Besides paying another visit to east “Rincon Unit” of Saguaro National Park, I wanted to take 2 drives up into the mountains behind Tucson. The first was a 4-wheel drive route called Redington Road. There were some pretty Mexican poppies in bloom and even a bud forming on a prickly pear cactus:
One rather disturbing site driving back down the mountain was the numerous groups of Tucsonians parked along the side of the road shooting their guns into the hillside. Yes, I know, guns are commonplace out here in the West and they certainly can’t be doing target practice on the city streets below. But, still a bit unnerving to see some couples taking their small children out for some shotgun fun.:
There was still a few hours of daylight left when I got back down into Tucson, so I decided to go ahead and do the more famous paved mountain drive only a few miles away.
The Catalina Highway (aka the “Drive to Mt. Lemmon”) takes you from the arid saguaro cactus Tucson foothills up beyond the snow line above 8000 feet in less than an hour’s drive. It was a fabulous way to quickly cool off from afternoon heat that had now climbed well into the 80’s.
As great and diverse as the drive up the mountain was, the drive coming back down was nothing short of spectacular. I couldn’t have planned better timing or sky colors when I arrived at Windy Point Vista just as the sun was setting. It was absolutely breathtaking!
As soon as the sun set, I raced back down the mountain remembering a vista that overlooked the city of Tucson. I was hoping to get down there in time for some sky color just as the city lights were starting to appear.
As you can see by the first photo at the top of this post, I lucked out and even found a good vantage point behind a saguaro cactus! What a great day!