02 April 2013

20 in my 20th: #12 Summerhaven!

12. Go to Summerhaven at the top of Mt. Lemon, ride the ski-lift.
I did this just over a year ago! Spring is in full swing in Tucson around this time of year and it's wonderful. Down here on the desert floor its warm and breezy during the day (usually anywhere from 70-90 degrees) and slightly cool and mild at night, just enough for you to want a light cardigan. It also smells like honeysuckle all the time which is wonderful. That's going to go away soon I'm sure so I'm loving it while it lasts!

Tuscon is surrounded by big beautiful mountains, many of which are full of hiking trails, swimming holes, and campsites. Mt. Lemmon is the most popular mountain as it's the tallest point in the Santa Catalina mountains and has a tiny little town (Summerhaven) and the Mount Lemmon Ski Valley at the top. It happens to be the southernmost ski location in all of the continental United States, so that's pretty cool.Way up at the top of Mt Lemmon it's still pretty brisk and chilly, and there's even still snow on the ground. It warms up during summer but remains pretty mild- a stark contrast from the sweltering dessert heat. Hence the name 'Summerhaven'.

I have nice memories of visiting the Snow Bowl in Flagstaff with my Dad (where he and I went skiing last month) during fall and riding the ski lift. There was no snow at that time, but it was fun just to be up in the air and look at all the colorful changing leaves. Afterwards we got cups of gumbo soup in the ski restaurant. This memory, along with my curiosity and desire to get a mini vacation from the warm weather inspired me to visit Summerhaven and ride the ski lift up there. It's a decent drive up the mountain (about 45 mins-hr) so Colton and I made a day trip out of it last spring.

It was really fun! Except that between the time that I was 9 or 10, riding the ski lift, and when I was 20 life things happened and apparently I developed a fear of heights. That I didn't really realize I had until I was up in the air. So that was fun. I tried to distract myself by taking photos and trying not to imagine crashing to the frozen-solid snow and rocks 30 feet below me.

All these little shops (aside from the informational one where you buy lift tickets) were closed when we went. I bet in winter when there's lots of fresh snow they're really fun to check out!

pretty view from the top

this is windy point, a lookout spot about half way up the mountain that people like to check out and climb around. Great views of the desert below from here!

I didn't take any pics of Summerhaven sadly, but there wasn't much to it aside from some reaaaally nice cabins and a general store. Pretty cute though! Looked a lot like the neighborhood you drive through right before you get to Frog Falls, Prescott people.

Even though the ski lift ride induced more anxiety than I was expecting, it was a fun day trip and a nice chance to get out of the desert for a bit. Maybe next winter I'll try out some actual skiing, now that I kind of know how (22 in 22? maybe!)


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