New Year's Day crowds clog Mount Lemmon - Tucson News Now

New Year's Day crowds clog Mount Lemmon

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It was no mystery why scores of drivers waited in line to head up Mount Lemmon on Tuesday.

"To see snow," Kayla Becwar said from behind the wheel, just as her turn came to drive up Catalina Highway Tuesday afternoon.

Other cars returned from the top with loads of snow to bring home, which is what Matthew Frey and his friends also planned to do as they hopped in a pickup truck bound for the mountain top.

"(We'll) probably play in the snow and throw some in the back, they've got some family, some real little kids that aren't going to be able to make it up this year, so they're going to go ahead and bring a little bit back to them," Frey said.

"Parking was a mess," said Myra, a cross-country skier who had just returned from Mount Bigelow.

She saw why the sheriff's department was controlling access to the mountain: so many people want to be there that getting around could be difficult.  And the crowds posed a risk for first responders who needed to reach an emergency.

"A lot of families, both cars are parked on both sides of the road and so the road is narrower, there's not shoulder because of that and the other thing is you have kids on sleds coming right down to the road," she said.

"We're just going to go with the flow and hope for the best," Frey said.

As night fell, the traffic cleared. But the sheriff's department still warned drivers about ice forming on the road in cold temperatures.

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