Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ski Tucson???

What a beautiful day this has been! It's a brand, spankin', new year - the sky was clear and blue - the temps were in the 70's here in Tucson - and we decided to take a drive up into the mountains! I've long been 'dropping hints' (aka: whining) that I had not been to the top of Mt. Lemmon (our nearest, highest, peak - roughly a 40 mile drive from home) ever. Today was the day! The it was warm enough here, at the house, to lay out in the sun - but it wasn't long after we made our climb up the Highway that we started seeing snow on the side of the road. First a bit of snow dusting in the shadowed areas, then a bit more, until we were in the midst of a wintry wonderland! Since it was a holiday, many of the locals decided to make the same trip we did; enjoying the snow, sledding, building snowmen, and having snowball fights that spanned the road! The drive to Summerhaven (the town at the top of Mt. Lemmon) is breathtakingly beautiful as it is - overlooking the entire Tucson valley area, as well as looking out over the surrounding Rincon, Tucson, and Santa Rita mountains. Now, add snow to that scene and it was just perfect! And,yes, you CAN ski Tucson! Next to Summerhaven is one of the southernmost ski resorts in the Continental US - Ski Valley. They have some very challenging ski runs, as well as plenty to offer the mediocre and beginning skiers. We did not ski, today... I'm still hopeful! There is also a sweet little German-style chalet, restaurant at the ski resort - the Iron Door. The focal point of the seating area is a very large fireplace that they seem to use to heat the entire restaurant (nice fire going all the time). They specialize mostly in sandwiches, which come with German potato salad and red, cooked, cabbage. It was a tasty lunch, and we enjoyed our time there before going to explore Summerhaven a bit. Summerhaven is a beautiful little town, complete with a gift shop, fudge shop, cookie shop, and general store. We picked up a few things in the gift shop before heading down the mountain to enjoy the sunset. Stopping at a few scenic vistas on the way down the mountain, we stayed the longest at the Thimble Rock vista where Dean did a series of pictures of the sun setting over Kitt Peak, in the distance. He will present those pictures at another time - he said that it was "my turn" to blog today. Coming back down the mountain it was interesting to see that many of the visitors to the top load their cars up with snow so that when they arrive back in Tucson they can drive around with snow on top of their cars. We even saw a group who were kidnapping a snow man to bring home! It's a different world at the top of the cactus; Ponderosa Pines oversee the terrain, bear crossing signs, deer crossing signs, and at this time of year - SNOW, GLORIOUS SNOW!!!

1 comment:

Shannon and Alex said...

I remember once visiting Phoenix with my dad and we ended up having a snowball fight up in the mountains - both of us in short sleeves.
I loved the kidnapped snowman!