Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feb. 16th--Scenic Drive

This 28 mile scenic drive winds through the Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. The road, General Hitchcock Highway, ascends to 8,000 feet at the summit of Mt. Lemmon. At the top is a small ski village. There are many stopping areas along the way to the top but as we got higher several were closed due to snow. The drive was so beautiful the pictures really do not do it justice. The vegetation changes as the elevation rises. The above picture shows the lowland desert with the giant saguaro cactus. The line in the middle of the picture is the road that brings you to the base of the mountain where the drive begins.
This is how the road winds around and is cut along the mountains.

Again the road as it winds up the mountain.
One of the scenic overlooks.

Notice that the vegetation changed as we got further up. The mountains were covered with pine trees.
This is the San Pedro Valley overlook.
These houses were built almost at the top on the side of the mountains. We saw many and they were not small inexpensive homes! These are actually used more as summer homes. The people use them to escape from the 120 degree summers in the desert.
About 3 years ago there was a forest fire and you can see were the timber was burned.
More road cut along the side of the mountain.
This overlooks the city of Tucson as we were coming back down the road. I really enjoyed this drive it was so beautiful. Of course it was a sunny 70 degree day and the sun shining on the scenery contributed to it's beauty.

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