Fred and I drove up to Mt. Lemmon yesterday.  Mt. Lemmon is  the highest peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains,  with an elevation of over 9,000 feet. The mountain is named after 19th Century botanist Sara Lemmon.   During the winter, it offers the southern most ski resort in North America.  During the summer, it offers temperatures typically about 20 degrees cooler than Tucson’s.  As it was another scorcher of a week, we thought it would be a nice day trip.  About one third of the way up, the saguaro cacti disappear and are eventually replaced by Ponderosa Pine trees!  I believe there are about seven different climate zones on the way up.

Ten years ago next year, much of Mt. Lemmon and its residential community of Summerhaven, were destroyed by the Aspen fire.  We happened to be in Tucson that 4th of July weekend and experienced the smoke and floating pieces of soot in the air, and could see the orange glow of the fire at night,  one ridge-line away from our house.  In fact, we were evacuated two of the five nights we were here.   A bright orange ” Sheriff’s Order” sticker posted on our front door greeted us when we arrived.  Turns out they cannot legally make you leave, but it’s a frightening enough to encourage all but the most foolhardy to “vamoos”.

Here are some of the photos I took:

Here is a sign when you have almost reached Mt. Lemmon

Here is what Mt. Lemmon should look like (and thankfully much of it still does)

Almost ten years since the fire, and much of the damage remains

This sign says it all