We set out for Mt. Lemmon at about 6 A.M. and at the last minute I decided to take the scenic route through Tucson Mt. Park and head over Gates Pass. As we were traveling on Gates Pass Road I spotted this Desert Tortoise trying to cross the road. As I was barely able to miss it myself and the car behind me probably never even saw it I decided to stop and get it out of harms way.
Desert Tortoise populations have plummeted 90% since the 80's and it is illegal to touch, harm, harass or bother these rare creatures. I quickly turned it around and deposited it 3 feet from the road and it headed back into the desert. Gates Pass Road is a relatively busy road on a Saturday morning and I doubt if he/she could have made it all the way across without bring hit. This was a tough decision for me as I usually am reticent to interfere with wildlife but this was a case of allowing an endangered species to be killed by man or taking action. I made the right decision.
We went on to Mt. Lemmon to photograph the fall foliage and there were lots of little creatures to enjoy on the way up the Mt.
This Canyon Wren was very entertaining and didn't seem to concerned by my presence.
We encountered a family of Acorn Woodpeckers who were feeding on the side of this Ponderosa Pine. There were a total of three but they never all got in the same picture.
We stopped along the road and climbed up a hill to get a better view of the area which was littered with boulders everywhere.
Future generations of Ponderosa Pines.
A new beginning. It is also the end of my picture taking as I broke my camera and it is now in the shop at least until Tuesday. I was very upset as the foliage above this point was really exquisite and I had to turn around and drive the 40 miles home without the pictures I came to get. We are going back this morning with my little Canon Powershot to get foliage shots to share here and even though they will not be what I had hoped for they will show that even in the middle of the desert there are changes in the seasons.