From 90 to 58 to 103 Fahrenheit (32 to 14 to 40 Celsius)!
After working a few hours in the morning we leave the hotel in Tucson at about 10:30, drive all the way back through East Tucson (where we were looking at hotels last night) and from there continue out of town up to Mount Lemmon.
We see from far that the top of the mountain is hidden in thick black clouds, but decide to still drive up and see if there is anything to be seen. At first it’s desert vegetation and the further up we get the more trees mingle in. Once we are up at around 6,000 feet (2,000 Meter) we drive through forest, lots of trees and all green and – it’s raining. We are in the middle of the rain cloud and have to observe the beauty of the landscape from the car. The temperature drops from 90 (32) down in Tucson to 58 (14). The highest point we reach is over 8,000 feet (2,400 Meter) – We can only imagine how nice it must be to come up here and do some hiking! But, at least we see a deer.
So, without further stops, we continue down the back of the mountain on a 31 mile long gravel road. We are glad to find the road in good condition despite the rain and with diminishing elevation we soon are out of the rainclouds and can enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The vegetation here is a fascinating mix of green grass, bushes and lots of different cactuses, some of them still blooming – and amidst them cows and horses grazing on the juicy greens. On the way down the temperatures start climbing up again and when we drive towards Phoenix they reach a whooping 103 Fahrenheit! Reason enough to stop at McDonald’s for an ice cream cone and an iced mixed berry smoothy.
We tell our navigation system to direct us to the hotel in Tempe we stayed in October last year (the Sleep Inn) and after checking in we go for dinner at the Thai Elephant 2 miles down University Drive. The room is clean and cool, dinner was delicious and Mount Lemmon certainly is worth another trip when the weather is better.