Monday, March 17 through Saturday, March 22
One of the richest parts of the vast Sonoran Desert occurs around Tucson and to the southeast. Using Tucson as a base, we'll explore the rich variety of desert plants including the giant saguaro, organ pipe cactus, palo verde, chain prickly pear, agaves, nolinas, and much more. We'll make a transect to the top of Mt. Lemmon, passing through most of the zones of North American vegetation in the process and ending in Douglas fir-pine forest. We'll then visit the "Island in the Sky": the Chiricahua Mountains.
The tour will start with a flight to Tucson, accommodations in Tucson and El Portal, and hikes and excursions into the desert including the famed Desert Museum.
DATES: Monday, March 17 through Saturday, March 22 (week before Easter).
COST: $875.00 Members --$925.00 non/members (Includes $150.00 Contribution to SFBG)
(Cost does not include airfare, lodging and meals for first 2 nights; Does include lodging and meals for 3 nights at Portal Peak Lodge, van travel.)
ITINERARY AND ACCOMMODATIONS:
Monday, March 17. Arrive in Tucson in late morning or very early afternoon. Car rentals from airport. Visit the Desert Museum until closing time if possible. Dinner and drive to Tucson motel. Suggested motels: either Ramada Inn Foothills (520.866.9595) Price $129-$159 or Best Western Tanque Verde Inn (520.298.2300) Price $108- $125.
Tuesday, March 18. All-day drive up Mt. Lemmon to see the different vegetation zones starting in the so-called Lower Sonoran and ascending into the Hudsonian zone at the top of the mountain. Overnight at the same motel.
Wednesday, March 19. Local morning walk in the Tucson foothills; afternoon drive to Portal at the entrance to Cave Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains. Overnight in Portal.
Thursday, March 20. All day hike in Cave Creek Area through mixed woodlands, cypress forest, pine forest, chaparral, and high desert. Overnight in Portal.
Friday, March 21. Early morning departure for Chiricahua National Monument for a car tour and hike in the spectacular rock formations. Overnight in Portal.
Saturday, March 22. After a morning walk around Cave Creek, we’ll depart for Tucson, stopping midway en route to visit a museum. Afternoon flight home from Tucson.