Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mount Lemmon Getaway

From our bedroom window.

From the top of the ski lift.

A phone with a dial tone. How quaint.

The new visitor center.


The Cookie Cabin.

The bedroom in the morning.

We were given a truly thoughtful wedding present, a gift certificate to a cabin on Mount Lemmon. We hadn't used it yet, and I didn't want it to expire, so last weekend we went to the The Mt. Lemmon Getaway.

In tiny Summerhaven, about 1/2 a mile from The Mt. Lemmon Cafe, is a cabin of two units, an upper and a lower. We stayed in the lower. (The exhibitionist lesbians stayed in the upper).

Now I dunno what you think when you think cabin, but I would call the place a sort of shabby house, with cabiny touches. Even so, those touches made the place special, specifically the Franklin fireplace and the magnificent deck. Imagine the setting: cool mountain air, a rushing crick, sunny days, piney solitude (Thanks for the term, Keith)...

With the The Mt. Lemmon Cafe, The Cookie Cabin, and the Iron Door Restaurant all within walking distance, we were able to get away with another one of our trademark "hasty road trips". (It's not that we didn't plan, it's just that we didn't execute all the plans, such as going to the supermarket.) We didn't pack hardly any food but the gamble paid off. We got the last pizza of the day from The Cookie Cabin, took it home and made a fire. Andrew watched Dirty Jobs while I read Gayatri Spivak. Que romantico, eh?

The cabin is on Turkey Run Road, which ends in a riparian corridor of Upper Sabino Canyon closed for restoration. The road becomes a hiking trail which, if followed stubbornly for an hour - like Andrew, Frida and I did - goes all the way to the top of the Ski Valley Ski Lift. I appreciated the trail and the workout, but I wouldn't call the trail a hiker's delight or anything because it was too rowdy (with all the ski lift riders: in this case, a slew of horny teenagers) to warrant the ass-kicking incline for as long as we did it. (Recommendation: trusty standby Aspen Trail never disappoints).

After we hiked from the cabin to the top of the ski lift, we walked all the way down the road to the Mt. Lemmon Cafe where I had a Reuben and Andrew had a cheeseburger. They were super busy but it was so satisfying.

Two of our friends and their dog/child came to play with us and our dog/child. We went to dinner at the Iron Door. It was sorta lame, except for the hummingbird feeders. Just stick your head out by one of the feeders on the porch and they will whiz past your face so boldly I dare you to stand still. But do it. Seeing a hummingbird hovering inches from your nose in mid flight is celestial. After that we went back to the cabin, hung out on the porch and ate fudge from the Mount Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop. Try the peanut butter chocolate fudge. So good...

We took turns trying to build a fire that initially would not start because of wet wood, but finally ended up so huge and hot that we opened the doors and windows just to cool off. I thought we were going to burn the cabin down. It was fun.

The lower unit has a kitchenette, a full bath, a fairly comfy bed, a sofa sleeper, a TV and a propane grill but you have to take your own towels and bedding, wash your own dishes and pack your own trash. If you're squeamish about bugs, this is not the place for you. It smells funny in the bathroom. It's $125.00 per night and there's a two night minimum. But as far as getaways go, Mount Lemmon is the most radically different environment you can get to in one hour from central Tucson. It's cool, quiet, verdant, secluded and beautiful while central Tucson is hot, noisy, dusty, congested and beautiful. It's a great retreat.


Andy said...

1) Piney solitude is a great term
2) The "piney solitude" is the selling point of the cabin. Because, as you mention, it seems like without the wilderness the "cabin" could double for a house decorated in flannel. But then again, maybe the main selling point of any cabin is the wilderness, and not the cabin en sí.
3) The $125 per night would be a steep but acceptable price for me if it wasn't for the 2 night minimum!!! Since it's not a one-night get-away, it is a no-can-do-for-me get-away. Sigh. And I was anticipating some good piney solitude.

Eva said...

Hey, but don't forget that the cabin sleeps four. Wouldn't it be great if four of us fine ladies of academia went back for a study/hiking/eating retreat some time this semester? That would break the cabin cost down to 63$/person.

Anonymous said...

who doesn't love piney solitude? huffing pinsol in a closet is getting old, perhaps its time to head up the mountain.


Anonymous said...

perhaps the bathroom could have used a tad more piney solitude. sounds like a fun outing regardless of the indoor scents.