up further the landscape changed with less vegetation and then changed again with spruce trees and then changed again to rocks.  We only went up about 7000 feet before it just got to cold and with the wind and some sleet we decided to come back.  Elevation is about 9200 feet and at the top is a small town and a skiing area. 

The views looking back over the valley was wonderful and really pictures cannot tell you the beauty that is there.  Here are other pictures of different parts of the mountain. 

Once we got down the mountain we went into Tucson for lunch and a drive around Tucson.  She took up by the bone yard of Air Force planes for just a taste and now I have to get back so we can go through the bone yards.  Just driving by has me excited to go back to see them. 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to say goodbye to 2014 and to start looking forward to 2015 . . . ..