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Posts Tagged ‘Mount Lemmon’

Saturday evening view of the Bighorn Fire from my Tucson apartment balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis

I was born in Dallas, where tornadoes sometimes ravage the landscape, including a recent one near a granddaughter’s home as it rampaged through her neighborhood destroying quite a few homes and nearby businesses.

I lived for 15 years on The Texas Gulf Coast where I survived several hurricanes, including Carla in 1961, when our family had to evacuate the area and not return for over two weeks. We lost a freezer full of meat meant to feed the family for several months – and because of the stench, I trashed the freezer as well. The electrical power was off for weeks.

Another view of the fire in the Arizona Star.

For 25 years, I lived along the earthquake fault line of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, and although I never went through a major shake, I was bounced around a few times by shock waves. And I narrowly avoided a landslide in Sardine Canyon between Logan and Brigham City just a couple of months after I moved to Utah.

I’ve been stranded a few times by floods, and watched as rivers rose to destroy homes and land. In 1995, I enjoyed a camping trip from hell when a landslide took out the Zion Canyon Road in Zion National Park. Our group was snowed on, rained on, and had our tents blown down by the storm that hit the area.

Mother Nature can be cruel.

But I try to respect her while continuing to enjoy her bounties, which have given many delightful pleasures and much peace during my lifetime.

Sitting quietly by a rivulet of water as it gurgles its way down a mountain canyon, basking in the colorful shimmer of aspen leaves in fall, eating lunch behind a waterfall in Deer Creek Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, or hiking a bench trail on Mount Ogden have been just a tiny few nature activities that have kept me sane in an unsane world.

The road to the top of Mount Lemmon in a photo I took last year on a day trip is now closed. — Photo by Pat Bean

Even in today’s self-isolation environment I daily watch birds, and the ever-changing seasons of the landscape from my third-floor balconies. I often see the sun blossom from behind the mountains before I rise from my bed, and I try to be on my living room balcony to watch sunsets as they dazzlingly color the sky with yellow, gold, orange and red before disappearing below the horizon.

Such scenes lower my blood pressure.

But not the one I saw Saturday night from my bedroom balcony. A fire started by a lightning strike in the Catalina Mountains has now consumed nearly 60,000 acres and forced numerous evacuations of small mountain communities. And the news this morning noted that the fire has only been about 20 percent contained. Nearly 1,000 firefighters and plane-dropped retardants haven’t yet been able to match Mother Nature’s power.

Eventually, the landscape will recover and actually be richer because of the fire. But many people may not have the means to recover. And this is just a small pocket of the larger picture of what the coronavirus is doing to the world’s economy.

Let’s face it. Life is not fair. And the only control we have is how we react to it. My hope is that somewhere in the equation kindness and love will win out over the destructive forces of nature — and the harmful and hateful side of the human species.

Bean Pat: To all the firefighters and support crew working to contain the Bighorn Fire in the Catalina Mountains.

Silver Lining: Democrats and Republicans, in a rare bipartisan moment this past week, passed the Great American Outdoors Act to fund over $20 billion worth of delayed maintenance projects in America’s parks and public lands. I love this for two reasons, first because I love public lands and second because the two polarized political parties worked together. Hopefully, this unity will continue to foster things that are to the benefit of all Americans and not just benefit one party or the other.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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          Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind, and dance the mountains like a flame.” – William Butler Yeats

A rare view of Mount Lemmon with snow on its peaks. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Thoughts

I was in my early teens before I left the flatlands of Texas and saw my first mountain. It was love at first sight.

I suspect that love was one of the reasons I settled in Tucson for my retirement years, instead of in Texas where the majority of my children live and where I had planned to settle after my full-time RV-ing years.

One of the first things I see every morning, when I look off my bedroom balcony or while I’m walking my canine companion, Scamp, is Mount Lemmon. I live in its shadow, and just looking at it fills my heart with joy.

Mount Lemmon, at 9,159 feet, is the tallest one in the Santa Catalina Range. Its name is rare in that it honors a woman, botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon who hiked to its peak in1881.

It’s currently the monsoon season here in the Sonoran Desert, and while it’s been a dry one, the mountain still exudes a green patina at midday. In the early mornings, the rising sun casts shadows that define its nooks, crannies, and canyons. And in the evening, as the mountain reflects back the last rays of the sun, it takes on a rosy glow.

