Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park – May 12, 2018

I headed out of Phoenix early to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park on Highway 60 just 3 miles outside of Superior, AZ. From Phoneix, it is a 67-mile drive…. an easy hour drive. With temperatures already reaching 90-100 degrees during mid-day I wanted to get there early when it was going to be cooler. Two years ago when I was in and around Phoneix in February the cacti were not in bloom, so now that I am in Phoenix for a while I wanted to be sure I got a chance to see them. I had heard and read about the arboretum and wanted to make a visit here and thought it would be a great opportunity to see and experience all kinds of different plant life and blooming cacti as well as a little trail hiking. Boyce Arboretum did not disappoint me.

Entrance fees are reasonable $12.50 for adults 13 or older, $5.00 for children 5-12 and children 4 and under are free. The arboretum hours from October to April are 8 am – 5 pm with no entry after 4 pm. May to September hours are 6 am to 3 pm with no entry after 2 pm.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona. It was founded in 1924 as a desert plant research facility and “living museum” by William Boyce Thompson, a mining engineer who made his fortune in the mining industry. Boyce was fascinated with the landscape around Superior, so he built a winter home overlooking Queen Creek and beneath the towering volcanic remnant……Picketpost Mountain located in the Sonoran Desert on 323 acres.

20180512_103416

Upon my arrival at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you pay at the window just inside the doorway and given a map of the grounds. In this entrance area, you will find a gift store, the restrooms, as well as plants to buy. You are then free to wander the grounds how and where you want at your own leisure. I followed the 1.5-mile main loop which took me a couple of hours as I took some short side trails, checked out so many of the cactus and various plants and vegetation, took pictures, stopped to rest, relax and just enjoy.

BTA Map

Here are some things I saw on my trail walk……Flowers

Cacti

Gila Monsters, Twisted trees, Ayer Lake, Eucalyptus Trees, Mountains, and Trails

The Clevenger House…….a stone and mortar building was home for a family of 5 in the early 1900s. Robert Clevenger and his family were homesteaders who made their living by truck farming along Queen Creek. They left this area in the early 1920s. This building was purchased along with the surrounding land by William Boyce Thompson. It was remodeled as a playhouse for his grandchildren. Today it is used for drying and displaying herbs as well as a cool respite from the summer heat.

By the time I had finished up the loop, it was getting midday and the temperatures were really starting to warm up. It was a great day, really enjoyed this place. Now off to Ray Mine.

 

 

The Grotto-Portland Oregon May 10, 2016

I made a stop at The Grotto off Hwy 205 in Portland Oregon. I had visited here last December around Christmas time and it was a really amazing place and very peaceful. Its a place where you can meditate, pray and find peace in a very hectic, stressful world. Because it was winter much of the vegetation was dormant other than a few of the beautiful trees and shrubs that were still in fall colors. At that time, I had told myself I needed to come back in the Spring when everything would be in bloom and so I did.

The Grotto is a National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother – A Roman Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary. The Grotto was constructed in 1924 – a cave carved out of the 110-foot basalt cliff with a statue of Mary holding Jesus’s crucified body.

The grounds cover 62 acres of pathways, forest, and upper-level botanical garden that sits above the cliff and has beautiful views.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix AZ

While in Phoenix I visited the Desert Botanical Garden, I thought the admission price was a bit steep, but once I was inside and started wandering around I realized how huge it was and I spent a good 4-5 hours there. The garden covers an area of 140 acres and 50,000 plus plant displays. It was started in the 1930s by a small group of local citizens who saw the need to conserve the beautiful desert environment. The garden officially opened in 1939 as a non-profit museum dedicated to the research, education, conservation, and display of desert plants.

I really enjoyed this place as it had a ton of Catci. I never realized how many different types of Cactus plants there were. There was so much to see, colors everywhere, easy trails and pathways to follow. The garden is sectioned out into different types of cacti and plants. For example there was a section called “Night Blooming” that had a variety of plants that bloom at night to attract night-time pollinators, there was a section on all kinds of different succulents, there were also sections that showed the natural history prior to and during the settlement of the area so you were able to see how the different trees and plants were used to build huts, corrals for their livestock. Plants that were used to eat, cook and heal with. There were places to sit, relax, and meditate in peace and quiet.

https://www.dbg.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Botanical_Garden