While a record-breaking 2.9 million travelers were screened at U.S. airports this past Friday, many Tucsonans opted for a more serene Memorial Day experience at Mount Lemmon.

Despite fewer visitors compared to previous years, the mountain still hosted numerous families enjoying picnics, hiking and stargazing.

Pete Krauss, a dedicated volunteer at Mount Lemmon, noted the unexpectedly sparse turnout. Its pretty quiet, Krauss said. I expected big crowds but theres parking places all over the place.

Krauss attributed the lower numbers to the relatively mild temperatures in Tucson this season. He added, It hasnt hit a hundred in Tucson yet, so I guess theyre waiting for that.

Among those who chose the peaceful retreat was Pedro Valenzuela, who brought his telescope to share views of solar flares with fellow visitors. Valenzuela emphasized the significance of the day, stating, We have to stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before us, for they made the real sacrifices.

Neda Nazarabad, a behavioral analyst, also found solace in nature with her family. I think its a necessity for human beings to be in nature, she shared, highlighting the restorative benefits of the great outdoors.

Krauss reflected on the days importance, saying, We dont have any memorials up here exactly, Krauss said. But we can certainly think about it and be happy with the freedoms that not everybody has.

While Mount Lemmon provided a tranquil setting to honor Memorial Day, the U.S. Forest Service issued a high fire risk warning. Visitors were advised to ensure campfires are fully extinguished and to carry extra water to prevent any potential fires.