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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The great outdoors

Graphic+by+Emily+Gauci

Graphic by Emily Gauci

The reopening of Mount Lemmon’s most popular campground on Friday marked the beginning of the summer camping season for Tucsonans.

“In the summer, when it warms up, people like to recreate in the higher elevations where it’s cooler, to get out of the desert heat,” said Heidi Schewel, public affairs specialist for the Coronado National Forest.

Rose Canyon Campground, which opened Friday, has 72 campsites with drinking water available and is at an elevation of 7,200 feet.

Schewel said Rose Canyon Campground is the most popular of the summer campsites, which is why it is the first to be reopened.

Whitetail Campground and Showers Point Group Campground are both camping sites that can accommodate groups of campers and will reopen for the summer on Friday.

Schewel said Spencer Canyon Campground is also popular during the summer camping season. She added that Spencer Canyon Campground is at an elevation of 7,800 feet and is the highest developed campground on Mount Lemmon. Due to its higher elevation, Schewel said the weather is still pretty cold up there, and as a result, the campground will reopen on or around April 17.

Schewel said it is important to prepare for mountain weather when camping on Mount Lemmon.

“It’s quite a bit cooler up there at night than it is down here,” Schewel said, “so take warm bedding and clothing.”

Schewel added that it is also important to take precautions in order to prevent interactions with black bears.

“There are bear-proof food and trash receptacles at most of the developed campsites,” Schewel said. “It’s really important to lock up food and trash in those receptacles, and if those receptacles are not available if you are camping in areas with no facilities, then [campers] would want to cover those [items] and lock them in their car. Keep a clean campsite, and don’t take scented materials into tents at night — that includes toothpastes, lotions and clothing that was used to cook in.”

Kyle Fisher, a sophomore studying psychology and criminal justice studies, said he is excited for the campgrounds to reopen this year.

“I try to go up Mount Lemmon every chance I get to admire the beauty of Tucson,” Fisher said. “My absolute favorite part is looking up at the sky to see how clear all the stars are. It’s mind-boggling.”

Fisher said the last time he went camping on Mount Lemmon, he was with SOPHOS Sophomore Honorary, an Associated Students of the University of Arizona club.

“I think my favorite memory from that trip was doing an activity called ‘star tipping,’” Fisher said. “You focus on one star, spin around for 30 seconds really fast; while still looking at it, someone shines a light in your eyes, and you fall down laughing. It’s the funniest thing in existence and because it’s so clear up there, Mount Lemmon is a great place to do it.”

Alex Schwartz, assistant director for Outdoor Adventures, said Outdoor Adventures hosts rock climbing, wilderness yoga and hiking trips on Mount Lemmon. He said there will be a yoga trip on April 26, and a rock climbing trip on May 3, as well as other trips over the summer.

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Follow Brandi Walker on Twitter.

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