|Mount Lemmon Highway ascends the Santa Catalina Mountains above Tucson. It's one of the most scenic drives in the United States.|
A summary from my 2016 visit . . .
I toured the town via car and eventually drove over to the University of Arizona campus to have a look. It was a school I was tempted to apply to when I was graduating high school but decided it was not viable. The campus is mostly unremarkable except for a particularly dramatic green or common lined with palm trees. It looks like something more appropriate to Florida. They also have an interesting street car line that I didn't think to photograph. Other than that it is a pretty typical large university.
|Palms on the University of Arizona campus. It's a nice enough campus, but thoroughly urban in character, which I didn't really expect.|
By that point I had pretty much had enough of the city and was ready for some outdoor adventure and scenery. I went over to the Tucson Mountain County Park to view the saguaro cacti. This is an amazing park adjacent to the western division of Saguaro National Park in the small Tucson mountain range. Rain clouds were threatening but I never got more than a few sprinkles so my escape from the very, very long winter in Flagstaff was successful, and the clouds were lit from a low angle by a revealed sunset to create beautiful views of the mountains and desert. It was spectacular!
|Slopes of the Tucson Mountains under gathering cloud.|
|The view over a pass towards Tucson. Looks like it was raining in the distance. I recall a few sprinkles but it never rained properly on the park.|
|The Fantasy Island Trail System was full of these cholla "trees." It's not a good place to crash your mountain bike, but on the other hand it's very smooth and you are unlikely to crash there. Very fast trail.|
|Rattlesnake in the trail.|
|I stopped in Summerhaven at the end of the highway for some meatloaf at the small restaurant. The village has been threatened by wildfire several times in recent years and some houses have burned.|