While we've been very happy with our membership with the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, we decided that we wanted to branch out and check out another local garden, a bit more out of town. We certainly weren't disappointed.
Boyce Arboretum is due East of where we are, about 40 minutes away. We were struck by how much is was like just going on a hike, with the benefit of perfectly planted surroundings and beautifully maintained trails.
We were thankful for the beautiful weather (especially compared to our 100+ temps this week).
There were a lot in bloom, including some poppies.
What we most enjoyed, though, was how everything was nestled beneath these huge stone walls. It certainly felt like the ideal of what you'd imagine as the wild west.
Of course, there were more blooming cacti, which are just wonderful. I came into living in the desert more or less hating cacti, but I can't help but feel some affection for them when I can see how pretty they can become.
Ed, being Ed, wanted to go off down some of the more narrow paths and explore.
This trip also encouraged our budding appreciation for golden barrel cacti (so much so that we now have two of our very own!).
What I am most impressed with, with desert plants, is their verticality. The height that so many gain when in bloom is astounding.
In search of narrow trails, we soon found another that fit the bill, the "high trail" that was up above the park. We'd seen others hiking, and sought it out for ourselves.
It did not disappoint.
Finally, I got to have a trail experience that I'm familiar with. Beautiful and accessible single track.
We were up high above a creek bed that did even have a little water in it, once we got further up.
Once we crossed over the creek, we began heading back up again.
I thought these signs were super cute for restricted areas!
I could not get over the perfectly groomed nature of this trail. Why can't they do this in other places in Arizona?
As we headed back into the main part of the park, we got to see some more pretty blooms.
The classically funny Beduoin (sp?) tree.
More lovely barrel cacti.
As we were headed back, we were very excited to spot an unusually exciting creature.
A Gila Monster!
He headed into hiding pretty quick, but was pretty awesome to see. Funny that we still haven't seen a rattlesnake or scorpion since we've moved, but we've seen a gila monster.
By this point, it was definitely warming up, so we decided to end our visit, even though there was still so much more to see.