The mountain’s face is ever-changing, and I never tire of looking to my north.

Some people need to live by the sea, others in a forest. I need to live by a mountain. It steadies me and sings to my soul – and always lets me know which direction I’m facing

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: One of my favorite books is Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone. Sara Plummer Lemmon and Isabella Bird, who is the author of A Lady in the Rocky Mountains (also a favorite book) add notes to history showing women can match the mountains, too.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Parry's Agave. It's not a great photo, especial given the background, but I only had this view from below it's high perch. I'm so glad I could finally identify it. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Parry’s Agave. It’s not a great photo, especial given the background, but I only had this view from below its high perch. I’m so glad I could finally identify it. — Photo by Pat Bean

   “There are more truths in a good book than its author meant to put in it.”-Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Reading Let Me Name a Plant

During my recent road trip to the top of Mount Lemmon, I snapped a photo of a tall plant high on a cliff. I couldn’t see its base, just a slender stalk whose top was bedecked in candelabra fashion with clusters of green nodules. I wondered if it was a plant or a tree.

And this is what the plant looks like before it shoots up a stalk. -- Wikimedia photo

And this is what the plant looks like before it shoots up a stalk. — Wikimedia photo

This morning, as I was reading Richard Shelton’s Going Back to Bisbee – a fascinating book that is educating me about the landscape of my new home in the Sonoran Desert of Southeastern Arizona – I came across a perfect description of the plant, and learned that it was a Parry’s agave, an amazing cactus.

The one I saw was probably between 10 and 25 years old, and was in its final year of life, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it. The plant, for most of its life, is short and bowl-like. When it finally blooms, it sends all of its life forces into a stalk that quickly sprouts up to 20 feet tall, and sends out blossoms at the top. The one I saw hadn’t bloomed yet, but Shelton described the blossoms as “shallow bowls about half a foot across and filled with frothy pink ice cream.”

A few pages on in the book, Shelton wrote about the magic of names and naming, a skill which all good writers should possess. A tree is never just a tree it’s a live oak or a baobab, a dog is a Rottweiler or a poodle, and a bird is a robin or a golden eagle. Such naming provides better images in a reader’s mind. And being able to put a name to something, be it a tree, a mountain, or a plant, gives me joy. So thank you Richard Shelton for helping me learn the name of the plant that I photographed – and for writing such a fantastic book, which I’m slowly savoring.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The Methuselah Grove   http://tinyurl.com/hskgrcj Great Basin National Park, one of my favorite places.

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            “You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”  — Clay P. Bedford

Mount Lemmon from the Catalina Foothills. -- Wikimedia photo

Mount Lemmon from the Catalina Foothills. — Wikimedia photo

I Don’t Believe Curiosity Will Kill Me

          

Sara Plummer Lemmon -- Wikimedia photo

Sara Plummer Lemmon — Wikimedia photo

  Did you know that Mount Lemmon, the awesome 9,157-foot-tall mountain that has been my backyard landscape here in Tucson for the past year, is named after a woman?

I didn’t until this past week when I came across a plague on the Geology Wall at Tohono Chul Park.

After I got home, I did a bit of research on the mountain’s namesake, Sara Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923), and discovered that she was a botanist with several plants named in her honor.

Mount Lemmon was named for her because she was the first white woman to climb to its top, and along the way she discovered several plant varieties unique to the mountain.

While it's actually spelled a Spalding, it called a Spaldeen because that's how it is pronounced in the Bronx. Wikimedia photo

While it’s actually spelled a Spalding, it is called a Spaldeen because that’s how it is pronounced in the Bronx. Wikimedia photo

Do you know what a Spaldeen is? I didn’t until I came across the term in Annie Rachele Lanzillotto’s book, “L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir,” which I’m currently reading. Great book, by the way.

A Spaldeen, I learned, is a pink rubber ball commonly used to play stickball in the Bronx.  How did I live to my age and not know that, I wondered?

Both these discoveries fulfilled my goal of learning something new each and every day. In my book, a day without learning something new lacks soul.

As Eartha Kitt once said, “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The White Goose  http://tinyurl.com/ny5obkx Standing out in a crowd

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