Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuscon's Beauty

We drove up Catalina Highway, an amazing 25 mile drive through Tuscon's mountains. At the bottom, we passed through desert filled with saguaro cacti and ocotillo. It was in the 80s. We began to ascend, the cacti ended, and the temperature dropped. The views of Tuscon gave way to canyons, mountain valleys, and gorgeous rock formations.




Our guidebook suggests pulling over at some of the "nauseatingly vertiginous" overlooks:



This overlook was at about 8000 feet and called Windy Point, I believe. It was freezing--only 50 degrees up here! I put my new shawl around my shoulders, wrapped my arms around myself tightly, and tried desparately not to fall into the abyss. Although David and Son happily climbed around the overlook, I stood relatively near the road with all my muscles totally rigid. (I need a massage now!) Eventually, David made me spread my wings for a photo shoot.



We drove on, eventually reaching a forest of ponderosa pines and a small village for summertime retreat. Even though we were over a mile higher in elevation from where we started, there were no cliffs and I got a few minutes to breathe before we turned around and faced the open mountains again on the way down.

* * *

In the afternoon, we went to Signal Hill at the Saguaro National Park.

As we set out on the short hike, we were warned to look out for desert life. First heights, now monsters....



At the top of the hill were petroglyphs from long-ago inhabitants, the Hohokum:

While it seems from the petroglyphs that they may have had bicycles, they did not have sheep.




We ended the adventure by watching the sunset.


7 comments:

Kate A. said...

Those are some incredible pictures! Your shawl looks just right in that environment, but I'm with you - the one and only time I was in that part of the world, I also stayed rigidly next to our vehicle. That landscape is SO different from what I'm used to, at least, that I think the differentness added to my fear of heights...though it also added to the staggering beauty of it...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!

Mouse said...

I lived in New Mexico for a few years.. I guess they didn't have monsters over that far west!
We did however have plenty of scorpions.

FemiKnitMafia said...

Thanks for sharing these photos. It's great to follow your trip like this.

Bring on the monsters!

Kirsten said...

I love Tucson! DH and I have taken quite a few trips to AZ, we love to hike in the desert. What amazes me is the geological history. It makes human history seem so brief.

rebecca said...

I'm thinking those wheels might have been spinning wheels

Lolly said...

Such amazing pictures, H! I love the one with you and your "shawl wings"! Ah, I miss the West...

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