As we entered the area of Tucson in Arizona, we entered sunny hot desert with lots of cacti of all sorts. The area is especially famous for the Saguaro cactus, which can get around 150 years old and up to 50 feet (15m) high. They build their side arms after around 70 years only. Within Tucson Mountain Park (where our campground was) and Saguaro National Park, which are both surrounding the city of Tucson, you’ll find a lot of Saguaros and barren desert.
The town of Tucson itself seems little, small skyline and a modest shopping & dining area, although with all suburbs it grew up to 1 Mio people lately.
Most interesting is everything around Tucson, as for example the Santa Catalina Natural Area with Mount Lemmon at 9’000 feet (2’700 m.ü.M.). There is a stunning drive going up the hill, where you start with desert and the vegetation changes dramatically the higher you get until it looks like in Canada (or Wallis 😁) with forests. There’s even a ski area up there and they warn you of “snow removal equipment” – so surreal when you started your journey one hour before with hot 30 degrees celsius and desert around you.
Town of Tucson, AZ:
San Xavier Mission in Tucson:
an old Saguaro cactus
Santa Catalina Hills Drive up to Mount Lemmon:
Look at the interesting first picture below showing the vegetation change on that drive, the altitude above sea level and the distance from Tucson, where you’d find similar vegetation and the following two photographs picturing the vegetation change.
Start-Drive vegetation.. hot dusty desert with Saguaros
End-Drive vegetation.. forest with cold temperatures and a lovely smell of pine forest
And some views in between this drive:
not everyone stayed on the narrow curvaceous road
..and down again, we catched some amazing sunsets, which only deserts can deliver..
Next day, we went to see “Old Tucson”, which is just outside the real Tucson:
Old Tucson is an old outside film studio, where lots of American Western Films got filmed, with stars as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman. Newer films such as Wild Wild West were made partially here and the old soap Bonanza. A bit touristy, but still interesting and fun if you like Western Films (and definitively for kids, as you may do horse riding, see stuntmen, can-can shows, etc.).
Greetings from Three on the Road out of Old Tucson…
To not overload our Tucson blog, we separated the Saguaro National Park, one of the top surroundings of Tucson and will load that blog in the next days..