Thursday, January 17, 2013

Goodbye Desert Trails

January 18, 2013:

Winter now seems to be over, it went out with bang on the 15th with a Tucson record low of 17 degrees.  That was a good test for the heating system of the RV, at 17 degrees the heater had to run about 70% of the time to maintain an interior temperature of 65 degrees.  I really don't expect or want to be anywhere colder than this.

I took advantage of the cold spell to go skiing at Mt. Lemmon on the 14th.  I was more into driving up the Catalina Highway (about an hour) from Tucson at 2,500 ft. elevation to Mt. Lemon at 9,100 ft. elevation than the actual skiing.  It is a incredible highway with scenic vistas everywhere and takes you through several climate and vegetation zones along the way.  The outside temperature indicator on the truck dropped to 11 degrees by the time I reached the top, the ski shop said it was 3 degrees at the summit.  The ski area is small and sort of dated, kind of like something from the 1955, one old slow lift to the summit, the bathrooms are cold Porta-Johns outside in the parking lot, no apres-ski events here !  What they do have though is real natural snow, altitude, great summit views and good ski terrain.  It is the southern most ski area in North America and it truly is a place where you can golf or go swimming in the morning in Tucson and then go skiing in the afternoon.

I took a hike behind the campground to the "Mines" area.  This is an area about 2 miles behind the campground where there are several old small mines.  The mines are either sealed shut or have fences around them with warning signs.  Old prospector's have roamed every inch of this area back in the day and these small mines are all over.  I expect they are from the early 1900's or even earlier.  I am always looking around for some old treasure, so far no luck.  

It was another outstanding concert at Desert Trail from Johhny Bencomo on Tuesday evening.  This guy is the real deal, a real singing cowboy, incredible 12 and 16 string guitar player with an equally great voice, great stories, with a huge repetoire of old country, cowboy, and mexican songs.  It is always amazing to me when I see people like him who are virtually unknown, but are so good, better that the stars. 

We went to Biosphere with a couple of friends from the campground today, we had a great guided tour and learned lots of interesting environmental facts. This was an amazing project that continues on as a research project now under the University of Arizona.

This extended stay at Desert Trails has been wonderful, most likely be back next winter, lots of new friends, but we must ramble on, stay tuned for more exciting travels.

Macro photo of Saguaro cactus

Snake skeleton on Saguaro arm

Catalina Highway to Mt. Lemmon

View from Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley

View form Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley

View from the Catalina Highway

View from the chair lift


Mine entrance



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