Feeling a bit homesick for Washington, we decided to spend a bit of time amongst the trees on Mount Lemmon (I know that sounds hippy-ish, but when you go from living in the very luscious, green state of Washington where almost everywhere you look is either an endless ocean or an endless ocean of fir trees to dry, desert-like Arizona… you’ll understand).
Mount Lemmon is always about 20° cooler than the rest of Tucson so we went on an easy 7 mile hike along the Butterfly Trail. Bits of the trail where REALLY dusty but it was surrounded by grass, ferns & green TREES. My calves ended up more brown than usual & my socks were no longer white when we got home.
Can you tell I’ve missed seeing REAL trees?
More trees! Definitely very sparse compared to Washington state but better than what’s in the city limits of Tucson! The sparseness is partially due to a huge wildfire that occurred several years back.
There were still remnants of desert life here and there (cacti).
We ended up going farther than where most people hike. We only ran into squirrels & lizards after a while.
This was our turn around point.
Had we known we were just a quarter of a mile away from an airplane crash site, we would’ve kept going. But we only learned about the site after the hike so we had no idea what could’ve been in store.
Apparently two F-86’s collided into each other back in 1957. They were part of an 11 plane formation headed back to the airbase here from Kirtland, NM. The two planes smacked into each other, both pilots ejected from each plane. One plane ended up here on the Butterfly trail, the other actually stabilized after the pilot bailed & ended up flying unmanned into New Mexico before it crashed into a rancher’s property. The pilots landed in very remote area and weren’t rescued until the following day (no one was killed).
The hike back was a little bit brutal since we were hauling ass & it was mostly uphill, the beginning being composed of steep switchbacks. All an all, what we thought to be a relaxing, leisurely, uneventful hike ended up being a very cool exploration.