LITTERED LEMMON: Took my three guys up Mt. Lemmon a couple of weekends back in order to throw snowballs and have a reason to fill a huge Thermos with Dunkin' D's hot chocolate and slop greasy powdered rings in the chocolaty stew.
We stopped at the Box Elder Picnic area, three miles shy of Summerhaven. There was adequate snow for therapy slamming snowballs, picnic tables and a restroom (for Mom, who can't make yellow designs in snow like guys).
We also found: a Snapple bottle cap, cigarette butts, a blue plastic notebook cover, twigs, a penny, a Wet Set repair kit, 12 paper plates, a Del Monte fruit cup can, a broken folding lawn chair, rocks, bubble wrap, orange peels, a plastic six-pack ring, a white plastic comb, charcoal briquettes, aluminum foil, wet cardboard, juniper trees, a Nordic Financial Corporation statement, Butterfinger wrappers, 22-ounce Mickey's Beer bottle, blue Clamato top, seedlings, Styrofoam cup pieces, lumber, masking tape, Libby's Potted Meat Food can, the November 22, 1994, section A of The Arizona Daily Star, plastic spoons, pistachio shells, burned jalapeños, a Cherry Coke can, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve bottle, tree stumps, purple string, plastic eyeglass lens, a pink paper napkin, black plastic trash bag, chicken bones, straws, Parade Magazine, a loud father, Mr. Pibb plastic bottle, "Eddie's" Cookie Survey homework sheet, 52-ounce ranch bean can, mica, Bartles & Jaymes Margarita bottle, Diet Coke can, greasy foil, pine needles, seven Bud Light bottle caps, Gordini leather boot tag, four Coors Light cans, turquoise hair clip, Café Mocha Carnation Instant Breakfast can, pine cones, yellow toilet paper, Southwest Supermarket bean kidney wrapper, melted plastic and a Prestone brake fluid can.
That doesn't include everything, of course; if you're into aluminum, it's a can goldmine up there. And the bathrooms were filled with everything from panties to pork loin packages.
What we didn't see were garbage cans. There isn't any county pickup for six winter months on the mountain, and even when there is, there are only four bear-proof dumpsters from top to bottom outside of large areas like Rose Canyon Lake, according to the Santa Catalina Ranger District. Bret Bush said mainly senior citizens and other nice folk help with the spring clean-up, which is usually a god-awful mess. When the snow melts, layers of garbage are revealed. And surprise--they're planning on more dumpsters, but there's no money around for the $700 containers right away. Damn bears.
But as partner in garbology and number one son said, "It's stupid to just throw your stuff around. Dad always says take home what you bring." Oh my God, they do listen.
So we hauled the kids down. We talked about a mountain with no people and no snowballs and no cans. We made up slogans Lady Bird Johnson would have appreciated, like "Love Your Mountain More" and "Only Buttheads and Penis Noo-Noos Litter."
The end-of-the-century litterbug has mutated and turned into one toxic insect. Get out the electric zappers, warriors.
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